Fortis and Disbank’s majority shareholders – Dogan Group, the Dogan family and two funds – have signed an agreement by which Fortis will acquire 89.3% of Disbank’s outstanding shares.

Fortis will also make a public bid for the remaining 10.7% of Dsbank’s shares. Total consideration will be about €985mn, subject to price adjustments.

With more than 1mn customers, around 120,000 small enterprise customers and around 10,000 commercial banking clients (ie, medium-sized enterprises), Disbank is the seventh largest privately owned bank in Turkey in terms of assets and is listed on the Istanbul stock exchange.

The bank has a history of commercial banking and has in recent years also developed a strong growing platform in retail banking along with selected merchant banking activities. Disbank has a network of 173 branches concentrated in the most dynamic regions of the country, of which six are strategically located business centres.

It is also one of Turkey’s best rated banks.

Jean-Paul Votron, Fortis CEO, comments: “This acquisition is fully in line with our strategy to develop our activities outside the Benelux. By seizing this opportunity Fortis has made a strategic investment in a large and fast growing market with a young and dynamic population of over 70mn, a strong tradition of entrepreneurship, and numerous SMEs deeply rooted in the economy. The combination of Dsbank’s network and market knowledge with Fortis “strength and expertise in cross-selling, multi-channel distribution and risk management will help Dsbank to achieve profitable organic growth and to realise its objective to become one of Turkey’s leading banks. We warmly welcome the 4,500 new Fortis employees”.

Tayfun Bayazit, Disbank’s chairman and CEO, adds: “This acquisition confirms not only Disbank’s success but also the positive outlook for the Turkish economy in the eyes of the international financial community. I’m confident that, with Fortis’ experience and international network, we will be able to enhance our competitiveness, product range and service quality.”
This acquisition is also in line with Fortis’s financial objective to achieve a double digit ROI as of 2008 onwards, and it will be EPS accretive as of 2006. In due time Dsbank will be rebranded and will operate under the Fortis name.

The final adjustment to the purchase price will be determined on the basis of the audited financial accounts for the period ending May 31, 2005. A public bid will be launched on a date to be determined in agreement with the capital market board. The transaction is subject to the approval by the regulatory authorities.