Turkcell Management May Propose 2012 Dividend Payment to Board

Management of Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, Turkey’s biggest mobile operator, may propose a plan to pay dividends from 2012 profit after a shareholder dispute blocked payments for the previous two years.

Any proposition from management to the board will also need to be presented to shareholders, Sureyya Ciliv, chief executive officer of the company, said in a news conference in Istanbul late yesterday. There isn’t yet a detailed management proposal on dividend payments, he said.

TeliaSonera AB, Altimo of Russia, which is controlled by billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group, and Cukurova Holding AS of Turkey have been fighting a three-cornered battle for control of the company for almost a decade. While TeliaSonera is the largest shareholder with 38 percent, Cukurova has sought to retain control via a complex ownership structure even as its stake has declined to 13.8 percent.

TeliaSonera and Altimo blocked a decision on dividend payments for 2010 and 2011, after failing to oust Chairman Colin Williams from the board, claiming he hampered Turkcell’s growth by favoring Cukurova chairman and Turkcell founder Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, Turkey’s second-richest man. Williams denied the allegations.

“We as management propose to the board how much we can offer in dividend payments and then the board should take it to the shareholders in the annual meeting,” Ciliv said.

Independent board members are expected to be appointed to the board of directors in line with new government regulations, he said.

Turkcell’s board proposal in 2011 to make a dividend payment of 75 percent of 2010’s profit of 1.77 billion liras ($988 million) was blocked by TeliaSonera and Altimo. The board didn’t propose any distribution last year from 2011’s profit of

1.18 billion liras. The company’s 2012 net income was 2.08 billion liras.

Ciliv also said the company is considering producing mobile devices. He didn’t elaborate.

Turkcell shares rose 1.8 percent to 11.55 liras at 10:50 a.m. in Istanbul trade, gaining for the first day in three.

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