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    Israel's leading bank to invest in Turkey

    Hürriyet Haber
    15.09.2005 - 09:36 | Son Güncelleme:

    Israel's Bank Hapoalim has signed a letter of intent to invest $113 million to acquire a more than 50% stake in the Turkish bank C-Kredi ve Kalkimna Bankasi AS. If the deal goes ahead it would mark the first time an Israeli bank has taken control of a Turkish counterpart, Hapoalim said Tuesday. Upon completion of Hapoalim's investment and another by RP Capital Group, which specializes in investments in developing markets, C-Bank's shareholders' equity would be $200m.

    "The expansion of international activity is a key goal in our business strategy, which aims for integration in economic globalization processes and activity in additional countries," said Bank Hapoalim chairman Shlomo Nehama. "The Turkish economy is currently in a prominent position among emerging markets, and is highly attractive to investors."

    Bank Hapoalim plans to develop C-Bank's corporate banking in Turkey, as well as developing wide-ranging activity in retail banking.

    "Turkey is one of the largest and most important countries in our region, and has a tradition of friendly, widely developed relations with Israel," said Bank Hapoalim CEO Zvi Ziv. "Turkey is slated to join the European Union in the future, and the structural reforms currently taking place in the Turkish economy are sure to contribute considerably to positive sentiment on investments in Turkey."

    C-Bank, which was purchased from the Turkish government in 2002, is a "boutique bank" that specializes in corporate and investment banking. The group that holds the bank conducts banking activities in many other countries, including Holland, Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan. Most of the bank's business activity focuses on financing large-scale transactions, such as the privatization of the Port of Mersin, and financing foreign trade, particularly between Turkey and Western European countries.

    C-Bank is headquartered in Istanbul and has branches in Ankara and Izmir. It posted a 22% return on equity in recent years with an efficiency ratio of 27%, ranking it sixth among Turkish banks.

    The acquisition is subject to, among other things, approval by Bank Hapoalim's board of directors, attainment of a full agreement between the parties and receipt of the required permits from the relevant authorities in Turkey and in Israel, including a permit from the Supervisor of Banks.

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