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BBVA’s Garanti bid is risky, but has logic

Perhaps it is not such a strange time to bet billions on Turkey’s economy.

Photo: iStock

Investors are alarmed at BBVA’s decision to double down on Turkey. The Spanish bank’s share price closed down 4% on November 15, when it announced it was launching a voluntary takeover bid for the 50.12% share it does not own in BBVA Garanti, Turkey’s biggest bank by market capitalization.

President Erdogan Tayyip Erdogan’s recent intervention at the central bank – and the attendant erosion of monetary stability – is obviously not a comfort. The lira has just hit yet another record low. Inflation is approaching 20%.

The Spanish bank could be getting a very good deal

Meanwhile, BBVA previously downplayed the prospects of a takeover bid for Garanti as a means to deploy $11.6 billion in cash it gained from selling BBVA USA to PNC in 2020.

No doubt BBVA’s chief executive Onur Genç has a better appreciation of the true picture in the country, given that he is Turkish, unlike executive chairman Carlos Torres Vila or indeed most BBVA shareholders. And if BBVA is launching this bid at a low ebb for Turkey – with Garanti trading at a 30% discount to book value – the Spanish bank could be getting a very good deal.

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