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TAV Doubles Sales-Growth Goal on Ground-Handling

TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS, Turkey’s largest airport operator, more than doubled its sales-growth target as increased traffic and acquisitions helped ground-services revenue rise.

Euro-denominated sales will probably increase by more than 20 percent in 2010, compared with a growth forecast at the beginning of the year of 10 percent, Chief Executive Officer Sani Sener told reporters in Istanbul late yesterday.

TAV runs 10 airports, with four in Turkey including Istanbul’s Ataturk, the country’s busiest, and others in Georgia, Tunisia and Macedonia. It also provides catering services and duty-free shops. TAV’s Havas division bought a stake in Turkish Airlines’ ground-handling unit last year and agreed in April to buy half of a similar business in Latvia.

Sener reiterated a target of increasing group passenger numbers this year by 10 percent from about 42 million travelers in 2009, with traffic increasing to 100 million passengers by 2020. TAV’s airports served 21.3 million passengers in the first six months of 2010, a 13 percent increase from a year earlier.

First-half net income was 8.5 million euros ($11 million), compared with a loss of 2.1 million euros a year earlier, while sales increased 25 percent to 351 million euros, the Istanbul-based company said yesterday.

TAV declined as much as 10 kurus, or 1.5 percent, to 6.60 liras and was down 0.8 percent as of 12:29 p.m. in Istanbul trading. The stock has risen 40 percent this year.

Acquisitions by Havas

The Havas ground-handling brand acquired 50 percent of Turkish Airlines’ TGS unit in December, adding access to five airports in the country. Havas agreed in April to buy half of North Hub Services, the ground handler of Latvia’s SJSC Riga international airport, for 3.25 million euros.

North Hub Services, which also operates in Helsinki, will start services in the Estonian capital of Tallinn in October, Stockholm and the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius in 2011 and Copenhagen in 2012, Sener said.

“We are very serious about making Riga a hub for northern Europe and Istanbul for Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa,” he said.

TAV plans to sell shares in Havas through an initial public offering in 2011, Sener said. The division’s partners, which include HSBC Holdings Plc with 28.3 percent and Turkey’s Is Girisim Sermayesi Yatirim Ortakligi AS with 6.7 percent, have all agreed to some of their Havas holdings in the IPO, he said.

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