Turkish banks tap Morgan Stanley for Turk Telekom stake sale

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Three Turkish banks said on Thursday they had mandated Morgan Stanley MSMSI.UL as financial adviser for the sale of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that holds a 55% stake in Turk Telekom TTKOM.IS, sending the company's shares up.

The three banks, Garanti BBVA GARAN.IS, Is Bank ISCTR.IS and Akbank AKBNK.IS, said in December that Turk Telekom shares previously held by Ojer Telekom (OTAS) had been moved to a special purpose vehicle, called Levent Yapilandirma Yonetimi.

They said the main goal in the process is to transfer the shares to a “competent” investor.

“Morgan Stanley...has been mandated as financial adviser for (the) sale of Levent Yapilandirma Yonetimi or its 55% stake in Turk Telekom,” the banks said in separate identical statements.

They said the required steps for the process and sale negotiations with potential buyers would begin.

Turk Telekom shares were up 4.24% at 1509 GMT.

OTAS, a unit of the Dubai-based Oger Telecom, had taken out a $4.75 billion loan in 2013 to acquire a 55% stake in Turk Telekom. But it failed to keep up payments on what at the time was Turkey’s largest corporate loan.

Many Turkish companies are currently facing the formidable task of repaying foreign currency loans while raising revenues in lira TRYTOM=D3, which lost some 30% of its value against the dollar last year.

The currency was hit by a sharp sell-off last year sparked by worries about President Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and deteriorating ties between Ankara and Washington.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer