ECONOMY

NBG sails full speed into SE Europe

National Bank of Greece (NBG) and Finansbank, its recently acquired Turkish subsidiary, touted the prospects of the Turkish economy and banking system and the group’s new position in Istanbul during a presentation to Greek businessmen on Monday. Following the majority acquisition earlier this year, Finansbank’s share in NBG group’s profits and total revenue from operations in Southeastern Europe exceeds 30 percent. NBG’s CEO, Takis Arapoglou, noted at the event that, following its expansion into Turkey, the group is now among Europe’s top five active in the region. «With the acquisition of Finansbank, we have grown to the critical size which will allow us to become a strong regional player,» he said. Arapoglou also noted the significant size of the Turkish market, the strong performance of the country’s economy and Finansbank’s outstanding structure and efficiency. «Finansbank is Turkey’s most profitable bank and provides the ideal base for National Bank’s expansion into Turkey,» he said. The Turkish bank’s president, Husnu Ozyegin, said it held top spot in terms of profitability and return on capital among its peers in the country. He had strong things to say about the reactions to the agreement in Greece, and claimed that the months-long delay in the sealing and approval of the agreement was unusual by international standards. «In Turkey, the buyout was immediately approved by the authorities and the press gave minimal coverage after the announcement of the agreement. The acquisition was seen as just another investment move and nothing more,» Ozyegin said. NBG acquired 54 percent of Finansbank. A public offering for the remaining 46 percent is scheduled to take place in January and is expected to significantly raise the Greek group’s share. Finansbank’s new business plan will be presented at the end of February. NBG is also looking into the acquisition of Romania’s CEC, but officials said they were discouraged by the Romanian government’s procrastination.