General Electric Co is in talks with Spain's Banco Santander to sell its 20.85% stake in Turkish lender Garanti Bank, Turkish media reports said on Friday.
The sale of the $3.3 billion stake in Garanti, the most actively traded stock on the Istanbul bourse and Turkey's largest listed lender by market value, would offer a rare chance to buy into Turkey's resilient banking sector.
Intesa Sanpaolo and a Gulf-based fund are also interested in the stake sale, business daily Dunya reported.
Analysts have speculated that Dogus Group, which already has a 30.5% stake in the bank, could increase its holding, and that other suitors could come from the Middle East.
Garanti has boomed in recent years to become one of the Turkish banking sector's greatest successes. Its shares rose 143% in 2009, outperforming both the index of banking stocks which rose 116%, and the Istanbul index as a whole, as it reported double-digit profits.
GE originally bought a 25.5% stake from Dogus Group for $1.6 billion in 2005, before selling part of its holding back to Dogus in 2007. (Reuters)