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Oh boy, Turkey’s pride-and-glory Salt Bae in debt trouble?

Nusr-Et, a Turkish  gourmet steak house chain is one of the few brand names which gained international recognition. A former…

Oh boy, Turkey’s pride-and-glory Salt Bae in debt trouble?

Nusr-Et, a Turkish  gourmet steak house chain is one of the few brand names which gained international recognition. A former butcher, Mr. Nusret managed to pull himself up by bootstraps to build a small beef empire by delicious cousine, much showmanship and the  help of influential people in Turkey who just couldn’t get enough of his BBQs.  Alas, Turkey’s debt problem   seems to have reached his doorsteps, too.

 

Sports stars such as Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba have eaten at the restaurant, which was made famous after videos of Gokce cutting meat seductively and sprinkling salt over it went viral in January 2017. Nusr-Et has branches in Abu Dhabi, Doha, New York, Miami, Dubai, and Istanbul.

 

The company that owns the steakhouse chain popularized by Nusret Gokce, the chef and viral meme sensation known as Salt Bae, is struggling to repay its debts amid a major restructuring, reports Business Insider.

 

Some serious issues are piling up for the owner of the restaurant chain by Nusret Gokce, the chef and viral meme sensation known as Salt Bae, that’s often frequented by celebrities and sports stars.

The steakhouse chain’s owner, a Turkish firm called Dogus Holding, “is struggling to repay foreign-exchange loans after the lira plunged in value,” Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Dogus is seeking to restructure its debt, having spent big on the hospitality sector in recent years despite the slump in the Turkish economy, according to its expose on Salt Bae.

 

Nusr-Et’s troubles are confirmed by a Bloomberg article  which also covers the travails of the parent company, owned by once the richest tycoon in Turkey, Mr. Ferit Sahenk:

 

The Istanbul-based investment-holding group, controlled by Turkish billionaire Ferit Sahenk, has been disposing mainly of hotels over the past year as part of a December agreement with lenders to renegotiate the terms on $2.5 billion of debt. The pact doesn’t cover half of Dogus’ liabilities, which soared 17 percent in 2018 to 28.6 billion liras ($5.2 billion), according to financial statements published on its website. Almost half of those are loans due this year.

 

 

Like many other Turkish companies, the owner of the Nusr-Et steakhouse, popularly known by its founder chef’s meme Salt Bae, is struggling to repay foreign-exchange loans after the lira plunged in value. The firm also has interests spanning marina and entertainment businesses.

 

Sahenk, once the country’s richest man, spent heavily on hospitality businesses at home and overseas after selling his 31 percent stake in Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS for almost $5.5 billion. His company has been seeking buyers for its trophy hotels for several months, having sold businesses in Miami, Turkey and Spain.

 

The group sold Park Hyatt hotel in Istanbul to Nusret Turizm Yatirim AS, owned by the founder of Nusr-Et, according to a filing by Ankara-based antitrust board. It also sold its 50 percent holding in Athens Hilton to its partner Tourism Enterprises of Messinia SA.

 

“It’s part of a broader malaise for Turkish companies struggling to repay dollar-denominated loans following the collapse in the lira’s value last year. Turkey has entered recession, making lending conditions even trickier for companies with foreign debt”, concludes Business Insider.

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