Malaysia Airports to Buy Out Minority Holders in Istanbul Sabiha

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. will buy out the additional 40 percent stake held by minority investors in Istanbul’s second-biggest airport for about 285 million euros ($361 million), the company said.

Malaysia Airports yesterday exercised its pre-emptive rights to buy the stake in Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport from units of Turkish builder Limak Holding AS, it said in a filing to the exchange. The price is subject to a reduction, and the company is currently considering options on the funding structure, it said. People familiar with the matter had told Bloomberg News on Oct. 20 of the company’s plans to purchase the balance stake.

Sabiha Gokcen, located on the Asian side of Turkey’s biggest city, is drawing investors with the fastest passenger growth in Europe. The bid from Malaysia Airports put an end to plans by TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS, owner of Istanbul’s larger Ataturk airport, to buy the stake in a deal reached last month.

The acquisition is “expected to strengthen MAHB’s foothold and influence as an airport manager and airport operator in Turkey,” the company said in the statement. “Sabiha Airport is also viewed as an attractive asset to MAHB, given its long term growth potential and prospects.”

Shares of Malaysia Airports closed 3.6 percent higher at 6.69 ringgit per share in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, taking the market value to 9.2 billion ringgit.

Malaysia Airports, operator of airfields in the Southeast Asian country, had agreed in December to raise its stake in Sabiha Gokcen to 60 percent, paying 225 million euros to buy out Indian partner GMR Infrastructure Ltd.

Traffic at Sabiha Gokcen is expected to increase to 24 million travelers this year from almost 19 million in 2013, Chief Executive Officer Gokhan Bugday said in a July interview.

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