Sabanci Says Seeking Strategic Partner for Bossa

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish conglomerate Sabanci Holding SAHOL.IS will seek a strategic partner for its textile company Bossa BOSSA.IS in 2008 but has no similar plans for other units this year, its chairwoman Guler Sabanci said.

Her comments to reporters came after the industry-to-finance conglomerate Sabanci said on Thursday it expects net sales growth of 12 percent for the group this year.

“This year we are seeking a strategic partner for Bossa. Our search is continuing. At the moment we do not have any similar project,” she said.

Bossa’s total sales amounted to $205 million in 2006, when its total production reached 50.8 million meters of clothing. It has 2,750 employees.

Sabanci Holding CEO Ahmet Dorduncu said on Thursday consolidated net sales for the Sabanci group -- rose 20 percent to 19.4 billion lira ($16.4 billion) in 2007 and were expected at 21.7 billion lira in 2008.

Akbank AKBNK.IS, Turkey's largest private lender, accounted for 55 percent of group sales.

Guler Sabanci said the group aimed for Akbank’s share of total shares to fall in the future.

“Akbank is growing in such a satisfactory way that it is not possible for other companies in the group to keep up with it at the moment. But our goal is to cut its share (of total sales),” she said.

Dorduncu told the same meeting with reporters that half of the company’s planned $1.5 billion investments this year would be in energy and retail.

Sabanci said the energy investments would not be reflected in sales until 2010.

“It looks like there will be an energy bottleneck (in Turkey) toward the end of this year,” Sabanci said.

“One of the biggest obstacles in the way of Turkey growing is the fact that the state controls 85 percent of the energy,” she said.

Reporting by Ercan Ersoy; Editing by David Cowell