Debt capital markets: Turkish corporates delight in Eurobond access


Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker
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Koc, Arcelik tap dollar buyers; more deals in the pipeline.

A pair of debut Eurobond issues from top Turkish corporates in less than a month has prompted bankers to predict that greater corporate Eurobond issuance from the country is here to stay. White-goods producer Arcelik sold an inaugural $500 million 10-year bond at the end of March. Arcelik’s parent company, Koc Holding – Turkey’s largest conglomerate and a market leader from car manufacturing to banking – then made its global market debut with a $750 million seven-year note in mid-April. The deals took the total raised by Turkish corporates in the Eurobond market to $2.74 billion in the past seven months, according to Dealogic. Last month’s deals followed transactions in the autumn from Turkish beverages company Anadolu Efes and oil refiner Tupras (see Deals of the year, Euromoney, February 2013). This compares with just $1.66 billion of issuance from the sector over the previous decade, as Turkey’s debt capital markets lagged behind those of developing world peers such as Russia and South Africa because of the lack of a sovereign investment-grade rating and high local interest rates. Bankers report a substantial pipeline of other non-bank corporates looking to access the global bond markets, particularly if – as expected – either Standard & Poor’s or Moody’s joins Fitch Ratings in boosting the Turkish sovereign to investment-grade status by the end of the year. “Turkish corporates have prepared themselves for years for this opportunity, and in the past 12 months we’ve seen everything come together,” says Olcay Yagci, head of Southern Ceemea debt capital markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. From mid-2011, Turkish banks were the first to take advantage of declining rates and investor appetite for the country’s growth story; they have sold more than $8 billion of global notes since September 2012. But emerging market fund managers awash with cash have been clamouring for corporate paper for diversification. “There was a big push 18 months or so ago by investors and by banks like ourselves to try to get some of the prime [Turkish corporate] names to the market,” says Alex von Sponeck, head of Ceemea debt capital markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Mustafa Bagriacik, head of global banking Turkey at Deutsche Bank, says the triple-B ratings on companies such as Anadolu Efes and Koc Holding have attracted managers of investment-grade funds: “Investors like the fact that these credits not only offer value relative to G7 corporates but are also more profitable and faster growing,” he says. “[Koc] offers exposure to both the consumer sector in Turkey and to the country’s export capability, which is exactly what investors are looking for.” Bigger, longerFor Turkish corporates, the appeal of the dollar bond market lies in its capacity to provide larger deals with longer maturities than are available via bank funding or Turkey’s relatively immature domestic bond market. Koc’s CFO, Ahmet Ashaboglu, for example, says the main driver for its dollar debut was to raise cash for an expansion that has recently taken the firm outside Turkey to acquire South African white-goods producer Defy Appliances. “We now have significant flexibility to act on acquisition opportunities without worrying about financing,” says Ashaboglu. With the Turkish government targeting in excess of $200 billion of capital-intensive infrastructure and transport projects over the next decade, says von Sponeck, an increasing number of corporates are going to require larger and longer-dated funding than the domestic market can supply. “This is not a one-off,” he says. “As long as the global market backdrop stays stable, I’d expect to see a variety of new names enter the Eurobond market.” One of those names had already emerged at the end of April; leading Turkish glass producer Sisecam – rated Ba1 by Moody’s – began investor meetings ahead of an inaugural dollar deal that was expected to price imminently.