Hapoalim Turkish deal heads for closure

Chairman Nehama says deal a long term strategic investment to be used as a cornerstone in the region.

Bank Hapoalim chairman Shlomo Nehama, CEO Zvi Ziv and other Hapoalim officials were in Turkey Thursday preparing for the imminent closing of the bank's acquisition of Bank Pozitif. The group met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul during the visit. Hapoalim, the first Israeli bank to operate in Turkey, received the final necessary approval for the deal Thursday and is now filing final papers to complete the deal. Bank Hapoalim's board approved purchasing a 58 percent stake in Bank Pozitif in October for about $100 million. Nehama called the acquisition a long term strategic investment and expressed the desire to use it as a cornerstone in the region to do more business in surrounding countries and states. "The business sector plays a central role in creating economic cooperation which serve as a basis to develop political processes that can bring diplomatic agreements," Nehama said during the meeting. "Turkey's joining the European Union will contribute to the stabilization of the Middle East and will be an important strategic move not only for Turkey, but for quiet in the region as a whole."