Turkey's Akbank doesn't expect Citi stake sale


Turkish Akbank does not expect Citigroup to sell its stake in it because the US bank has said strategic investments will be in emerging markets, Akbank's CEO said late on Friday.

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit said on Friday the bank planned to shed $400 billion of assets within three years, comments which helped send Akbank stock 2.3 per cent lower. Citigroup has a 20 per cent stake in Turkey's largest private lender.

"In recent days, Pandit has said that Citi's strategic investments will be in developing markets. So that suggests the assets it is thinking of selling are in developed markets," Akbank CEO Zafer Kurtul told reporters on Friday in comments embargoed until Monday.

"Citi wants to increase investments in developing markets," Kurtul said.

At 0645 GMT, Akbank stock was up 0.8 per cent, compared with a 0.5 per cent rise on the banking index.

After markets closed on Friday, Akbank posted a 61 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit to 720 million lira ($568 million) and said lending grew 11 per cent from the end of last year.

Deputy General Manager Galip Tozge also said late on Friday that since the Turkish army had opened up business to other lenders following the army pension fund's sale of Oyak Bank to ING, Akbank had taken a large share of that market.

"Akbank has taken the largest share of the market related to members of the Turkish Armed Forces, which decided to separate from Oyak. We see this as a very important opportunity for our bank," he told reporters.

ING said in April it had factored in some lost business from the Turkish military -- the second-largest in Nato -- when it bought Oyak Bank last year.