Owners of Largest Turkish Dairy Maker Plan Share Sale in May

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The Turkish owner of Godiva chocolates and other partners plan to sell shares in Turkey’s biggest dairy producer next month in a deal they say will value the company at more than $1 billion.

Yildiz Holding AS, Turkey’s largest food producer, the Topbas family and other investors plan to sell as much as 45 percent of Ak Gida Sanayi & Ticaret AS, said Cem Karakas, Yildiz Holding’s chief financial officer, in an interview in Istanbul on Monday.

Yildiz bought United Biscuits Holdings for $3.3 billion last year and purchased Godiva chocolates for $850 million in 2007. While Ak Gida has attracted investors interested in a stake in the company, an initial public offering would be the preferred outcome, Karakas said.

“If the strategic investors that show interest offer a significantly satisfactory price and if we can ensure a secure supply of milk, then we can consider selling a stake instead of the IPO,” Karakas said. “I would personally prefer an IPO. We consider milk supply from Ak Gida as a strategic business for our other operations for a secure supply of dairy products.”

Ak Gida, which posted a 17 percent increase in 2014 sales to 2.04 billion liras ($770 million), drew two bids to purchase about half of the company, one from an investor in Europe and another in the Gulf, he said, without identifying them.

HSBC, Unlu

Ak Gida’s owners hired HSBC Holdings Plc and Unlu & Co., an Istanbul-based investment bank, as international bookrunners, Karakas said. Ak Yatirim Menkul Degerler AS will handle domestic sales, he said. They plan for the stock to start trading on the Borsa Istanbul on May 11.

Yildiz Holding, which owns about one-third of the company, will use proceeds from the sale to repay debt, Karakas said. The IPO is expected to raise about $450 million, according to the CFO.

Ak Gida, where the Topbas family and a group of smaller investors each also hold a third of the company, supplies as much as 90 percent of its private label products to BIM Birlesik Magazalar AS, Turkey’s biggest discount chain and also part-owned by the Topbas family, and Sok Marketler Ticaret AS, Yildiz’s retail grocery unit, Karakas said. The two retailers provide half of Ak Gida’s sales, he said.

Noting other potential transactions by the group, Karakas said Gozde Girisim Sermayesi Yatirim Ortakligi AS, the private equity arm of Yildiz, received bids from Japan, the U.S., Europe and China for its razor-blade maker unit Azmusebat Cakmak & Tiras Bicagi.

Sok IPO

Yildiz also plans to sell a stake in Sok Marketler in an IPO between 2017 and 2019, Karakas said. The grocer contributed four billion liras to 2014 sales of 22 billion liras for Yildiz, which will probably have sales of 30 billion liras this year, he said.

Yildiz Holding, majority owned by Turkish billionaire Murat Ulker, also plans to sell the Akasya and Star City shopping malls in Istanbul, he said.

The group plans to make acquisitions in Africa, with each deal being less than $100 million, he said.

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