Turkish construction mogul denies bankruptcy rumors

Turkish construction mogul denies bankruptcy rumors

ISTANBUL

Ali Ağaoğlu, the billionaire chairman of the Ağaoğlu Group construction corporation in Turkey, has denied rumors that his company has gone bankrupt. 

“Our total debt is not even 10 percent of our current assets,” Ağaoğlu told journalists during the launch of his new development project in the southwestern Turkish resort of Bodrum on Aug. 7, rejecting social media reports claiming that he would soon be filing for bankruptcy.

“As the corporation, we have 17 billion Turkish Liras in assets and equities now. We have 18 energy companies. I don’t even count my own personal assets,” he noted, adding that his company currently has $200 million in debt.

Ağaoğlu also stressed that his company paid back a $400 million credit to build a financial center in Istanbul. “Our existing debt is not even half of it,” he said, announcing that he would sell two wind farms to close all his debt.

The businessman admitted that the depreciation of the lira has brought an additional “20-25 percent burden” on the construction sector, but claimed that Turkey “would come out of this process stronger.”

“I don’t believe that there is a housing bubble in Turkey. The C segment continues needing housing. We need to produce houses for this segment,” he said.

Ağaoğlu Group had said in September 2017 that it signed a deal with investors from China and Hong Kong to build a 12 million square meter tourism city in the Aegean resort of Bodrum.

The owner of the group, on the other hand, is a controversial figure. Ağaoğlu was called to give testimony as a part of an investigation launched against him in 2016 when he said he does not “like one-night stands. If I did, there would be no women left in Istanbul.”

He was also targeted in another investigation last year when he told a BBC journalist that the women at his luxurious house were his “property.”

Probe opened over Turkish billionaire Ağaoğlu’s sexist rhetoric in BBC documentary