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Unlu & Co looks to target London funds with Turkish corporate debt

Local banks shrink FX loan books as recession starts to bite; municipal elections raise fears of further market volatility.

Istanbul-based Unlu & Co has announced plans to launch a broker-dealer operation in London in a bid to create a broader international market for Turkish corporate debt.

Mahmut Unlu, the firm’s founder and chairman, says the events of this year – which include the collapse of the lira in August and the first signs of economic contraction in the third quarter – have left Turkish companies in need of new sources of funding.

Mahmut Levent Unlu-160x186

Mahmut Unlu,
Unlu & Co

“Lending markets have tightened in Turkey and interest rates are high, which is a problem for corporates as most have very limited access to international creditors,” he says.

Turkish banks have been regular visitors to the international bond markets over the past decade but only a handful of companies from the country have outstanding eurobonds.

Unlu’s plan is to use his firm’s new London base to market Turkish corporate and bank debt – likely in the form of ABS – to the city’s specialist debt investors. “We have the ability to originate from Turkey, but we also need to get a better understanding of what buyers of debt – pension funds, debt funds, convertible funds and family offices – want,” says Unlu.

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