Turkey’s Limak shifts focus to Balkans, Africa
ISTANBUL-ReutersLimak Holding plans to bid in a sale of Sofia airport and is looking at more investments in Africa for its main construction, energy and cement businesses, the head of the group’s investment arm said.
Limak’s emphasis on Africa and Eastern Europe highlights a shift in focus for Turkey from traditional export markets in Europe because of sluggish economic growth and the Middle East because of political instability.
“There is a privatization process for Sofia Airport. We are looking into it. They will collect bids in the autumn,” Limak Investment Chairwoman Ebru Özdemir said in an interview.
“There may be new opportunities in Africa,” she said. “We are looking into airports in Eastern Europe. I think we can do airports anywhere in the world,” she said.
Turkish exports to Africa have grown more than sevenfold since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, rising to $12.5 billion last year from $1.7 billion in 2002, with textiles, food, construction and infrastructure services among the key sectors.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Uganda and Kenya earlier this year in a bid to increase trade.
Limak in April was awarded rights to complete the construction of Senegal’s Aeroport International Blaise-Diagne (AIBD) and operate it for 25 years.
Limak, which is not listed, already has interests in Mozambique and Ivory Coast.
In Bulgaria, Limak aims to bid in Bulgaria’s tender to operate Sofia airport for 35 years, in a deal expected to bring in some 1.2 billion levs ($684 million).
The company won a $4.34 billion tender last year to build Kuwait’s international airport terminal.
In its home market, Özdemir said Limak was interested in infrastructure projects such as a plan to build a canal linking the Black and Marmara Seas and a bridge across the Dardanelles strait.
In May, Limak and Cengiz Holding won a tender to build the Asian section of a 7 billion lira motorway connecting to a third bridge spanning Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait.
“We are progressing to start financing talks with Turkish and foreign banks within this year,” Ozdemir said.
“After the third bridge opens on Aug. 26, there could be refinancing,” she said.
She also said the company might consider a bond issue for refinancing purposes following the opening of Istanbul’s third airport, which Limak built as part of a consortium.