Çukurova gets more time to pay for stake

Çukurova gets more time to pay for stake

ISTANBUL - Reuters
The deadline for Turkey’s Çukurova Group to pay $1.6 billion needed to recover a disputed controlling stake in Turkey’s biggest mobile phone operator Turkcell has been pushed back, a British court said Feb. 5.

The Privy Council said that the deadline would be postponed until 60 days after a ruling in a separate case being heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York, related to a row between Turkcell’s major shareholders.

Both cases revolve around a dispute over a 13.8 percent share in Turkcell, which had been held by Çukurova and is a controlling stake due to the company’s ownership structure.

Russia’s Altimo, an arm of Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group, appropriated the stake when Cukurova defaulted on a $1.35 billion loan.

Britain’s Privy Council ruled last July that Çukurova, owned by one of Turkey’s richest men, Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, must pay around $1.6 billion - a sum which includes interest payments - to Altimo within 60 days if it wants to recover the stake.

It gave an initial extension later that month to allow for the resolution of the U.S. case, which could prevent Çukurova from putting up the Turkcell stake as collateral in any new loan. That U.S. case remains unresolved.

Turkcell has been unable to agree the make-up of its board or pay dividends because of the dispute.