ATHENS, April 5 (Reuters) - Greece’s EFG Eurobank is close to a deal to sell its 70 percent stake in Turkish unit Tekfen to Kuwait’s Burgan Bank, it said on Thursday.
While Greek banks are selling assets to shore themselves up in the face of a protracted recession and a sovereign debt crisis, Gulf investors have been looking at Turkey as a natural target amid unrest in the Middle East and financial upheaval in Europe and North America.
“EFG Eurobank announced that it is in advanced discussions with Burgan Bank from Kuwait to sell its full participation in Eurobank Tekfen,” the Greek lender said in a bourse filing.
The terms of the transaction would be announced once a binding agreement is signed, Eurobank added.
The sale of the stake in Eurobank Tekfen will likely happen at the Turkish lender’s current book value, one banking source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. It is currently valued at around $350 million.
The source also said the deal was expected to close late in the second quarter or early in the third.
Battered by the debt crisis, sovereign downgrades and five years of recession, Greek authorities have been urging banks to explore deals that might allow them to return to wholesale funding markets.
Eurobank early last year agreed to sell a majority stake in its Polish operation Polbank for 490 million euros. But the lender’s plans to merge with local rival Alpha Bank failed after Alpha withdrew from the deal. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Harry Papachristou; Editing by Mark Potter)