ECONOMY

Greek-owned Turkish bank delays enforced $1 billion share sale

Finansbank, the Turkish lender owned by National Bank of Greece, has delayed a planned secondary public offering that must be held this year to cut the Greek investor’s stake in line with a European Commission agreement.

The banks will monitor equity capital market conditions “closely” and may revive the transaction later in the first half, they said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. As recently as last week the Istanbul-based lender said in a public filing that the share offering would be completed by early April.

NBG is being forced to reduce its stake in Finansbank to no more than 60 percent by the end of this year as part of an agreement with the European Commission’s competition directorate general. While no price has been announced for the sale, NBG may dispose of as many as 954 million shares, a November statement by Finansbank shows. That could be valued at more than $1 billion based on current share prices, said Cagdas Dogan, banking analyst at BGC Partners Inc.

“Regulatory approval will probably take time and buyers are likely to demand a low multiple considering the necessity to sell,” Dogan said of the postponement.

The sale is being jointly coordinated by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, Finansbank said March 14. A Finansbank spokesman declined to comment on Friday.

[Bloomberg]