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TAV Turns to Latin America for Growth After Losing Turkey Hub

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June 11 (Bloomberg) -- TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS, Turkey’s dominant airport operator, is considering projects in North and South America and Southeast Asia after losing out on the bid for Istanbul’s new $13.6 billion airport.

The company, in which Aeroports De Paris holds a 38 percent stake, is looking at building and running airports in in Mexico, Chile and Brazil, Chief Executive Officer Sani Sener said in an interview in Istanbul today. The company is also monitoring plans by Greece’s government to sell operational rights of several airports including in Thessaloniki and Crete.

TAV narrowly failed to win a government auction last month to build and operate an airport near Istanbul for 150 million passengers a year, forcing the company to revisit its expansion strategy and consider airports in far-flung geographies, Sener said. TAV runs Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Europe’s fastest growing, under its concession contract through 2021 as well as terminals in Georgia, Tunisia, Latvia and Macedonia.

“We will also focus on countries in distant geographies,” Sener said. “We may well consider acquisitions and Greece is the first country we are looking at.”

TAV rose as much as 7 percent to 11.35 liras in Istanbul trade, the most since March 29, and traded at 11.2 liras at 4:49 p.m.

TAV has about 500 million euros ($664 million) of cash position that can be used in acquisitions, Sener said. For projects in Mexico, Chile and Brazil, TAV has received partnership offers from local groups in those lands, he said.

Istanbul-based TAV plans to bid in government auctions to renew concession for airport licenses in Turkish tourist resorts of Bodrum and Dalaman later this year, Sener said.

The government will compensate TAV from the time when the new Istanbul hub is operational, expected in 2017, to the expiry of its concession in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, in 2021 against the loss of business to the new airport, Sener said.

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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