Oyak Bank: hot potato and hot property
Turning an 11-branch operation into the eighth-largest bank in Turkey cannot be considered a failure. In spite of this, and the fact that it is one of the few pieces of the Oyak puzzle that bears the group’s name, Oyak Bank is unwanted by the fund’s key decision makers. As a consequence, Merrill Lynch has been awarded the mandate to sell the bank, which at year-end 2005 had assets of TL 8.38 billion ($5.71 billion).
This might seem strange, as Turkish banks are proving a popular investment. FDI in the Turkish banking sector has been strong, as the country is picking up on the trend evident in the whole region. After acquisitions such as Disbank by Fortis and Yapi Kredi Bank this year by UniCredit and its Turkish partner Koc Group, the share of foreign ownership has risen at the end of the first half of 2006 to 13% of total assets, compared with 5% in 2004.
At the core of this reasoning is Oyak’s president and CEO Serif Coskun Ulusoy’s sound understanding of the Turkish banking sector.