Leading Turk media group reaps hefty benefits of economic boom

ISTANBUL – Turkey’s leading media group, Dogan Yayin Holding, expects revenues to surge 40 percent to 2.2 billion lira ($1.7 billion) in 2006 after the integration of Star TV, a company executive said yesterday. The jump is also driven by organic growth in a sector benefiting from booming advertising revenues and consumer appetite after 10 percent growth in Turkey’s economy last year. Chief Financial Officer Soner Gedik told Reuters the group was considering an initial public offering of about 20 percent of its television and radio business, Dogan TV. «We may hold a public offering for Dogan TV from 2008 at the earliest. Any initial offering would be around 20 percent,» he said in an interview. Another less favored option which Dogan was considering was partnership with a foreign company. It had previously considered a public offering of its Kanal D channel, but revised its plans. It abandoned the sale of 20 percent of Dogan TV to Deutsche Bank last June after authorities said it contravened broadcasting laws. «Our goal now is to focus on Dogan TV, which groups our television and radio stations under one roof,» he said. Before any IPO, it aims to increase the EBITDA margin of its TV operations toward international levels of 35-40 percent from Turkish levels of 11-15 percent. Dogan targets a margin of some 20 percent this year and 30 percent by 2010. Dogan Yayin bought broadcaster Star TV for $306.5 million in an auction in September and completed the transaction late last year. The company’s 2005 revenues were some 1.6 billion lira. Star TV had been held in receivership since authorities seized assets belonging to the Uzan family last year after the collapse of their Imar Bank. Advertising boom Sector growth is being fueled by advertising as the launch of a mortgage system benefits the real estate, white goods and furniture sectors. New entrants in banking and telecom sectors will drive expansion too in this country of 72 million people. Gedik said he anticipated 25 percent growth in advertising revenues this year, excluding Star TV. This figure will rise to 40 percent with the inclusion of Star. In 2005, the sector’s advertising revenues totaled $1.7 billion. The company’s shares of Turkey’s advertising market was set to rise to some 43 percent this year, from 38 percent a year earlier, as a result of Star’s integration, he said. Advertising accounts for some 55 percent of group income. Dogan Yayin is a dominant force in Turkish broadcasting with its flagship channels Kanal D and CNN Turk. It also publishes leading daily newspapers such as Hurriyet and Milliyet and has a 20 percent share of the market for best-selling books. The group also has a partnership with Germany’s Burda and Italy’s Rizzoli; Dogan Burda Rizzoli distributes international lifestyle and current affairs magazines which have proliferated on newsagent shelves in recent years. Dogan Yayin shares were up 2.5 percent at 6.10 lira yesterday afternoon. Some 30 percent of Dogan Yayin is openly traded in Istanbul, of which 90 percent is held by foreign investors. The only company on the bourse with a higher proportion of foreign shareholders is the group’s Hurriyet unit Dogan Yayin Holding is part of Dogan Holding, whose interests also include tourism, telecoms and energy.

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