Dubai Islamic Bank acquires 20% stake in Turkey's digital bank operator TOM

The move marks the UAE bank's first foray into the country, with an option to increase stake to 25% within months

Dubai Islamic Bank's entry into the Turkish market will help its strategy of providing financial services to mass population segments. Photo: DIB
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Dubai Islamic Bank, the UAE's biggest Sharia-compliant lender by assets, is acquiring a 20 per cent stake in Turkey's TOM Group of Companies, marking its entry into the nation's banking sector.

The move will make DIB a “significant minority shareholder” of Istanbul-based TOM, which owns a digital bank, with an option to increase its stake to 25 per cent within 12 months, DIB said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are traded.

The transaction, which has been approved by authorities in Turkey and the UAE, will be formalised after clearance from the Turkish Competition Authority, it said.

The value of DIB's acquisition in TOM – formally Technology of Money – was not disclosed. TOM's founding shareholder is Aydin Group, the operator of one of Turkey's largest retail ecosystems.

DIB's entry into the Turkish market will help its strategy of providing financial services to mass population segments, including the underbanked and non-banked segments, Adnan Chilwan, group chief executive of DIB, said.

“Central to our growth ambitions has been the bank's ability to effectively formulate winning strategies amidst shifting industry dynamics,” said Mr Chilwan.

“Our entry into the Turkish banking sector through the investment in a digital financial group represents this dynamic approach to an ever-evolving market environment … we believe this deal in Turkey will lay the groundwork for further initiatives in other key strategic markets for DIB.”

DIB's entry into Turkey comes at a time when the country's banking sector is experiencing a revival.

The operating environment for banks in Turkey remains challenging but recent government steps to move away from unconventional policymaking could ease headwinds for lenders in the country, Moody's Investors Service said in a report last month.

The rating agency revised its outlook for the country's banking sector to stable, boosting shares of the nation’s lenders to all-time highs.

The funding profile of Turkish lenders has also improved amid strong liquidity, despite lingering downside risks, it said.

Digital banking and FinTech services, meanwhile, have grown to become a crucial platform for consumers, allowing them to gain access to banking services from just about anywhere through mobile devices and other channels.

These services are also being promoted by banks in order to grow their customer base and implement the latest technologies to provide seamless and more convenient services.

TOM, through its partnership with DIB, aims to provide affordable financial services to its customers, said TOM group chief executive Onur Ozkan.

“We hope to make TOM Group a regional and a global leader in digital participation banking, aiming to provide access to financial services and promote inclusivity by encompassing segments beyond the traditional banking system,” said Mr Ozkan.

Updated: October 02, 2023, 4:11 AM