By Leyla Amur
On Monday, Turkey’s Akbank announced that it had signed a $1.2 billion equivalent multi-currency syndicated loan that will be provided in tranches.
The loan, which breaks down into facilities of $404.5 million and €738.3, marks Akbank’s return to the international syndicated loan market and will be used for the lender’s trade finance and for general corporate purposes.
Last week, the loan facilities received garnered robust international attention, with 38 banks showing interest in the transaction. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Emirates NBD Capital, and ICBC Turkey Yatırım Menkul Değerler acted as joint coordinators and book runners in this transaction.
Akbank is Turkey’s third-largest lender by assets and is part of what is becoming a larger trend in Turkey’s financial sector to refinance. On March 15, state-owned Turk Eximbank signed a €421m refinancing deal and attracted 22 banks as part of the agreement.
In a Reuters report that was published on March 27, loans taken out by banks in the first quarter of this year increased roughly 45% year-on-year to 177 billion lira on the back of regulatory measures such as tax reductions to boost lending.
While demand for loans was higher in the first three months of 2017 than in 2016 overall, Turkish banks are not likely to experience the same level of growth in 2016, which was 44%, according to Turkish lender TEB.
Indeed, on March 21, ratings agency Moody’s revised its outlook of 14 Turkish banks from stable to negative. This decision was made after Moody’s outlook change of Turkey’s “Ba1” government issuer rating from stable to negative earlier in the month.
The change to long-term deposit and debt ratings was due to a perception that the Turkish government would not be able to bail the banks out in case of need and a declining macroeconomic environment in Turkey.
The institutions include Akbank, Alternatifbank, HSBC Turkey, ING Turkey, Finansbank, Ziraat Bank, Halk Bank, Vakiflar Bank, Turk Ekonomi Bankası, Garanti Bank, Yapı Kredi Bank, İş Bank, TSKB, and the GRI Export Credit Bank of Turkey.