Hariri family reportedly in talks to sell stake in Turk Telekom's owner

By bne IntelliNews October 28, 2016

Lebanon’s Hariri family is in talks with three potential investors to sell a stake in their Dubai-based telecommunications unit as they seek to avoid default on a $4.75bn loan, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Three bidders including a telecoms operator not based in Turkey and a company from Qatar, are currently in talks to buy part of Oger Telecom, the people said. Oger Telekom owns 55% of Turkey’s telecom giant Turk Telekom, while Turkey’s Treasury holds a 30% stake in the company.

The loan that was issued in 2013, with 29 participants, including Turkey’s largest lenders as well as international banks Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase, and Deutsche Bank, is linked to the family’s purchase in 2005 of a majority stake in Turk Telekom, according to Bloomberg.

The family has requested an additional extension to the end of November to make a payment as they seek to raise funds via the stake sale, the people told the news agency. Local lenders Akbank has about $1.5bn in exposure to the loan, while Garanti Bankasi lent about $1bn, according to the people.

Turk Telekom said earlier this month that its net income shrank to TRY9mn (€2.7mn) in the third quarter of the year from TRY248mn three months earlier. In response to the news regarding the missed loan payment, the company issued a bourse filing on October 14, saying that its operations will not be affected. Shares in Turk Telekom were up 1.03% to TRY5.89 on October 27.

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