Turkey to Delay Lottery Sale to Allow Investors to Prepare Bids

Turkey will delay the sale of a license to run its national lottery by more than a month to allow bidders more time to prepare offers, Metin Kilci, head of the state-asset sales agency, said.

Potential investors had asked for the delay as the “global crisis is affecting privatization as much as any other sector,” Kilci said in a telephone interview late yesterday.

Turkey is offering a 10-year license to run the lottery as part of a program of asset sales designed to help reduce state debt. Milli Piyango Idaresi, the lottery operator, had net income of 332 million liras ($220 million) in 2007 from gross sales of 1.2 billion liras, according to Treasury figures. It distributed 649 million liras in prize money.

The Milli Piyango offer gives investors access to a “clear and surprise-free” market and will be carried out successfully, “although until conditions improve we may be in a slower gear,” Kilci said.

The asset sales agency on Nov. 4 gave potential investors until Jan. 15 to apply to take part in the auction, and until Feb. 27 to submit bids. Kilci didn’t specify the new timetable.

Companies including Athens-based Intralot SA (INLOT) and Turkey’s Koc Holding AS (KCHOL) have said they may bid for Milli Piyango. Camelot Group Plc, which holds the concession to run the U.K.’s national lottery, and Scientific Games Corp. (SGMS) may also bid, Milliyet newspaper said in July.

Other possible bidders include Essnet AB, Tatts Group Ltd. (TTS), GTECH Holdings Corp., Lottomatica SpA, Austrian Lotteries and Sisal SpA, Milliyet said.

Turkey will press ahead with plans to sell operating rights for highways and bridges and dispose of sugar factories and ports, Kilci said. In addition, the agency will offer some electricity distribution grids for sale in the first quarter of the year, though the process may not be completed until 2010, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Steve Bryant in Ankara at sbryant5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Kirkham at ckirkham@bloomberg.net

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