Turkey Satellite Operator Plans Initial Public Offering in 2016

Turkey’s state-backed satellite and cable television operator is planning an initial public offering next year amid expectations the government will change the law to allow the sale.

The Ankara-based company, formally known as Turksat Uydu Haberlesme Kablo TV ve Isletmeleri AS, has made all preparations for the offering, Chief Executive Ensar Gul said in an interview in Istanbul Tuesday. Turksat, as it’s known, expects the new Justice and Development Party government, formed by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu last month, to change the company’s articles of association to allow the sale, Gul said.

Turksat was spun off from Turk Telekomunikasyon AS, the country’s biggest telephone operator, before it’s privatization ten years ago. It has four telecommunication satellites and plans to launch two more in 2018 and another in 2020, costing about $800 million, Gul said. The company also runs the country’s only cable television operation with 1.2 million users.

“We are operationally and financially ready for the IPO,” Gul said. “As soon as we have the legal amendment by the government we will look for advisers” to manage the share sale, he said.

A spokesman for the communications ministry in Ankara didn’t immediately reply to questions seeking comment on the legal amendments.

The purpose of the new satellites is to boost its competitive position in Turkey, Europe, Middle East, Central Asia and Africa against rivals including Intelsat SA, Eutelsat Communications SA, Azercosmos OJSC and Telenor ASA, according to Gul.

Turksat, which plans to operate 10 satellites by 2023, will award the winner of the auction for its fifth and sixth satellites planned for 2018 in three months and Aselsan Elektronik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS, a military electronics company in Ankara, will probably get a contract to make transponders for the $500 million satellites, Gul said in a separate news conference. Aselsan will also make electronic parts in the seventh satellite, he said.

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