Union against Turkey’s Petkim major stake sale

ISTANBUL (AP) – A labor union leader appealed to Turkey’s top administrative court yesterday to cancel the planned sale of a majority stake in Turkey’s petrochemical giant Petkim. Mustafa Oztaskin, head of Petrol-Is, which represents employees in the oil and gas sector, said the deal should be called off a day after Transcentralasia Petrochemical Holding, a Kazakh-Russian consortium, outbid other conglomerates and offered to pay $2.05 billion (-1.5 billion) for a 51 percent stake. «We believe there is no public good in this privatization,» Oztaskin said, noting Petkim has invested $350 million (-256 million) in equipment over the past three years and was profitable. He also questioned the financial stability of the buyers. The administrative court has previously suspended the privatization of some of Turkey’s most valuable assets, including some $7 billion (-5 billion) in sales of state-owned oil refiner Tupras and steel producer Erdemir. Both privatizations went ahead later with approval from privatization authorities and the judiciary. Petkim’s net sales in 2006 exceeded $1.5 billion (-1.09 billion) and its net profit was $41 million (-30 million), the company said on its website. The domestic market share of the company is 27 percent.

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