Turkey

Telia Co. AB is in talks to sell its indirect stake in Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, Turkey’s biggest mobile-phone carrier, to the country’s sovereign wealth fund for about $530 million, Bloomberg News reported. Negotiations are still ongoing and are in an advanced stage, but no agreement has yet been reached, Telia said in a statement. Telia is the largest shareholder in Turkcell via the holding company Turkcell Holding AS.

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Months of concern over rising Covid-19 infection levels may be secondary for investors in coming days as market-moving events and policy decisions take center stage, Bloomberg News reported. China’s annual National People’s Congress starting Friday will likely keep volatility suppressed for developing-nation currencies, despite the prospect of another flareup in tensions between Beijing and Washington.

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Turkish banks are hitting back at criticism from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that they’re not supporting the economy by appealing to their regulator to smooth tensions with the government, Bloomberg News reported. Lenders not owned by the state highlighted their efforts to help restructure troubled loans during talks on Tuesday with Mehmet Ali Akben, the head of the banking regulator, according to a copy of the minutes seen by Bloomberg News.

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Turkish banks on Monday offered customers some relief from debt repayments and pledged more cash, the latest steps in the campaign to limit the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, Bloomberg News reported. State lenders including Ziraat Bank, Halkbank and Vakifbank allowed clients to postpone repaying debt by three months. Banks also pledged to restructure existing loans to give companies grace periods of as long as 12 months when they aren’t required to make any payments.

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Turkish conglomerate Cengiz Holding is prepared to bid for British Steel if the planned sale of the UK company to Jingye collapses, adding to pressure on the Chinese group to finalise the deal in coming weeks, the Financial Times reported. “We are watching developments closely and are ready to make a bid for the whole of British Steel,” said Omer Mafa, chief executive of Cengiz, in a statement on Sunday.

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After winning Istanbul’s local election in a landslide, Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said he’s had to fight through a budgetary “black hole” of about 14 billion liras ($2.4 billion), Bloomberg News reported. Speaking on Monday at a news conference in Istanbul to mark his sixth month in power, Imamoglu said the municipal government of Turkey’s largest city had 6 billion liras of overdue debt and ran a budget deficit of 7.9 billion liras when he took over.

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Turkey is planning to limit the amount of time companies in trouble can be shielded from debt repayments, a welcome step for the nation’s banks facing a wave of debt restructuring requests after last year’s recession, Bloomberg News reported. The Treasury and Finance Ministry is working on the necessary regulatory changes to lower the so-called concordat period from the current ceiling of 23 months. The period will be capped at six months to a year, the person said, asking not to be identified as the plan has yet to be made public.

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Turkey’s banking regulator eased measures on how banks classify credit to once-troubled companies, helping lenders to potentially avoid adding more non-performing loans to their books, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported. The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, or BDDK, will now leave it to lenders to decide which company loans need to be reclassified as non-performing, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the changes haven’t been publicly announced.

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Turkey’s BDDK banking watchdog changed loan classification regulations so that banks are able to remove from their books “Group 5” classified non-performing loans (NPL), marking another step to clean up bad debt from last year’s currency crisis, Reuters reported. The regulatory change was published in Turkey’s Official Gazette on Wednesday. The move “allows Turkish banks to remove Group 5 non-performing loans from their NPL books should the borrower default and there be no possibility of recovery for the foreseeable future,” said Seker Invest, an investment firm.

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European Bank for Reconstruction & Development will present a set of proposals to Turkish authorities and banks on Friday on how to overcome the nation’s bad-debt predicament, Bloomberg News reported. The London-based lender is suggesting that the definition of non-performing loans be updated in line with those of the European Banking Authority and that guidance be given on how banks value and manage collateral for credit. It is also urging that a longer-term solution be put in place on how troubled debt is restructured.

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