Akfen Said to Weigh Turkish Asset Sales in Post-Coup Test

  • Stake sales include airport operator TAV, Mersin Port, energy
  • Akfen working with Morgan Stanley, Unlu on potential deals

Turkey’s Akfen Holding AS is exploring a potential sale of its stakes in the country’s main airport operator and a major port, in what could be a test of investor appetite for infrastructure after a failed coup attempt shook the markets, people familiar with the matter said.

Akfen has hired Morgan Stanley and local investment bank Unlu & Co. to advise on the potential transactions, said the people, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private.

The company may consider selling an 8 percent stake in TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS which operates about a dozen airports in Turkey and abroad, including Istanbul Ataturk, the site of a June terrorist attack that killed more than 40, said the people. Akfen is also weighing the sale of its 50 percent stake in the Mersin International Port and some energy assets, said the people.

While it has no plans to sell stakes in TAV, Mersin or its renewable energy unit, Akfen Yenilenebilir Enerji SA, the company may consider selling a minority stake in the overall business, Akfen said in a filing Thursday. Representatives for Unlu and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Akfen is going through a restructuring after delisting from the Borsa Istanbul this year. The Ankara-based company sold minority stakes in its renewable energy unit to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Finance Corp. for a total of $200 million earlier this year to expand the business.

TAV shares fell 2.4 percent to 11 liras in Istanbul Thursday. Akfen Gayrimenkul Yatirim Ortakligi AS, Akfen’s real estate investment trust unit, rose 0.8 percent to 1.34 liras.

Failed Coup

Suha Gucsav, chief executive of Akfen, said the company “is always working with banks to explore options” and there are no immediate plans for any sale. “We are like a private equity company, and we are constantly reviewing our assets,” he said.

Following the failed coup, Turkey is planning an infrastructure fund to keep growth on track, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in an interview earlier this week. The fund would be worth “tens of billions of dollars” and would not threaten the country’s budget deficit, he said.

“Here is what we are telling global investors: Life is back to normal in Turkey,” Yildirim said, speaking at his official residence in Ankara on Sunday.

Akfen and its partner PSA International Pte of Singapore formed a joint venture to acquire Mersin port, Turkey’s biggest in terms of capacity, from the government for $755 million in 2007 to operate it for 36 years. The partners increased the port’s capacity by 10 percent, financed by a $450 million bond sale in 2013.

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