Bank Hapoalim completes sale of its BankPozitif Kazakhstan branch

Hapoalim has seen mostly losses from its investment in Turkey.

December 31, 2015 22:51
1 minute read.
Bank Hapoalim

A Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Bank Hapoalim has completed the sale of BankPozitif Kazakhstan for $26 million, it reported to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Hapoalim will write off NIS 22 million in its books in the fourth quarter of 2015 on the sale. Three numbers have changed since the bank reported on October 22 that the proceeds from the deal would be $32m., making its loss NIS 28m.

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Hapoalim acquired Bank- Pozitif Kazakhstan from Eurasian Bank JSC, a Kazakh bank. The decision to sell the branch in Kazakhstan was part of Hapoalim’s strategy of focusing its overseas business in commercial banking in the US and international private banking.

Hapoalim’s Kazakhstan adventure began in 2007, when Turkish bank Bank- Pozitif expanded to Kazakhstan by acquiring a bank there for $56m. Hapoalim controls BankPozitif with a 70 percent stake, and Turkish businessman Halit Cingillioglu is also a partner in Bank- Pozitif. Hapoalim acquired the Turkish bank almost a decade ago for $100m.

Hapoalim has seen mostly losses from its investment in Turkey. BankPozitif lost $12m. in 2014, compared with an $8m. profit in 2013.

Among other things, the loss was caused by the devaluation of the Turkish lira and the Kazakh currency, higher expenses and no income from the sale of assets in 2014.

Excluding exchange-rate differences and tax adjustments, Hapoalim’s loss from BankPozitif in 2014 totaled NIS 37m. Other than the effect of the exchange rate, the bank itself suffered from the slowdown in the Turkish economy.

Bank Hapoalim is trying to find a buyer for BankPozitif and reported last May that it had received an offer. As far as is known, Hapoalim has been negotiating for some time with a Turkish holding company to sell its share of BankPozitif.

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