Citigroup has agreed to sell its Turkish consumer business to DenizBank, the Russian-owned lender, the banks announced on Thursday.

The transaction consolidates the role in Turkey of Russia’s state-controlled Sberbank, which bought DenizBank last year for $3.6bn, as Moscow looks to strengthen its economic links with Turkey.

Citi is attempting to sell non-core assets around the world and is considering withdrawing from a number of countries in an attempt to cut costs.

The price, which was not disclosed, was “not material”, the companies said. The consumer business has 600,000 customers and TL1.2bn ($672m) in assets and TL1.5bn in deposits, with 1,500 employees.

Serra Akcaoglu, chief executive of Citi Turkey, said the US bank’s corporate business would continue in the country.

“Citi has taken a strategic decision to focus on its corporate and commercial banking businesses in Turkey,” he said. “With our commitment to the country, we will continue to grow these businesses.”

Russia is already the country’s leading source of imports, with Turkish payments for Russian goods and services, largely oil and gas, sometimes topping $2bn a month. Moscow is also building Turkey’s first nuclear reactor, having assumed all the financial risk in return for guaranteed prices.

In an interview last year, German Gref, Sberbank chief executive, said the DenizBank acquisition was important to reduce his bank’s dependency on the Russian economy.

But the latest deal also marks the continued rise of DenizBank under Hakan Ates, chief executive since 1997, with the bank expanding rapidly under his watch.

Get alerts on Citigroup Inc when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article