Qataris forced to boost offer for Denizbank

City A.M. Reporter
QATAR National Bank (QNB) has made a higher bid for Denizbank, the Turkish unit of stricken Belgian lender Dexia, after earlier talks stalled over price, four sources familiar with the matter said.

“The bid has been reactivated, and is on the table,” said one source.

“The new offer is closer to what Dexia is expecting,” he added, saying that QNB’s original offer had been dismissed as too low.

No immediate comment was available from QNB and their adviser Citigroup declined to comment. Denizbank shares rose as much as 5.7 per cent on the news.

Denizbank is worth $5.9bn (£3.7bn) in the current market after a 49 per cent rise since news of the sale emerged, and Dexia is understood to be looking for up to $4bn for the bank.

A second source said that QNB had originally bid 1.1 to 1.2 times Deniz’s book value and the Belgian government had wanted 1.5 times book. It was not clear what the revised QNB bid was.

Dexia, crippled by the Eurozone crisis, has been trying to sell the Turkish bank for over six months. Two other bidders, HSBC and Sberbank pulled out, leaving QNB as the sole suitor.

People familiar with the matter said last month that Dexia had considered the Qatari offer too low, and was not willing to sell the healthy Turkish business – which gives access to a fast-growing market – in a fire-sale.

Dexia mandated US investment bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch in October to advise on the sale. UBS is advising the Belgian government.

With a market cap of around $25.8bn, QNB is the largest lender in the tiny, natural gas-rich Gulf Arab state and is half-owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.