ECONOMY

Goldas-SocGen metal feud

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Shares of leading Turkish jeweler Goldas tumbled 10 percent yesterday, hit by a legal wrangle with French bank Societe Generale over a disputed consignment of gold. According to newspaper reports, Goldas officials gave a statement to Turkish prosecutors on the matter on Thursday after Societe Generale petitioned prosecutors about the fate of several tons of gold it had asked Goldas to sell. Societe Generale said in a statement yesterday that it had launched legal proceedings to enforce obligations to the bank, but did not elaborate. The Istanbul Stock Exchange suspended Goldas shares yesterday morning, and trade resumed after the company made an official statement that allegations made against it were baseless. It was not clear what the allegations were. The Goldas statement said the disputed gold consignment amounted to 3.25 tons with a value of $94 million. Earlier media reports said the volume of gold was 15 tons. The company said it had been involved in a commercial relationship with Societe Generale for five years. Goldas also criticized media reports on the dispute, saying they also included «groundless allegations» about the company. «We will exercise our legal rights in this matter, whether domestically or internationally. Our preparations for this are continuing speedily. Currently the judiciary is conducting an investigation,» Goldas Chief Executive Officer Sedat Yalinkaya said in an earlier statement faxed to Reuters. «We have presented to the legal authorities all forms of information and documentation of our own volition, without receiving a legal demand,» he said. Goldas, which manufactures gold and silver jewelry, said it accounts for 60 percent of Turkey’s gold imports. It exports to more than 45 countries, and its Istanbul plant has annual production capacity of 13 million units. Its turnover rose 37 percent in 2006 to 3.2 billion lira ($2.6 billion).