Turkey’s competition board launches probe into retail and wholesale electricity markets.

By bne IntelliNews May 27, 2013

Turkish competition board announced that it decided to launch a probe into retail and wholesale electricity markets in order to evaluate competition conditions after the privatization process of electricity grids in the country has been completed.

On a separate note, the authority said that it will hear verbal arguments ten paper recyclers, including the Bourse Istanbul-listed Kartonsan and Olmuksa.

Earlier this month, Turkish energy market regulatory EPDK approved the sales of state-owned electricity company Tedas’ 100% stakes in four grids, namely Bogazici Elektrik Dagitim A.S. (Bedas), Akdeniz, Gediz and Aras.

Cengiz-Kolin-Limak consortium placed the best bid of USD 1.9bn in the tender held on December 14, 2012 for the country’s largest grid Bedas which provides electricity to 4.2mn subscribers in Istanbul’s European district and also the best bid of USD 546mn in the tender held on November 12, 2012 for Akdeniz Elektrik Dagitim which has 1.5mn subscribers in the south-western Anatolia. Elsan-Tumas-Karacay consortium placed the best bid of USD 1.2bn on December 19, 2012 in the privatization tender held for Gediz grid, which provides electricity to the western cities of Izmir and Manisa, and currently has about 2.3mn subscribers, and organized retailer Kiler Alisveris placed the highest bid of USD 128.5mn on September 25, 2008 in the tender held for Aras grid.

Earlier this month, the competition board launched a probe into the country’s largest telecommunication operator Turk Telekom regarding charge cards. The authority will investigate whether Turk Telekom sold charge cards below costs.

In March, the competition authority fined 12 banks, namely Akbank, Denizbank, Finansbank, HSBC, ING Bank, TEB, Garanti, Halkbank, Is Bankasi, Vakiflar, Yapi Kredi and Ziraat, a total of TRY 1.1bn (EUR 461mn) in an investigation into alleged collusion in setting rates on loans and credit cards. Garanti Group (Garanti Bankasi, Garanti Odeme Sistemleri and Garanti Konut) was handed the largest fine with TRY 213.4mn. The general manager of Garanti Bankasi, Ergun Ozen said that the bank would appeal the authority’s fine. Another private lender Akbank was fined TRY 172mn, Yapi Kredi was fined TRY 150mn, Is Bankasi received a fine of TRY 147mn. This was a record amount of fine imposed on the Turkish banks. The Banks Association of Turkey (TBB) said the competition authority’s decision was unfair. The authority’s decision was from reflecting the truth and its decision created a lack of confidence in the banking industry, the TBB commented. The banks that received heavy fines in the probe are expected to appeal against the decision, the TBB said.

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