Turkey’s largest mobile operatorTurkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS has approached several investment banks for an advisory role on a possible sale of shares at its internet service provider, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Turkcell started contacting local and international banks to gauge their interest in managing the initial public offering ofSuperonlineIletisim Hizmetleri AS, the people said, asking not to be identified as the process is private. Turkcell could delay the IPO if investor demand is deemed insufficient, three people said.
Turkcell declined to comment. The stock reversed its losses in the wake of the news, rising to 1.2% in Istanbul after its decline hit 2.8% earlier today.
If this were to go ahead, Superonline would become the first listed subsidiary of Turkcell, which is already a state-owned company. This would set another precedent by offering shares in the first local company whose sole activity is providing internet services.
The Turkish sovereign wealth fund holds a 26.2% stake in Turkcell. IMTIS Holding, a unit wholly owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’sLetterOne Investment Holdings SA, controls 19.8% and the remainder is traded in Borsa Istanbul.
The response from banks and investors will give a quick glimpse of what might be in store for Turkey’s IPO hopes weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s overhaul of the country’s main economic institutions resulted in the ouster of central bank governor Naci Agbal.
Three Turkish companies have completed their IPOs since the installation of his successor Sahap Kavcioglu, and all have relied heavily on demand from local investors. Foreigners sold a total of $ 1.9 billion in bonds and stocks in the week following Agbal’s dismissal on March 20.
The stronger appetite of buyers of local stocks has helped propel the benchmark Borsa Istanbul’s gain of more than 50% over the past year, encouraging more Turkish companies to go public.
Turkcell CEO Murat Erkan said inFebruary that the management and shareholders of the company discussed the possibility of selling stakes in several units including Superonline, tour operatorGlobal Tower and the payment services company Paycell through bulk sales or IPOs.
Last year, Superonline recorded double-digit growth in revenues and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Its revenue reached 5.54 billion lira ($ 680 million) in 2020, with EBITDA increasing 20% from a year ago to 2.9 billion lira, according to investor presentation from Turkcell on its website.
(Updates with Turkcell actions in the third paragraph.)
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