Emirates NBD, an UAE based bank, has started discussions with Russian lender Sberbank to acquire its wholly-owned banking unit Denizbank in Turkey.

Confirming the negotiation, Emirates NBD said that the talks are at a very preliminary stage and there was no certainty that any transaction will materialise.

If the discussion is fruitful, a further announcement would be made in due course, Emirates NBD said.

In 2012, Sberbank acquired Denizbank from financial services group Dexia in a deal valued at approximately $3.5bn. Sberbank currently owns about 99% stake in Denizbank.

As per the Turkey’s banking association, Denizbank was the country’s ninth-largest lender by assets at the end of September 2017.

Formed in 2007, Emirates NBD had total assets of AED470.4bn ($128bn) as at 31 December 2017. The bank operates a network of 230 branches in the UAE.