Reuters

Turkey’s Koç Holding said on Nov. 25 that its board has not yet decided on the shareholder structure of Yapı Kredi Bank after three sources told Reuters that UniCredit had struck a deal to reduce exposure to the bank.

The deal, described by sources on Nov. 22, is seen as a first step towards the Italian bank’s full exit from Turkey, which has been hit by recession over the last 18 months.

As part of the plan, UniCredit will sell its 50 percent stake in its joint venture Koç Financial Services (KFS) – which controls Yapı Kredi – to its partner Koç Holding, two of the sources said. They were speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is confidential.

Koç said there were ongoing negotiations with UniCredit on the reorganization of the shareholder structures of KFS and Yapı Kredi (YKB) “in such a manner to ensure that the parties shall not reach direct or indirect majority of YKB.”

But in its statement to the Istanbul stock exchange, Koç said that there was no development that required it to make a public disclosure and it was only issuing the statement due to questions received from its investors.

Koç Financial Services is a joint venture vehicle that owns almost 82 percent of Yapı Kredi and is equally invested by UniCredit and Koç Holding.

The deal would give Koç Holding a majority stake in Yapı, Turkey’s third-biggest bank which has a market value of $3.7 billion, the sources told Reuters.