Wednesday 24 January 2018

Dispute over Turkcell shares rumbles on

Turkey's Cukurova Group has been given an extension to pay the $1.56bn (€1.17bn) needed to recover a controlling stake in Turkey's biggest mobile phone operator Turkcell, the British Privy Council ruled today.

The ruling relates to a dispute over a 13.8pc share in Turkcell, which had been held by Cukurova and which is a controlling stake due to the company's ownership structure.

Russia's Altimo, the telecoms investment arm of oligarch Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group, appropriated the stake when Cukurova defaulted on a $1.35bn loan.

Britain's Privy Council ruled this month that Cukurova, owned by one of Turkey's richest men, Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, must pay $1.56bn - a sum which includes interest payments - to Altimo within 60 days if it wants to recover the stake.

But earlier today, the court said that appeals in a separate case being heard by the US Court of Appeals in New York, which could prevent Cukurova from putting up the Turkcell stake as collateral in any new loan, must first be resolved.

Its ruling said the "overriding aim" of the court action in New York was to prevent Cukurova from redeeming the stake.

"It is impossible to say that there would be no real prospect of redemption if (Cukurova) were not being thwarted by the New York Court orders from raising the necessary funds to redeem the shares," the Privy Council ruling said.

The extension was left open-ended to allow for the resolution of the US case, and the payment of interest to Altimo was suspended from today, the Privy Council said in an emailed statement.


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