October 25, 2019 / 11:03 AM / 18 days ago

Actus close to launching first Turkish fund for problem loans -source

ISTANBUL, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Turkish asset manager Actus Portfoy is in the final stage of launching a first-of-its-kind $150-million fund with a foreign partner to invest in non-performing corporate loans, a source with direct knowledge of the effort told Reuters.

Actus Portfoy, a unit of Global Yatirim Holding that already manages 830 million lira ($144 million), would be managing the first such Turkish-run fund. It is in talks to find the foreign partner and has done some hiring, the source said.

Non-performing loans (NPLs) have ballooned after last year’s currency crisis left Turkey’s construction and other companies unable to service tens of billions of dollars of foreign-currency debt.

“They are conducting talks to find a foreign partner for the fund, they are setting up a team for that. This fund will be in an independent structure,” said the person who requested anonymity.

Actus Portfoy declined to comment.

The crisis chopped nearly 30% off the value of the lira and sent Turkish inflation soaring above 25%, leaving banks saddled with bad debt. A government directive last month will force banks to reclassify as NPL $8 billion worth of debt.

Reuters has previously reported that Goldman Sachs, U.S.-based Bain Capital, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Cerberus were also interested in Turkish problem loans.

“The fund will operate like a special purpose vehicle (SPV). It will make equity investments and receive stakes from the companies, and the fund will be a shareholder,” the source added.

Turkey’s banking sector has some 2.6 trillion lira credit volume, and a 4.64% NPL ratio at the end of August, according to banking watchdog data. ($1 = 5.7611 liras) (Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Jonathan Spicer)

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