INDEBTED TURK TELEKOM TAKEN OVER BY TURKISH BANKS
A group of Turkey’s major banks took control of Turk Telekom A.S., Turkey’s largest phone company, setting it up for a likely sale after previous owner, Otas, defaulted on a multibillion dollar loan.
Akbank will hold 35.6 percent of the special purpose vehicle set up to take on Otas’ 55 percent controlling stake, Garanti Bank will have 22.1 percent and Is Bank’s share will be 11.6 percent, according to the December 22 filings.
The other owners have yet to be disclosed, though almost 30 local and international banks signaled earlier this year that they’d participate in the special purpose vehicle (SPV).
The lenders intend to sell the controlling stake, according to a separate statement from Lazard Ltd., which advised them on setting up the SPV. The lenders had previously signaled their plans to take control, with Akbank’s chief executive officer saying earlier this month that they intended to sell Turk Telekom to a “reasonable investor” rather than operate it themselves.
The creditors originally provided Otas, whose full name is Ojer Telekomunikasyon AS, with a $4.75 billion loan in 2013. The banks, which also included BNP Paribas SA and Deutsche Bank AG, were locked in talks for years after Otas failed to pay a September 2016 installment on the loan.
The slump in the Turkish lira hit revenues from Turk Telekom’s dividends and made it more difficult to repay the dollar-denominated loan. Otas was controlled by a Dubai-based firm that was partly owned by Saudi Telecom Co.
Other Turk Telekom shareholders include the government, which holds 25 percent and backed the SPV plan, and the nation’s wealth fund, with 6.7 percent. The remaining shares are publicly traded. Raiffeisen Investment AG also advised the banks on setting up the SPV.
The SPV - Levent Yapilandirma Yonetimi AS - released a separate statement saying its main purpose was to enable transferring the stake to an expert investor as soon as possible, in the interests of both Turk Telekom and the country as a whole, Anadolu Agency reported.