Turkey to sell oil firms

ANKARA – Turkey’s privatization chief said on Tuesday his office was preparing to sell further stakes in fuel retailer Petrol Ofisi and oil refiner Tupras, key parts of a recovery pact with the IMF. Turkey has pledged an aggressive privatization program in return for $15.7 billion in International Monetary Fund and World Bank loans to overcome months of economic crisis. We have come to the final stages, especially with the Petrol Ofisi, Privatization Administration head Ugur Bayar said. Bayar said the administration would launch an international road show at the end of September and an advertising campaign with Young & Rubicam to promote interest in a public offering in the retailer. The administration in July applied to sell 15 percent of Petrol Ofisi in a public offering. On Tuesday Bayar said his administration would consider raising or lowering that stake based on market conditions. Just under 7 percent of Petrol Ofisi is traded on the Istanbul stock exchange, with 42.3 percent held by the privatization administration. Large commercial bank Is Bankasi and media group Dogan Holding last year jointly paid $1.26 billion for a 51-percent stake in the company. The administration planned to cut the stake in Tupras to less than 51 percent and it planned a public offering for at least 17 percent of the refiner, Bayar told reporters after meeting with IMF Turkey desk chief Juha Kahkonen. The administration presently holds 65.76 percent of Tupras. Hopefully, the state’s share in Tupras will fall below 51 percent, making it our biggest project, he said. Tupras would also consider issuing bonds that would be convertible into equity in the company, he said. The Privatization Administration would apply to the Treasury for cash for severance packages for retirement-age civil servants working in firms it controls, Bayar said.

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