Turkish Islamic lender Asya Katilim Bankasi (Bank Asya) informed in a filing with the Bourse Istanbul that it signed an agreement with unnamed investors to sell a 18% stake in its 21.84% hard discount chain subsidiary Yeni Magazacilik (A101) for TRY 298mn ( EUR 94mn ). The deal is subject to the required approvals from Turkish competition authority and from other related local authorities, the statement detailed. A101 is the second largest retail chain in Turkey with its about 2,800 stores, according to local media reports. The discount chain has a paid-in capital of TRY 104mn, according to public disclosure platform (KAP). In a separate filing, the participation bank also informed that it will lift its capital by TRY 300mn to TRY 1.2bn from the current TRY 900mn. Last week, Ahmet Beyaz , CEO of Bank Asya, said that the participation bank had not faced any liquidity problems because of deposit withdrawals as a result of the recent row between the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen . Bank Asya kept its liquidity levels high at end-2013 in order to be ready against the liquidity problems which may occur as a result of the US stimulus tapering, so it was also ready for any potential problems, Beyaz said. Bank Asya is publicly known as the lending unit of the Hizmet movement headed by Fethullah Gulen . Bank Asya targets to increase its deposits by 18% y/y in 2014 while the lender targets to increase its total assets by 22% y/y and total loans by 20% y/y. Earlier this month, Bank Asya issued a statement to Bourse Istanbul in response to a media report claiming that the lender had made USD 2bn profit by purchasing large amount of USD just ahead of the December 17 corruption investigations. A daily claimed that the lender made unfair gains from the sharp appreciation of USD against the lira when the graft investigation and the following political tension sent TRY to record lows against the dollar. Bank Asya said the claims were baseless and it had taken legal actions against the reports. Bank Asya's unconsolidated net profit increased by 21.4% y/y to TRY 60.6mn in Q3/2013 from TRY 49.9mn of unconsolidated net profit in Q3-2012. The lender's unconsolidated net profit also rose 4.3% y/y to TRY 160.9mn in January-September from TRY 154.3mn a year ago. The Islamic lender's unconsolidated total assets grew by 32.7% to TRY 28.4bn as of end-September compared to TRY 21.4bn at end-2012 while unconsolidated total loans increased by 28.8% to TRY 20.6bn and unconsolidated total deposits rose by 23.6% to TRY 19.5bn. Bank Asya operates 281 branches with its 5,182 employees as of end-September. The lender has been operating a representative office in Mumbai city of India since October 2012 and a foreign branch in Erbil city of Iraq since May 2012 . In July, the lender applied to the Capital Markets Board to issue Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, worth up to TRY 1bn. The lender also plans to issue USD 500mn worth 5-year Islamic bonds this year.
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