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Turkcell Board Wants to End Dispute This Year, CEO Says

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS’s board of directors wants to resolve a dispute this year that has blocked the payment of dividends from 2010 profit and it will consider buying back shares, Chief Executive Officer Sureyya Ciliv said.

Turkey’s biggest mobile-phone company will change the composition of the board after the capital markets regulator demanded that the top 30 companies on the Istanbul Stock Exchange appoint independent members for corporate governance, Ciliv said in an interview in Istanbul today. The buyback would use the company’s cash, which stood at 6.1 billion liras ($3.5 billion) at the end of September, he said.

“We need to resolve the issues about the board before we do anything on the share buyback,” Ciliv said.

Investors Teliasonera AB and Moscow-based Altimo blocked a decision on dividend payments in a series of shareholders’ meetings, after failing to oust Chairman Colin Williams from the board. They claimed he hampered Turkcell’s growth by favoring Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, chairman of the company’s founding shareholder Cukurova Holding AS.

“The board members have the desire to complete all issues regarding the independent members and the shareholders’ meeting by the end of this year in line with the regulator’s demands,” Ciliv said. “I hope we will be able to give some good news shortly about the shareholders’ meeting.”

Profit Beats Estimate

Third-quarter net income was 537.2 million liras, Turkcell said in a statement yesterday. That beat the average estimate of 395.4 million liras from 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Turkcell rose 7.8 percent to 9.38 liras at the close of Istanbul trading, the biggest jump since Aug. 9.

The global crisis presents new opportunities in 2012 and Turkcell will remain “cautious” about possible acquisitions, Ciliv said.

The company is seeking ways to boost revenue as it faces more competition in its home market from Vodafone Group Plc and Avea Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, majority owned by Turk Telekomunikasyon AS.

Turkcell will complete budget work for 2012 in December, when it will set growth and investment targets, Ciliv said.

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

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

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