(Adds comments from Gozde CEO)
ISTANBUL, June 13 Gozde Girisim, the
listed private equity unit of Turkish conglomerate Yildiz
Holding, is in talks on a "structured financing" concerning the
country's telecoms industry but is not planning to partner in
the business, its chief executive said on Friday.
Cem Karakas did not say why the firm was seeking funds, but
it is widely expected to provide another conglomerate, Cukurova
Holding, with financing to recover its disputed stake
in the country's biggest mobile phone operator Turkcell
Three sources close to the matter said earlier this week
that Cukurova would receive financing from a local partner, and
two of the sources said Cukurova would obtain it from Yildiz.
"Gozde is in talks on structured financing for the telecoms
sector, but we don't have plans at present to invest and become
a partner in the telecoms sector," Karakas told Reuters. The
firm declined to say what it meant by a "structured" financing.
Gozde's shares fell 2.75 percent to 3.18 lira. Ulker,
Turkey's biggest foodmaker which is also owned by Yildiz,
declined 2.23 percent to 17.55 lira, while Turkcell's shares
were 0.7 percent higher at 13.60 lira.
Cukurova and Altimo, the telecoms investment arm of Russian
billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group, have been fighting for
seven years over control of Turkcell, choking decision-making at
the firm and preventing the payment of dividends.
At the same time Swedish company TeliaSonera,
which owns an effective 37 percent of Turkcell, has been
embroiled in a separate but related dispute with Cukurova
concerning a claim for damages after the Turkish company reneged
on an earlier deal to sell TeliaSonera part of its stake in
The Turkish government sees Turkcell as an asset vital to
national interests and wants control to remain in Turkish hands
and has been pushing for a local corporate partner to help
Cukurova raise the $1.6 billion it was ordered by the judicial
body of the UK's Privy Council last July to pay Alfa to recover
its stake, the sources said earlier this week.
Cukurova said earlier this week it was in talks to arrange
financing to pay Alfa.
Cukurova's owner is Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, Turkey's 13th
richest person, according to Forbes magazine, which estimates
his wealth at $1.5 billion, while Yildiz's chairman Murat Ulker
is ranked as the country's richest person with $3.7 billion.
(Reporting by Asli Kandemir and Seda Sezer; Writing by Ayla
Jean Yackley; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Greg Mahlich)