The $16 Billion Turkish Wall of Debt That Is at Risk From Lira Crash #TurkeyEconomy
Major Turkish companies, financial institutions and the government have at least $16 billion in bonds denominated in foreign currency that are due by the end of next year, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.
The amount due by the end of next year is mostly composed of debt issued by Turkish financial institutions, and includes conventional bonds and Islamic sukuk bonds valued at a minimum of $100 million at the time of issuance. Investors are watching closely to see whether Turkish banks and other companies will maintain access to the foreign funding they need to keep economic activity humming as the country’s currency plunges.
“So far, a currency crisis has not turned into a debt crisis,” Stuart Culverhouse and Hasnain Malik, analysts at Exotix Partners LLP, wrote in a report. The country’s low public debt, at 28 percent of gross domestic product, “might be some comfort, and the country has ammunition in the form of $98 billion in official reserves,” they wrote.
But given Turkey’s reliance on external finance, a currency crisis could turn into a debt crisis, they said, especially for those firms that are highly leveraged and particularly sensitive to foreign-exchange moves.
Coca-Cola Icecek AS is first up with a senior unsecured note of $500 million it will repay October 1. The company refinanced the securities last September to extend the maturity to 2024 at cheaper rates than previously, and now has “more than sufficient hard-currency cash” to meet its obligations, CCI said in a statement Tuesday. Fitch Ratings affirmed the company at BBB- this week, but kept its outlook negative in line with that of the sovereign, while pointing out all of CCI’s operations are based in emerging markets.
Next year has a heavy concentration of bonds maturing for Turkish issuers, Bloomberg data show. Lender Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS has $1.4 billion in three bonds maturing between February and October. The Turkish government has a sukuk of $1.25 billion that’s due in October, plus three bonds denominated in U.S. dollars and euros, nominally valued at $4.4 billion in total, that will mature between March and November.