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Coronavirus outbreak delays Chinese refinance of İstanbul bridge loan: report

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The novel coronavirus outbreak threw off track a major loan deal that Chinese banks were arranging in Turkey, a sign that the virus’s spread could slow efforts by the Asian nation’s lenders to expand in a key market, Bloomberg reported.

Talks between Turkey’s IC Yatırım Holding AŞ, China Merchants Group Ltd. and a group of Chinese banks to refinance a $2.3 billion loan are being delayed because of disruptions stemming from the virus, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Discussions to refinance the loan used to build a third suspension bridge across İstanbul’s Bosporus strait may drag on past April when the parties had hoped to close the deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Talks are being delayed because bankers and executives can’t travel between Turkey and China and are communicating via video link, they said.

The turn of events highlights how much of a game-changer the virus might be for the Chinese banking units operating in Turkey.

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