(Adds Dogus Group, details on crisis, loans)
By Ebru Tuncay
ISTANBUL, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Turkish conglomerates Yildiz and Dogus have told Reuters they are in talks with banks to lower the interest rates on some of their loans, in an effort to take advantage of aggressive central bank easing in the wake of a 2018 currency crisis.
Average interest rates on commercial loans jumped above 30% late in 2018 thanks to the crisis, from around 18-20% early in the year, according to central bank data. They have since come down to around 10-11%.
Yildiz Holding said on Monday its discussions with banks are over lowering the interest rate on a syndication deal it made in April 2018. It previously said the refinancing was worth around $5.5 billion in that deal.
Yildiz added it was seeing interest in its new asset sales and that talks on the issue were ongoing.
Dogus Group’s deputy chairman, Husnu Akhan, said it is in talks with 12 banks to adjust the rate on a 2.3 billion euro ($2.52 billion) loan that it had previously refinanced with their agreement last year.
“Of course the interest rate was set in line with market conditions at that time,” Akhan said in a statement to Reuters. “We are currently in talks with banks to adjust the interest rate according to current market conditions with falling rates.”
The lira’s value was briefly halved during the 2018 crisis, which drove inflation to a 15-year high and prompted the central bank to hike its policy rate to 24%. In mid-2019 the bank began aggressively cutting rates — to 11.25% last month, which is below annual inflation.
Akhan said he believed the talks will be finalised in a few days, adding that Dogus will continue selling assets this year and all proceeds will be used to repay debt. (Reporting by Ebru Tuncay; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Catherine Evans)