Turkcell has 30 days before unwanted intervention, market czar says

Turkcell has 30 days before unwanted intervention, market czar says

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkcell has 30 days before unwanted intervention, market czar says

The head of Turkey's Capital Markets Board (SPK) answered the Daily News' questions.

The head of Turkey's Capital Markets Board (SPK), which set a 30-day deadline for Turkcell, Turkey's largest mobile operator, to hold a problematic general assembly meeting in a notice last night, said today that the regulator's preference was a solution that did not require intervention.

There is no obstacle to the partners coming together and holding the general assembly, Vahdettin Ertaş responded to a Hürriyet Daily News question while talking to journalists on the sidelines of a CEO Club meeting held by Capital and Ekonomist magazines in Istanbul today.

"We would prefer that there was no need for us. We will undertake such a responsibility only if we have to," he said.

Turkcell has failed to hold its general assembly for years, with the Turkish Çukurova, Russia-based Altimo and Nordic Teliasonera holding most shares in a complex partnership structure.

The regulator will appoint two more independent board members to the company to maintain a minimum-five member structure if the deadline requirement is not met.

Çukurova Holding reportedly holds some 13 percent of the group, and its foreign partners blame each other for locking up the management. The SPK appointed three independent members to the board in an earlier move.

With the failure to hold the assembly on May 22, the management's legitimacy came to the spotlight.

Turkcell is the local mobile firm with the highest number of subscribers, one of the largest ones open to the public and a brand value, Ertaş said today. "We cannot remain deaf to such a company."

Turkishness not a concern

When asked by the Daily News whether the SPK preferred the company remain Turkish, the market czar said their concern was to keep the company acting within Turkish regulation only.

"Turkcell is a Turkish company," he said. "We are open to both Turkish and foreign partners. What we want is that the company is managed under Turkish regulation. We don't have any further demand," he said.

Çukurova Holding is facing separate debt problems with Turkey's Savings and Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) seizing 10 more group companies on May 24. The TMSF has made no decision about Turkcell, Ertaş noted.