Koc group claims interest in partnerships for Tupras

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish conglomerate Koc Holding has received partnership offers since its consortium made the highest bid in an auction for a 51 percent stake in oil refiner Tupras, it said yesterday. Koc has an 80 percent stake in a consortium including Royal Dutch Shell, which bid $4.14 billion for the majority Tupras stake on Monday, an 80 percent premium to its market value at that time. At a news conference of the automotive-to-finance group, Koc Chairman Mustafa Koc defended the size of the bid, which would make it the country’s second-largest privatization after the sale earlier this year of Turk Telekom. «I don’t share the view that the price given for Tupras exceeded its value,» he said. «We are receiving partnership offers from various parties in the wake of the Tupras tender.» He declined to say who had made the offers. Uncertainty remains over how the buyers – in particular Koc – would finance the deal, and labor union Petrol-Is has launched a court challenge to the sale. The auction results must still be approved by state authorities. «There is rapid work on financing after Tupras and it will be unveiled in the near future,» Koc Holding Chief Executive Officer Bulend Ozaydinli told the same news conference. The financing package could envisage a role for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, he said. Koc’s energy group chairman Erol Memioglu told Reuters after the news conference that the company formed to buy Tupras would have to maintain the 51 percent stake for a three-year «lock-in» period once the sale is completed. Shell has a 10 percent stake in Koc’s bidding consortium, gas company Aygaz has 7 percent and fuel retailer Opet 3 percent.