Turkey to re-launch bid to privatize roads, bridges

A previous tender to privatize Istanbul bridges and some highways was canceled in February 2013 after President Erdoğan said it had not met price expectations. DAILY NEWS Photo

Turkey is to revive plans to privatize two bridges across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, along with a number of motorways, and aims to start the process by the first quarter of 2015, banking and government sources said on Nov. 3.

A consortium of Turkey’s Koç Holding, Malaysia’s UEM Group Berhad and Gözde Private Equity won a first tender for the privatization of roads and bridges with the highest bid of $5.72 billion in December 2012. But the tender was cancelled in February 2013 after then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said it had not met price expectations.

The Turkish privatization administration (OIB) has sent letters of invitation to potential advisers and is
expected to make a decision by the end of this month, the sources said.

“The method of privatization will be determined with the adviser,” one of the banking sources told Reuters.

“After the cancelation of the first tender, an initial public offering was the leading option, but a transfer of operating rights or regrouping and selling of roads and bridges depending on their revenue are also among the options.”

The roads and bridges, including the Edirne-Istanbul-Ankara motorway and the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges linking Europe and Asia, were to be privatized in a single package for a period of 25 years in the first tender.

“A decision is expected from the high council of the privatization administration. After that, the privatization is expected in the first quarter (of 2015),” a second source said.

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