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Gozde Plunges as Erdogan Signals U-Turn on Deal: Istanbul Mover

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Gozde Girisim Sermayesi Yatirim AS suffered the biggest drop in 18 months after Turkey’s prime minister raised the possibility that the government’s second-biggest asset sale in history could be scrapped.

Shares of the the venture capital investment arm of Yildiz Holding AS plunged 7.3 percent in the biggest decline since August 2011, to 3.93 liras at close in Istanbul. Koc Holding AS, Turkey’s biggest group of companies, tumbled as much as 3.6 percent to 9.12 liras before trimming losses to close at 9.44 liras. The benchmark index rose 0.6 percent.

Istanbul-based Koc and Gozde are members of a group that submitted the winning bid to buy 25-year operating rights for 1,975 kilometers of toll roads, two beltways and two bridges over the Bosporus Strait, offering $5.7 billion. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised interview Feb. 1 that the government will “once again put the issue of highways and bridges on the table” because it has “higher expectations.”

Erdogan’s comments “created pressure on the shares, with the outlook becoming uncertain,” said Kadir Tezeller, head of research at Seker Securities in Istanbul. “With the Higher Board for Privatization being chaired by Erdogan himself, the sale will be debated.”

The offer by the consortium, which also includes Malaysia’s UEM Group Bhd, would make the transaction the second-biggest privatization in Turkish history after the $6.55 billion sale of a 55 percent stake in land-line phone operator Turk Telekomunikasyon AS in 2005.

The sale is subject to separate approvals from the Privatization Administration, the Competition Board and the Council of State.

To contact the reporter on this story: Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at tbilgic2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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