June 27, 2018 / 9:33 AM / 19 days ago

Turkish Airlines in talks to finance facilities at new Istanbul airport: sources

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Airlines is in talks with 12-13 Turkish and Chinese banks to secure between $800 million and $1 billion in financing to construct its facilities at Istanbul’s new airport, and a deal is almost ready, three sources close to the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: A Turkish Airlines Airbus A320-200 taxis at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, January 7, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal/File Photo

Istanbul’s third airport, which Turkey says will become the biggest in the world, is slated to open on Oct. 29. A total of 10.25 billion euros ($11.96 billion) have been invested in the airport, which will have an initial passenger capacity of 90 million per year.

Turkish Airlines is in talks with five local banks and various Chinese banks, including ICBC (ICBCT.IS) (601398.SS), the sources told Reuters. Two of them said the other four Turkish lenders to provide financing were Is Bank (ISCTR.IS), Yapi Kredi (YKBNK.IS), Alternatifbank and Ziraat Katilim.

ICBC confirmed that it provided financing but other banks mentioned did not respond to a request for comment.

The airline’s shares were up 3 percent at 13.33 lira per share as of 0915 GMT, with more than 40 million shares traded.

The main BIST100 .XU100 index was up 0.63 percent.

Turkish Airlines did not respond to a request for comment.

“(Turkish Airlines) will make investments in buildings, customer sale offices, conveyor belts, and needs financing for them,” one of the sources said.

The deal is expected to be signed in July, another source said.

Chinese banks are eager to provide financing, another of the sources said, adding that maturity terms for the loans were between three to five years with a grace period of one year.

MEGA-PROJECTS

The third airport is among a series of mega-projects promoted by President Tayyip Erodogan, who won a new five-year term in Turkey’s presidential election on Sunday.

Other big infrastructure projects include a third bridge across the Bosphorus, which opened in 2016, and plans to build a huge canal in Istanbul that would render a large chunk of the city an island.

Incoming flights will be directed to the new airport from the existing Ataturk Airport as soon as the new one opens on Oct. 29. The transition to the new site will be completed in 48 hours, officials say. Ataturk Airport is set to close down.

Like Ataturk, the new airport, which has not yet been named, is on the European side of Istanbul, a city of some 15 million people that straddles Europe and Asia. Istanbul’s other airport, Sabiha Gokcen, is on the Asian side of the city.

Turkish Airlines said in May that it had a loss of 314 million lira ($67.98 million) in the first quarter of the year, narrowing 78 percent from the loss in the same period a year earlier. Results showed first-quarter sales had climbed 44 percent to 10.53 billion lira.

($1 = 0.8568 euros)

Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Gareth Jones

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