Yıldız company confirms telecom financing talks

Yıldız company confirms telecom financing talks

ISTANBUL - Reuters
Yıldız company confirms telecom financing talks

Yıldız Holding subsidiary Gözde Girişim is speculated to be strategic creditor for Çukurova to help the firm to buy its Turkcell shares.

Yıldız Holding subsidiary Gözde Girişim has announced it is having talks regarding financing in the telecom sector, following the reports of a possible financing deal with Çukurova Holding for Turkcell shares, but ruled out partnership claims.

“Gözde Girişim is having structured conditional financing provision talks in the telecom sector, but has no plans of investing in the sector through creating a partnership,” the company said in a statement released on the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP) on June 13.

The announcement came on the heels of news that Turkish conglomerate Çukurova is close to securing financing from Yıldız Holding to recover a disputed stake in the country’s biggest mobile phone operator Turkcell.

Çukurova and Altimo, the telecoms investment arm of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group, have been fighting for 7 years for control of Turkcell, choking decision-making at the firm and preventing the payment of dividends.

Looming deadline

Çukurova said on June 10 it was in talks with undisclosed institutions to arrange financing to pay Alfa. The financially-strained conglomerate is reportedly opting to secure credit from a local strategic creditor instead of dealing with a financial creditor to raise the $1.6 billion it has been ordered to pay to recover the stake.

“Both Çukurova and Turkey will be unhappy if Çukurova fails to get the stake back. It’s unavoidable for a new player to be involved. This will be acceptable to both Çukurova and the Turkish government,” a source close to the matter told Reuters on June 10.

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 he wants to recover the stake.

It subsequently extended the deadline, most recently to June 24. Altimo appropriated the 13.8 percent stake – a controlling stake due to Turkcell’s complex ownership structure – when Çukurova defaulted on a $1.35 billion loan.