Alpha Bank shows interest in Turkey’s Alternatifbank

Alpha Bank said yesterday that it had begun negotiations to acquire a stake in Alternatifbank, a plan that could see it becoming the third Greek group to buy into a Turkish bank this year. Alpha, Greece’s No 2 bank, said it was in talks with the owners of Alternatifbank, Anadolu Endustri Holdings, for a 50 percent portion of its Alternatifbank stock. «(We have) begun talks to acquire half the stock of Alternatifbank and its subsidiaries held by Anadolu Endustri Holdings,» the Greek bank said in a statement. One of Turkey’s largest conglomerates, the broader Anadolu Group and members, including Anadolu Endustri Holdings, control 95 percent of Alternatifbank, a middle-sized bank with 28 branches in Turkey. The remaining 5 percent is publicly traded on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. If successful, Alpha’s move will follow in the footsteps of Turkish bank takeovers carried out earlier this year by National Bank of Greece (NBG) and EFG Eurobank, Greece’s largest and third-largest banks respectively. NBG in April sealed a deal for 46 percent of Finansbank, Turkey’s eighth-largest, while a month later EFG Eurobank gained a 70 percent stake in Tekfenbank. Earlier yesterday, Alpha announced a nine-month net profit of 473.4 million euros ($607 million), a gain of 31.4 percent over the same period a year earlier. (AFP)

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