State-run lender Ziraat Bankasi said on Monday in a filing with the Bourse Istanbul (BIST) that it mandated its headquarters to issue up to USD 3bn worth of bonds/bills in foreign markets with different maturities. Ziraat will establish a Global Medium Term Note Program to issue Eurobonds and will issue the papers without public offerings, the statement detailed. In a separate filing with the BIST, Ziraat informed that it also mandated its headquarters in order to issue up to TRY 15bn ( EUR 5.3bn ) worth of bank bonds/bills with maturities up to five years in domestic markets. Last month, rating agency Fitch affirmed long-term foreign currency IDRs of and Ziraat Bankasi at BBB- while it affirmed long-term local currency IDRs of the lender at BBB, outlooks were stable. The rating action reflected Fitch's opinion that the probability of state support for Ziraat in case of need was high, underpinned by its state ownership, systemic importance, the track record of support to date and the still moderate size of the bank relative to Turkey's GDP. Turkish government has full stake in Ziraat Bankasi. Earlier last month, Montenegro's finance ministry said in a statement after a meeting between minister Radoje Zugic and Turkish ambassador to Podgorica, Mehmet Niyazi Tanilir, that Ziraat Bankasi decided to enter the Montenegrin market. Ziraat Bank's operations in Montenegro would aim supporting SMEs as well as the implementation of large-scale investment and development projects in the Western Balkan country, the statement detailed. The bank would also serve the needs of Turkish investors coming to the small Adriatic state. One of the largest Turkish companies present in Montenegro is Toscelik, which acquired troubled steel mill Zeljezara Niksic in April 2012 . Ziraat Bank had been considering entering the Montenegrin market for more than a year. Earlier media reports suggested that Ziraat Bankasi was holding talks to buy Montenegro's Prva Banka.
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