8/6/2008

Emirates NBD says looking at Turkish banks

Reuters - Emirates NBD, the leading Gulf Arab lender by assets, said it is looking at buying opportunities in the Turkish banking sector. "We're open to the thought of buying into the Turkish banking sector... Actually we have been working on it for the past 12-15 months, we are continuing to look," Abdul Wahed al Fahim, Emirates NBD General Manager Wholesale Banking, told Reuters. Turkey's banking sector is expected to see privatizations in both large lenders - Ziraat and partially state-owned Halkbank. Turkey has also been a major target for foreign acquirers attracted by strong lending growth, despite the country having some of the highest interest rates in emerging markets. Leading Turkish banks posted lending growth of more than 10 percent in the first quarter compared with the end of last year, despite a slowdown in the economy's growth rate.