ECONOMY

Koc-led consortium pays $4.14 billion for controlling stake in Turkish refiner

ANKARA (Reuters) – A consortium led by Turkish conglomerate Koc Holding and including Royal Dutch Shell made the highest bid of $4.14 billion yesterday in an auction for a 51 percent stake in Turkish oil refiner Tupras. The bid was well above market expectations and amounted to 81 percent more than the market value based on Friday’s closing price of 24.0 new lira. Tupras is the only domestic refiner, with annual capacity of 27.6 million tons. It was the second-largest Turkish sell-off after the $6.55 billion sale of a 55 percent stake in landline company Turk Telekom this summer and gave a fresh boost to the country’s privatization program. Koc Holding has an 80 percent stake in the joint venture, Shell has a 10 percent stake, Turkish Aygaz has 7 percent and Opet Petrolculuk 3 percent. The head of the energy division at Koc Group, Erol Memisoglu, said the venture would discuss with the Privatization Administration the form of payment for the stake. A previous $1.3 billion attempt to sell the refiner failed last year due to a legal challenge by labor unions. After the completion of yesterday’s tender, labor union Petrol-Is said it would launch legal action today to halt the new sale process.