TAV Plans IPO at Ground Handling Unit Havas in February

TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS (TAVHL), Turkey’s largest airport operator, will hold an initial public offering in its ground-handler in February to sell stakes owned by HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Is Girisim Sermayesi Yatirim Ortakligi AS (ISGSY), TAV chief executive Sani Sener said.

TAV may also sell “a small stake” from its 65 percent- holding in Havas Havaalanlari Yer Hizmetleri AS to provide cash to the unit, Sener said in embargoed comments in an interview held yesterday at his office at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, Turkey’s biggest.

“The IPO of Havas will be held in February 2012. HSBC and Is Girisim will exit their investments,” Sener said. TAV will soon hire advisers for the IPO, he said. “Havas is a strong asset and therefore we expect big interest.”

HSBC and Is Girisim, a private equity firm owned by Turkiye Is Bankasi (ISCTR) AS, paid a total of 102 million euros ($147 million) to TAV to buy stakes in Havas in 2009. HSBC got 28.3 percent and Is Girisim got 6.7 percent.

TAV operates the Ankara, Izmir, Antalya’s Gazipasa and Ataturk airports in Turkey, and two airports each in Georgia, Tunisia and Macedonia. Its passengers rose 10 percent to 29 million in the first half of 2011 from a year ago and the 2020 target is 100 million passengers, Sener said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is among banks recommending that investors buy TAV, which earns mostly in euros. It’s among the Turkish stocks “resilient to foreign currency fluctuations,” Merrill said in an e-mailed report yesterday.

African Market

TAV, which sold a 33 percent stake in its Tunisia unit to Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund and the International Finance Corp. for 67.7 million euros in 2009 and 2010, is studying projects in Nairobi, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa, Sener said.

“We are very much interested in the African market under public-private partnerships, after Turkish Airlines started flights to several destinations,” he said. “Africa had 151 million passengers last year and I believe this will rise to 500 million in 2030, so there is a big opportunity there.”

The company, owned by Ankara-based builders Akfen Holding AS (AKFEN) and Tepe Group, will repair and upgrade airports in Mogadishu, Somalia and Benghazi in Libya, Sener said.

Passenger traffic at TAV’s Enfidha and Monastir airports in Tunisia shrank 45 percent in the first half to 1.1 million amid regional unrest, Sener said. “We expect this situation in Tunisia to subside after the October elections and we’ll see an increase in traffic from the beginning of 2012.”

Saudi Arabia, Brazil

A TAV-led group including Saudi Oger Ltd. of Lebanon and Al Rajhi Holdings of Saudi Arabia was the best bidder in an auction earlier this month to double passenger capacity at Medina airport to 8 million a year at a cost of $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

“We expect to sign the agreement for Medina in early September,” Sener said. The partners, who have equal stakes, agreed with several Saudi banks to finance 70 percent of the project, he said. The 25-year contract eventually targets 20 million passengers.

TAV plans to bid for several of Brazil’s airports in state sales expected in December, in a possible partnership with Odebrecht SA, Sener said. The airports are being sold ahead of the Latin American country’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, he said.

TAV “will definitely bid” in a Turkish government auction to build and operate an airport with a capacity of 5 million passengers located between the southern Adana and Mersin cities, Sener said. The company won’t bid in an auction for Zagreb airport in Croatia, he added.

TAV which also offers duty-free and catering services, maintains this year’s 15 percent sales and passenger growth target and plans a dividend payout in 2012, Sener said.

TAV rose 6 kurus, or 0.9 percent, to 6.80 liras at 5:30 p.m. in Istanbul.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ercan Ersoy in Istanbul at eersoy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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