ANKARA Dec 6 Bank of America Merrill Lynch
has withdrawn from bidding to advise Turkish defence
contractor Aselsan after Turkey struck a preliminary
defence deal with a Chinese firm under U.S. sanctions, an
Aselsan official said on Friday.
Turkey, a member of NATO, said in September it had chosen an
air and missile defence system built by China Precision
Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC) over rival offers from
Franco-Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and U.S. firm Raytheon Co.
Merrill Lynch had made a joint bid with Turkey's Halk
Investment to advise Aselsan on a planned secondary listing but
has since written to the firm to say it was pulling out, the
Aselsan official said, asking not to be named.
"We have received five bids from brokerage houses. One of
those was the Halk Investment-Merrill Lynch bid ... Due to the
missile deal with China, Merrill Lynch has informed us that they
pulled out," the official said.
Merrill Lynch officials in Turkey could not immediately be
reached for comment.
U.S. and NATO officials are unhappy with Turkey's choice of
CPMIEC, which is under U.S. sanctions for selling items to Iran,
Syria or North Korea that are banned under U.S. laws to curb the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Turkey has said the $3.4 billion Chinese deal offered the
most competitive terms and would help it achieve its aim of
building a stronger domestic defence industry by allowing
But Turkish officials have made clear the decision is not
yet final, keeping their options open by asking CPMIEC and its
rivals to extend the validity of their bids.