Hapoalim mulls Turkey expansion

The bank is unconcerned that the recent Israeli-Turkish diplomatic spat will impact long term opportunities.

Israeli bank Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI; LSE:80OA) is unconcerned that the recent Israeli-Turkish diplomatic spat following Operation Cast Lead will impact long term opportunities, and the bank is considering expanding its activity in Turkey.

Bank Hapoalim's Turkish business is handled through subsidiary Bankpozitif Credi Ve Kalkinma Bankasi AS. One option under consideration is the acquisition of the Turkish operations of Millennium Banco Commercial Portuguese (Euronext: BCP) and consolidating them with Bankpozitif. A deal will reportedly be closed at $100 million, reflecting the shareholders' equity of Millennium AS's operations.

Bank Hapoalim has already notified Supervisor of Banks Rony Hizkiyahu of its intentions, and he reportedly has no objections.

Bank Hapoalim says, "Turkey is a very interesting market, and there is no risk there in the long term."

Bank Hapoalim owns 35% of Bankpozitif, with the rest held by C Faktoring SA, whose owner, Halit Cingillioglu, is considered close to the AK Party, Turkey's current ruling party.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 9, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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