Turkey Banking Watchdog Working to Ease Energy Companies' Debt

Turkey’s banking regulator is working with energy companies and their lenders to help ease a debt burden estimated by some industry experts at $60 billion.

The Ankara-based regulator is investigating the situation after a request from both the banks and energy companies, Mehmet Ali Akben, head of the regulator, told reporters in Istanbul on Tuesday. It’s studying the matter with the energy ministry, he said.

The regulator is seeking to complete the review this year and will make a “comprehensive” assessment of the companies’ demands, Akben said. Many energy firms have demanded authorities examine their debt burden and enact measures similar to those which have helped the aviation and tourism industries, including treasury-backed funds.

Energy companies have borrowed as much as $60 billion, mostly from Turkish lenders, for about $75 billion of power production and distribution investments, Mehmet Gocmen, chairman of Enerjisa Enerji Uretim AS, a joint venture between E.ON SE and Turkey’s Haci Omer Sabanci Holding AS, said on April 5. Companies have faced declining power prices.

“We are trying to find a model to resolve the problem of those companies’ debt burden and to keep investment in the energy industry attractive,” Ali Riza Alaboyun, deputy energy minister, said in an interview on April 28. 

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