Turkish central bank begins disbursing $6.3 billion profit to shareholders

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Turkey’s central bank said on Friday it had begun disbursing dividends worth 33.7 billion Turkish lira ($6.30 billion) to shareholders after moving forward its annual general meeting by three months, Reuters reported.

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

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

Following Friday’s annual general meeting, the bank said it agreed to transfer 90 percent of its profits to shareholders. The Turkish Treasury is the major shareholder in the bank, with 55.12 percent of shares.

The bank also said 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 is derived from the interest rate banks are charged and from foreign exchange transactions.

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