Islamic banking to grow, UniCredit says

Italy’s biggest bank, UniCredit, has called Islamic banks “the fastest growing segment in Turkish banking,” according to Bloomberg.

In Turkey, such banks are known as “participation banks.”

Participation bank Albaraka Türk’s shares were rated “buy” and Asya Katılım Bankası’s “hold” in new coverage at UniCredit. The Italian lender set a price estimate of 4.5 Turkish Liras for Bank Asya and 3.04 liras for Albaraka Türk, a unit of Bahrain-based Albaraka Banking Group, analysts including Ercan Uysal wrote in an e-mailed report Thursday.

The banks are its top picks, UniCredit said.

Between August 2008 and Jan. 8, 2010, the credit volume of Turkish participation banks grew 9.7 percent, according to a Jan. 27 story by business daily Referans. In the same period, the credit volume of private banks contracted 1 percent, while that of public banks expanded 25 percent, a reflection of global concerns about the health of private banking. In the same period, the share of participation banks in overall credit volume rose to 3.9 percent, from 3.8 percent.

Participation banks, which had 148 branches in Turkey at the end of 2002, had 558 branches as of the end of 2009.

In another note, UniCredit rated the Turkish investment bank Türkiye Sınai Kalkınma Bankası, or TSKB, “hold” in new coverage, with a price estimate of 2.12 liras. “With its stable and niche business model, TSKB is an attractive defensive banking play,” it said.

Şekerbank was rated “sell” in new coverage on “low profitability,” UniCredit said.

Investors should also sell shares in Turk Ekonomi Bankası, the Turkish unit of BNP Paribas, UniCredit said. A merger between TEB, as the bank is known, and fellow group unit Fortis Bank may hurt profitability, it added.

source : hurriyat

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