ING, Qatar National Bank among suitors for HSBC Turkey

Sources said Arab Banking Corp was also looking to buy the entire business

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Potential bidders for HSBC’s Turkish business include ING Group NV, Qatar National Bank and Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corp (ABC), people familiar with process said on Friday.

Four sources said Dutch bank ING and Qatar National Bank were interested in buying HSBC’s Turkish business as a whole, not just its loss-making retail arm. Two of the sources said ABC was also looking to buy the entire business.

The sale is at an early stage, the sources said. HSBC declined comment.

HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said in February the bank’s businesses in Turkey, Brazil, Mexico and the United States needed to improve or be sold.

It plans to sell its operations in Turkey and Brazil and has started auctions to do so, and is expected to restructure in Mexico and the United States, sources have said.

HSBC lost $64 million in Turkey last year, dragged down by a $155 million loss by its retail business after regulatory changes capped interest rates on credit cards and overdrafts.

It has the 13th largest branch network in Turkey, well behind some state-run banks and major private lenders Isbank and Garanti Bank.

HSBC’s Turkish retail business has $4 billion of assets and could be sold at around book value, meaning the bank would not see a gain or loss on the sale, sources said. One said the price would depend on the structure of the deal, such as whether HSBC provides financing.