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Turkey plans tax exemption to increase share buybacks

REUTERS/Murad Sezer
A view of Borsa Istanbul. Deutsche Bank remains bullish on the asset class going into year-end

The Turkish treasury is planning to provide tax exemptions to increase share buybacks of companies listed on the Borsa Istanbul stock exchange, state-owned Anadolu agency reported.

When Borsa Istanbul reopens for trading after a shutdown of five days following a devastating earthquake, the authorities will announce the tax relief to encourage share buybacks of companies, Anadolu said, without citing a source.

The decision was taken at a meeting of finance minister Nureddin Nebati with officials from the central bank, capital markets board and the Borsa Istanbul.

Anadolu said that under the decision, the listed companies will be able to buy back shares without paying a retention tax of 15 percent.

Borsa Istanbul had decided on February 8 to suspend trading for five days in the wake of the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria.

Meanwhile, damages from deadly earthquakes will probably exceed $20 billion, the risk modelling company Verisk estimated on Tuesday.

Only a fraction of the damages – likely more than $1 billion – is covered by insurance, Verisk said.

The figures come on top of the enormous loss of life from the disaster, with the death toll having passed 40,000 by Wednesday.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Turkey, and despite regulations to build to protect against earthquakes, results have been “mixed”, the company said.