ISTANBUL, March 14 TeliaSonera said the board of
Turkcell may next week propose a dividend and a
general shareholder meeting, signalling that owners of the
Turkish mobile phone firm had made progress in resolving
long-standing legal battles.
Complex ownership disputes between TeliaSonera,
Turkey's Cukurova Holding and Russia's Altimo have left Turkcell
unable to agree on a board and approve dividend payments since
This week Turkish regulator The Capital Markets Board (SPK)
said it had appointed three independent directors to Turkcell's
board and removed three board members, a decision welcomed by
the three main shareholders, who have been at loggerheads since
2005 over control of the group.
A meeting of the new board is expected to take place on
March 20, Teliasonera said on Thursday.
"A dividend proposal and general assembly timetable might be
set in next week's board meeting," Erim Taylanlar, Teliasonera's
vice president, corporate communications Eurasia said in an
"We favour the payment of dividends at the first general
assembly meeting. Our ongoing court case with Cukurova is not a
precondition," he said.
TeliaSonera has the largest direct and indirect stake in
Turkcell, amounting to 37 percent, but Turkcell is controlled by
Cukurova through a complex shareholder structure.
Altimo appropriated Turkcell shares pledged by Cukurova in
return for a loan after the Turkish company defaulted. Altimo
and TeliaSonera joined forces against Cukurova in 2009, saying
they would set up a joint holding company to run their assets in
Turkey and Russia, where they have 90 million subscribers.
The dispute between the Turkcell shareholders over ownership
continues at the Privy Council in London, which is hearing the
case because the holding companies involved are registered in
the British Virgin Islands. The council is the highest court of
appeal for many Commonwealth countries.
In September 2011 an arbitration tribunal of the
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ordered Cukurova to pay
TeliaSonera damages of $932 million plus interest.
(Reporting by Evren Ballim; Writing by Seda Sezer; editing by