Turkish companies said to seek debt restructuring as virus hits

The Turkish economy has shrunk by nearly 10 percent in the second quarter of this year due to the COVID-19 lockdown. (Reuters)
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Updated 16 September 2020

Turkish companies said to seek debt restructuring as virus hits

  • Pandemic lockdown has piled on troubles for businesses already struggling after the 2018 currency crisis

ISTANBUL: Debt-laden Turkish companies are seeking more time to repay bank loans after the coronavirus pandemic upended plans to sell assets, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

Even before the virus hit Turkey in March, firms were seeking lower rates from banks after an aggressive monetary easing campaign and since then, large and small companies are looking for further revisions to nearly all of the restructurings agreed in the past two years, according to one source.

Conglomerate Dogus was among the companies preparing for talks, according to the source, who requested anonymity.

In response to a query from Reuters, Dogus said: “Our regular and usual negotiations with banks are, as always, underway within the framework of good relations.”

Other restructuring talks involving major companies are already happening, the source said.

Businesses in Turkey, as in other parts of the world, have been hit hard by lockdowns aiming to stop the spread of the virus, with the economy shrinking nearly 10 percent in the second quarter.

But Turkish companies were already weakened by a 2018 currency crisis and some, including Dogus, Yildiz and several energy firms,  signed billions of dollars worth of restructuring deals.

Asset sales were a key part of some of those restructuring agreements but the impact of the coronavirus crisis has deterred some would-be buyers, the sources said.

Turkish conglomerate and food giant Yildiz last month announced a revision in which it paid off $600 million for its syndication credit and extended the maturity to 2030.

The company declined to comment for this story.

In February, Reuters reported some conglomerates, including Dogus and Yildiz, were in talks for cheaper loans after the central bank cut rates from 24 percent in mid-2019. The policy rate is now 8.25 percent but hikes could be in store given high inflation and a record low lira. 

While M&A activity has largely stalled this year, some deals were struck including Zynga’s purchase of Turkish mobile-game maker Peak for $1.8 billion in June. 


Apple to launch first online store in India next week

Updated 18 September 2020

Apple to launch first online store in India next week

  • The company at present uses third-party online and offline retailers to sell its products in the country
  • India has become a key focus of tech giants over the last few years

NEW DELHI: Apple announced Friday that it will launch its first online store in India next week, as it seeks to increase sales in one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets.
The company at present uses third-party online and offline retailers to sell its products in the country.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet that the company “can’t wait to connect with our customers and expand support in India.”
The Sept. 23 launch comes ahead of India’s major Hindu festival season beginning next month.
With a nearly 1.4 billion people, including millions of new Internet users every month, India has become a key focus of tech giants over the last few years.
In August, three contract manufacturers for Apple iPhones and South Korea’s Samsung applied for large-scale electronics manufacturing rights in India under a $6.5 billion incentive scheme announced by the government.
Apple assembles some smartphones at Foxconn and Wistron’s plants in two southern Indian states.