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Turkish gov’t approves Türk Telekom majority share transfer to creditor banks

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The Turkish Treasury and Finance Ministry has given the final approval for the transfer of a majority stake in Türk Telekom to a joint venture of creditor banks, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

The Transport and Infrastructure Ministry notified Ojer Telekomünikasyon A.Ş., part of the now defunct Saudi Oger, a private company that was wholly owned by Lebanon’s Rafik Hariri family.

“The takeover of Ojer Telekomünikasyon A.Ş.’s [OTAŞ] 55 percent shares in our company, Türk Telekomünikasyon A.Ş. [Türk Telekom] by a special purpose vehicle [SPV] in which the creditor banks of OTAŞ would be shareholders has been approved by the Treasury and Finance Ministry,” the company said in its statement to the Public Disclosure Platform on Aug. 29.

The Information Technologies and Communications Authority had approved the share transfer on Aug. 17.

OTAŞ failed to keep up with repayments on a $4.75 billion loan it took out to acquire the 55 percent stake in Türk Telekom in 2013.

After two years of negotiations regarding failed repayments, the creditor banks, Akbank, Garanti and İşbank, applied to the Competition Board to take over the shares in July.

The banks will take over shares in proportion to the loans they extended, according to the agreement facilitated by the Turkish government and several law and consulting firms. Akbank had granted a loan of nearly $1.5 billion, Garanti $1 billion and İşbank $500 million, alongside funding from 26 other finance houses, which took the total to $4.75 billion.

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