Agreement was reached on 1 April for the sale of Osmanli Bankasi (Ottoman Bank) to the leading Garanti Bankasi (MEED 5:4:96). The deal through subsidiaries of France’s Groupe Paribas and Garanti, owned by the local Dogus Holding, is valued at around $245 million.

All outstanding shares of Ottoman Bank’s Netherlands parent, Compagnie Ottomane d’Investissements (COI), will be purchased by Malta’s Clover Investments Company, a company controlled by Garanti. Pending regulatory approvals, completion of the transaction is expected by late June.

Owned by Luxembourg’s Compagnie Financiere Ottomane (CFO), COI presently owns 99.9 per cent of Ottoman Bank’s share capital. The Paribas group has an effective majority shareholding of about 49 per cent in CFO.

The deal brings ownership of a seventh bank to Dogus Holding, which owns three other institutions in Turkey and two more abroad. Garanti itself has pledged that the 133-year-old Ottoman Bank will preserve its individual corporate identity, and develop its businesses as a separate entity from Garanti and Dogus Holding’s other financial institutions.

Paribas decided on the sale as part of a general move away from retail banking. The transaction evolved from an initial public offering on the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) planned in summer 1995, but cancelled when the ISE failed to perform to expectations.