Spain's BBVA eyes Garanti Bank for expansion
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Spain's second-biggest lender, is in talks to buy a stake in Turkey's Garanti Bank, in which General Electric has a stake. GE is looking to sell its 21% stake in Garanti, Turkey's second-biggest bank with a market value of 36.5 billion liras. BBVA is seeking to reduce its reliance on Spain, which accounts for about half of its profits compared with 22 percent at larger rival Banco Santander, as the economy struggles to emerge from its worst recession in 60 years. "It looks like a positive step that BBVA has made this announcement," said Funda Afacan, an analyst at BGC Partners in Istanbul, "There is very strong growth potential in the Turkish banking market, and Garanti is the leading company in many products." She added, "Turkey gives BBVA a chance to grow in a market where mortgage loans represent only about 4 percent of gross domestic product."