January 29, 2018 / 3:53 PM / a year ago

RPT-UPDATE 1-Russia's Sberbank looks to sell its Turkish unit Denizbank - sources

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By Orhan Coskun and Ebru Tuncay

ISTANBUL, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Russia’s Sberbank is evaluating opportunities to sell its Turkish unit Denizbank , five sources close to the matter told Reuters.

Banks from Gulf countries and China had expressed interest in buying Sberbank’s 99.85 percent holding in the Turkish lender, three of the sources said.

Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank by assets, bought Denizbank in 2012 for around $3.5 billion as it was trying to establish a presence abroad. It did not immediately reply to a request for comment, while Denizbank declined to comment on the issue.

“Work on the sales process has been accelerated. Potential buyers have expressed their interest to the bank,” one of the sources close to the matter said.

“Sberbank wants to exit. We know that Emirates NBD is among those interested, a bank from Kazakhstan as well,” another source knowledgable about the issue said.

Denizbank shares were up 13.71 percent at 4.81 lira at the market close. (Additional reporting by Ekaterina Golubkova, Tatiana Voronova, Oksana Kobzeva, Olga Popova in Moscow and Birsen Altayli in Istanbul; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Dominic Evans and Adrian Croft)

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