January 18, 2019 / 3:04 PM / in 6 months

Turkish central bank says began transfer $6.3 billion profit to shareholders

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s central bank said on Friday it began transferring dividends worth 33.7 billion lira ($6.30 billion) to shareholders after moving forward its annual general meeting by three months.

Former central bankers had said bringing the meeting forward was aimed at moving funds to the treasury ahead of March local elections. Investors also see the central bank as being under pressure from President Tayyip Erdogan to lower rates.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said the move was aimed at providing liquidity to the market faster.

Following Friday’s annual general meeting, the bank said it agreed to transfer 90 percent of its profits to shareholders. The Turkish treasury holds the largest share in the bank with 55.12 percent.

The bank also said that it had changed an article so that the annual general meetings can be held within three months of the end of the accounting period.

Albayrak had previously said the bank would transfer 37 billion lira to the treasury, up from an expected 20 billion lira. It had transferred some 12 billion lira to the treasury from its 2017 profits.

The profit comes from the interest rate banks are charged and from foreign exchange transactions.

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by David Dolan, William Maclean

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