Turkish infrastructure company Akfen Holding has transferred its 40 percent stake in Mersin International Port to IFM Investors, an Australian infrastructure fund management company.
Having previously transferred a 33 percent stake in Akfen Renewable Energy to The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), and an 8.1 percent stake in TAV Airports Holding to France-based airport operations company Aéroports de Paris earlier this year, Akfen has managed to attract yet another foreign investor to Turkey. It recently signed a share transfer agreement with IFM Investors, enabling it to takeover 40 percent of Akfen's 50 percent stake in the port worth $869 million.
Akfen Holding Chairman Hamdi Akın said that they will use the sales revenue in investment projects worth TL 6.9 billion ($1.96 billion).
The company earlier announced an investment package that would be completed in two years, starting off at the beginning of 2017. The two most important projects in the package, which has created more than 1380 jobs so far, were city hospitals in Isparta, Eskişehir, and Tekirdağ for TL 3.9 billion and renewable energy projects worth TL 2.3 billion.
"By making foreign investment partners and through the sale of block shares we are trying to bring in fresh foreign exchange into the country," Akın said.
"These kinds of stocks should be considered as the most valuable export items. This was an important indicator of the confidence placed on the Turkish economy," he added.
According to the terms of the agreement, Akfen Holding will transfer its shares to Global InfraCo SP NEUM SLU, owned by Australian IFM Investors, which in turn is owned, advised and managed by IFM Global Infrastructure Fund. Akın, however, will hold his position as the chairman of Mersin International Port with his 10 percent stake.
$1.2 billion investment in Mersin Port over 10 years
Akfen Holding Chairman Akın stressed that Mersin International Port has become one of the most important ports in the region as a result of investments over $1.2 billion.
Akın said that Akfen and its Singapore-based partner PSA International kicked off the investments process swiftly following the privatization of the port and was awarded the privilege of operating it for 36 years by the Privatization Administration for around $755 million in 2007. An additional $453.5 million was invested in the Mediterranean port to increase its capacity by eight times, taking the total expenditure to $1.2 billion.
He pointed out that the port currently handles 1,600,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) that grew four times in the last decade and has an existing free capacity.
"The port has the capacity to accommodate international megalithic vessels, and that conventional cargo handling doubled from 4.1 million tons to 8 million tons.
"Ro-ro service (roll on/ roll off), which had not been done before, started with us and reached about the level of 74,000. We have made Mersin a major port not only in Turkey but also in the region," Akın added.