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Top-performing Akbank mulls joint venture

Akbank, emerging on top of Turkey's banking crisis, has embarked on a plan to professionalize its management. As it outgrows its family origins, Atbank prepares itself for a joint venture.

Erol Sabanci

JPMorgan calls Akbank "The Rock" and "our top pick". Merrill Lynch praises "its solid outperformance of the market" and its "sizeable liquidity and strong liability structure". Rating agency Fitch reports that among the five major Turkish banks it is the only one that "is fully reserved for non-performing loans".

As Turkey's banking crisis continues unabated, Akbank, the crown jewel of the ultra-rich Sabanci family, emerges on top. Now it has embarked on a bold plan to professionalize its management.

First-half results showed that Akbank's net profit was the highest among the companies listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange and higher than the combined profits of the four closest rival banks.

Most of the credit belongs to chairman Erol Sabanci, who at 62 completes his 40th year with Akbank this year. He has been on the board since 1963 and chairman or managing director since 1970.

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