Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Qatar Islamic Bank looks to acquire stake in Turkey’s Bank Asya

Bank Asya

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Qatar’s largest Islamic bank, is in discussions to buy a stake in Bank Asya, Turkey’s largest participation bank (a.k.a. Islamic bank).  This is the second Qatari bank to jump in to Turkey in the past year.  Last March, Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) acquired a 70.8% stake in Alternatifbank AS.  QIB’s timing, however, might prove to be better than CBQ’s.

  

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire a stake in Turkey’s Bank Asya, the Qatari lender said in a statement on March 26.

“QIB is seeking to finalise the transaction within the next few months, subject to obtaining the required regulatory approvals,” it said.

The Qatari bank did not say what stake it might buy or disclose any other details.

On March 25, Bank Asya said it had started talks on a strategic partnership with QIB and planned to complete the process soon. It gave no further details.

The Islamic bank has been in focus since Turkish media reported that state-owned companies and institutional depositors have withdrawn 4 billion lira ($1.8 billion), or some 20 percent of the bank’s total deposits, because the bank’s founders included sympathisers of cleric Fethullah Gülen, a former ally-turned-critic of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Bank Asya said it had weathered the mass deposit withdrawals and was not at risk. The government has declined to comment.

Media speculated the withdrawals were part of an orchestrated backlash against a government corruption investigation, blamed on Gülen, and which poses one of the biggest challenges to Erdoğan’s 11-year rule.

Read the full story from Hurriyet Daily.

  

The timing of this deal might prove to be better than Commercial Bank of Qatar’s timing.  A year has passed and a lot has changed in Turkey.  The country is no longer the rising star it used to be.  The political crisis rages on, the currency is depreciating and Moody’s is considering downgrading 10 Turkish banks, including Bank Asya.  One can only hope that QIB negotiates a good deal amid the current crisis, otherwise, both Qatari banks will look foolish for entering Turkey at the wrong time.