BÜLENT AKSU

Turkey 2020 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

Turk Eximbank prioritizes sectors with high technology and high added value as part of its economy policy and future strategy.

Bülent Aksu
BIOGRAPHY

Bülent Aksu has been the chairman of the board of directors of Turk Eximbank since 2019. He also serves as a deputy minister for the Ministry of Treasury and Finance and as a board member for Turkcell. Aksu previously served on Türk Telekom's board. He was CFO of Turkcell, CFO of SOCAR's subsidiaries Petkim and STAR Refinery, CFO and a board member for Akfel Group, and worked for Çalık Holding and Kuveyt Türk. Between 2016 and 2018, he was voted among the top 50 most influential CFOs in Turkey by Fortune Turkey. Aksu graduated from the business administration department of Istanbul University in 1996.

Can you outline the goals of your protocol with Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TİM) in support of Turkish exporters, as well as the details of the bank's involvement?
According to this protocol, Turk Eximbank raised TRY256 million in funding from TİM through a three-year, privately placed bond issuance. Turk Eximbank has always provided TRY credits to Turkish exporters at below-market levels. Exporters can qualify for these loans if certain conditions are met. However, amount wise, TRY credits are limited by the bank's shareholder equity. Currently, Turk Eximbank's shareholders' equity is TRY8.5 billion, of which 84% is in the form of paid-up capital. As stated in 11th Development Plan of Turkey, Turk Eximbank's equity will be increased by TRY10 billion during the plan period (2019-2023) as the bank's support increases to 29% of Turkish exports. Turk Eximbank is keen to diversify its lira sources by borrowing from qualified investors in Turkey. Thanks to the funds received from TİM, a new lira credit source has been put into service

What sectors of the economy has Turk Eximbank identified for growth, and how is the bank working to expand credit to those sectors?
In line with the government's strategic objectives, in 1H2019, we implemented a new financial scheme in parallel with the advanced, productive, indigenous industry (İVME) financial package. In this facility, all companies exporting high-technology products are eligible to benefit from more attractive rates and conditions. Turk Eximbank will focus more on the sectors specified in the Ministry of Trade's export master plan. The sectors prioritized in this plan include machinery, automotive, electric and electronics, chemical, and food.

Another role of Turk Eximbank is to develop new markets for exports. Which markets is Turk Eximbank currently focused on developing and why?
Turk Eximbank works closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, and the Ministry of Treasury and Finance to determine the target markets in its programs. These institutions have focused much of their efforts on building economic and diplomatic relations with Africa. As a result, as end-2018, Turkish exports to the continent increased by more than 40% in the last 10 years to USD14.5 billion. Turk Eximbank also takes into account the requirements of sustainable lending practices to benefit recipient countries. In this manner, we provided a variety of financing opportunities for large-scale projects undertaken by Turkish contractors in the last five years, especially in the sub-Saharan Africa region, which is considered a strategic market because of its potential. Turk Eximbank is also focused on growing its operations in other regions outside Africa such as Middle East and North Africa, the Balkans, and Central Asia.

Over the next 12 months, what are Turk Eximbank's most important objectives?
As in the case of the export credit agencies of developed countries, the bank will place greater emphasis on medium- and long-term loans, export credit insurance, and guarantee operations. Under international loans program, we aim to expand the geographical distribution of loan agreements to be signed with eligible foreign banks for the purpose of providing financing to the foreign buyers willing to import goods from Turkey on deferred payment terms. Within this context, we plan to sign revolving based loan agreements with foreign banks located in MENA, Eurasia, and the Balkans. In addition, Turk Eximbank will continue to apply favorable foreign exchange interest rates to finance the export of capital goods. Furthermore, the bank places the utmost importance on developing international partnerships with other export credit agencies, international financial institutions, and multinational development banks through agreements in various forms in order to enable competitive financing opportunities. In this framework, through its credit, insurance, and guarantees, the bank aims to finance 27% of Turkey's exports via USD48.4 billion worth of support. This financing support consists of USD29.4 billion in loans and USD19 billion in export credit insurance and guarantees.