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Dubai's biggest bank to plan March bid for Sberbank Unit

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Emirates NBD PJSC is preparing to submit a bid for Sberbank PJSC's wholly-owned Turkish unit in March, people with knowledge of the matter said.

[ISTANBUL] Emirates NBD PJSC is preparing to submit a bid for Sberbank PJSC's wholly-owned Turkish unit in March, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Dubai's biggest bank is evaluating an offer for Denizbank AS, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. It could take several months before Sberbank decides whether or not to sell, they said.

Emirates NBD last month said it started preliminary discussions for the Denizbank stake. A deal for Sberbank's 99.9 per cent holding could be valued at as much as US$4.12 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations. Denizbank had a book value of US$3.44 billion at the end of September and Turkish banks trade at an average of 1.2 times book value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Sberbank Chief Executive Officer Herman Gref on Feb 15 told Bloomberg that there's no time frame for an offer for Denizbank. The bank received "a very good offer" for the unit after US and European sanctions on Russia made it difficult for the lender to operate in Turkey, he said on Feb 13.

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Emirates NBD and Denizbank declined to comment.

Gulf lenders are seeking to boost their presence in Turkey with acquisitions and license applications as they face limited expansion opportunities at home. Qatar National Bank in 2016 bought National Bank of Greece SA's Turkish unit for 2.75 billion euros (S$4.48 billion), while Commercial Bank of Qatar acquired a 71 per cent stake in Alternatifbank AS from Anadolu Group in 2013.

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