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INTERVIEW-UPDATE 1-Yildirim bids $1 bn for energy, metals, ports
* Group has made offers for six companies - Robert Yildirim
* Turkish company also eyes distressed shipping assets
* Yildirim mulls IPO of port business or private equity input (Adds quotes, details)
By Jacqueline Cowhig
LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Turkey's Yildirim Group has made offers totalling $1 billion in the past two months to buy six companies involved in energy, chrome and ports, owner Robert Yildirim said on Tuesday.
The privately-owned diverse industrial company has also offered to buy distressed shipping assets from European banks and amalgamate these. It expects to do so in early 2013.
"We have definitely seen more M&A opportunities since July, we've made six offers to buy companies in Turkey and outside in energy, metals and ports, a total of $1 billion has been offered," Yildirim told Reuters.
"So far, 50 percent of these are secured and three are still under negotiations - it looks like I'm being aggressive but really I'm being very selective and chose six out of 40-50 opportunities," he said.
The Turkish magnate said he could not name the companies involved for reasons of confidentiality.
Yildirim said that investing in ships was at the bottom of his shopping list, after ports, mines and energy investments.
He said that he much preferred ports as an investment and was looking to either launch and initial public offering of the group's port business or seek private equity investment by 2014-15 to grow further.
Yildirim Group is the world's second-largest ferrochrome player globally in terms of capacity, he said, and aims to grow its chrome and ferrochrome business, in part through acquisition.
The four-year slump in shipping, one of the worst ever faced by the sector, has already sunk a number of shipping companies including one of Italy's top dry bulk players, Deiulemar.
Industry sources say banks lending to the shipping sector may have to seize vessels from struggling owners in the coming months in a bid to recoup loans.
The Turkish group has proposed to buy such ships from the banks and put them together in its shipping businesses and the right time to do so may come in the first quarter of next year, Yildirim said.
"The banks are listening, they said it was a good proposal but they cannot do it today, the loan to value ratio (of their exposure to shipping firms) is so big, but once they start to seize ships then they may consider," he said. (Reporting by Jacqueline Cowhig; Additional reporting by Jonathan Saul; Editing by Anthony Barker)
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