Bank Asya shares firm despite two suspensions in morning session

Bank Asya shares firm despite two suspensions in morning session

Bank Asya shares firm despite two suspensions in morning session

A Bank Asya logo is seen at a branch in Ankara. REUTERS Photo

Turkey’s stock exchange Borsa Istanbul suspended the trading of Islamic lender Bank Asya’s shares twice within one session on Sept. 26, but the bank enjoyed 9-percent gains after the ban was lifted.

Shortly after opening on Sept. 16 the lender’s shares were traded at the highest price of 0.96 liras, a 9-percent rise in price from that of the previous day’s closure.

Borsa Istanbul announced at 10:20 a.m. that the lender’s shares had been suspended temporarily and would be reopened for exchange at 10:35 a.m.

The stock exchange cited an article from the Stock Exchange Regulation allowing temporary suspension of company shares in the event of “extraordinary pricing and/or purchase-sale orders that would prevent formation of a health market.”

When the trading resumed, the bank’s shares continued at their highest price, leading Borsa Istanbul to halt trading of Bank Asya shares again at 11:12 a.m.

The lender continued to be traded at the highest price of 0.96 liras after the lift of second ban.
Borsa Istanbul had first closed the trade of Bank Asya’s shares on Aug. 7, saying the lender would be removed from the stock exchange’s indexes until uncertainty regarding its ownership was resolved.

The trading resumed on Sept. 15, but after the value of Bank Asya’s shares was cut in half over three-and-a-half days, Borsa Istanbul announced a new suspension on Sept. 18.

With more than 1 million deposit-holding customers and 280 branches, the Islamic lender has been caught at the center of a power struggle between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic scholar whose sympathizers founded the bank.

Bank Asya’s profits and deposits tumbled in the six months after December 2013, when the rift between Erdoğan and Gülen became public with a government graft scandal, which then-Prime Minister Erdoğan said had been concocted by Gülen’s supporters.