* Turkcell bids for Libyan licence
* Says Libya has high-growth potential
(Adds shares, detail, background)
ISTANBUL, July 13 (Reuters) - Turkey’s biggest mobile-phone operator Turkcell (TCELL.IS) (TKC.N) said on Monday it would bid for a licence to provide landline and mobile-phone services in Libya, which it said had high growth potential.
Turkcell is looking to expand internationally and has targeted emerging markets in North Africa and Central Asia. But last month it lost out to France Telecom FTE.PA and its local partner Divona in a bid to provide telephone services in Tunisia.
Turkey has some of the highest mobile-phone penetration rates in Europe, so Turkcell, which already operates in countries including Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Georgia, has sought to drive growth by developing 3G technology and offering data services to users, as well as through foreign expansion.
By 0745 GMT Turkcell shares traded down 0.6 percent at 8.4 lira, just outperforming losses on the Istanbul index of leading shares .XU100, which traded down 0.61 percent.
Shares in Turkcell have risen just 1.7 percent since the start of the year, as investors turned away from defensive stocks that had held up relatively well during last year’s sell-off, in favour of financials. The wider index has risen 40 percent over the same period. (Writing by Alexandra Hudson, editing by Will Waterman)