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Spain's BBVA lifts stake in Turkish Garanti to 86%

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: BBVA bank building in Madrid

By Jesús Aguado

MADRID/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Spain's BBVA said on Wednesday it had paid 22.76 billion Turkish lira ($1.43 billion) to raise its stake in Garanti to 85.97%, following its bid for the rest of the Turkish lender it did not own.

Like bigger Spanish rival Santander, BBVA has been expanding in emerging economies to boost income, though some analysts point to risks from its exposure to the economic uncertainty in Turkey, where inflation surged to a two-decade high of close to 70% in April.

Surpassing the 50% threshold in Garanti, with its acquisition of the further 36.12% stake, will allow BBVA to allocate more capital to the Turkish lender without launching an additional tender offer.

At the end of last month, BBVA had raised its bid for Garanti to 15.00 Turkish lira ($0.9404) per share from 12.20 lira, or to 1.985 billion euros for the 50.15% stake of Garanti it did not already hold.

Despite increasing the offer by 23% to up to 31.595 billion lira in case of full acceptance, when valued in euros, BBVA's bid was worth less than the 2.25 billion euros when it was initially announced on Nov. 15 because the Turkish currency has since depreciated by more than 28%.

BBVA Chief Executive Onur Genc said last month that the bank could start applying "hyperinflation accounting as early as in the second quarter" in Turkey. Although Genc said the change could be positive for capital, he acknowledged it would result in a hit to earnings.

On Wednesday, BBVA said in a filing to the Spanish stock market supervisor that the acquisition of the 36.12% stake in Garanti had a negative impact of 23 basis points on its core tier-1 fully loaded capital ratio, the strictest measure of solvency.

(Reporting by Berna Suleymanoglu and Jesús Aguado in Madrid; Editing by Andrei Khalip, Matthew Lewis and Leslie Adler)

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