Emirates NBD closes in on Denizbank acquisition

Emirates NBD was in preliminary talks to buy Denizbank from Russia’s Sberbank in January, but the plan met with resistance from President Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Emirates NBD closes in on Denizbank acquisition

ANKARA/DUBAI: Emirates NBD could agree to buy Turkey’s Denizbank within weeks, after intense lobbying by the Turkish bank to convince President Tayyip Erdogan of the benefits of the potential $5.3 billion deal.
Dubai’s biggest bank, Emirates NBD said it was in preliminary talks to buy Denizbank from Russia’s Sberbank in January, but the plan has met resistance from Erdogan.
While Erdogan does not have direct control over Turkey’s banks, the president could potentially block any deal by telling the country’s BDDK banking watchdog not to approve it.
Repeated efforts by Denizbank’s chief executive to persuade Erdogan of the case for the takeover illustrate the president’s important role in sealing major deals in Turkey.
Although it still requires approval, the deal is expected to be agreed in the next few weeks.
The BDDK did not respond to a request for comment.
“I’m not saying this deal will fall through, but it wouldn’t be realistic to say these developments are supportive of the negotiations,” one senior official in Ankara said.
Emirates NBD, Sberbank and Denizbank all declined to comment, as did Erdogan’s office.
Denizbank Chief Executive Hakan Ates has met Erdogan and other senior officials in Ankara over the past month in an attempt to convince them that the deal would be positive for Turkey’s banking system.
Denizbank is Turkey’s ninth-largest lender by assets, making it a relatively small player in a fast-growing market. Sberbank, which is selling Denizbank as part of a broader regional strategy shift, paid around $3.5 billion for it in 2012.
Shares in Denizbank have risen around 70 percent this year, helped by news of the talks, giving it a $5.3 billion market value.
Emirates NBD, which previously acquired BNP Paribas’ Egyptian business, has been scouting for opportunities in the Turkish banking sector for several years as part of its international expansion.


Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

Updated 14 December 2018
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Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

  • Ransom payment would set dangerous precedent
  • NOC declared force majeure on exports on Monday

BENGHAZI: Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.
“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.
NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.
Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.
Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.
At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night.
NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed.
The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.
The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.
Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.