Partners in İzmir toll road consider selling stakes in project

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 30.01.2019 01:04

Italian contractor Astaldi and its Turkish partners are planning to sell stakes in the Istanbul-Izmir toll road, a part of which is Osmangazi Bridge, the world's fourth longest suspension bridge constructed with a cost of $1.2 billion and started operating in August 2016.

According to a Bloomberg report, Kerim Kemahlı, the Chief Financial Officer of Nurol Holding, which has a 27 percent stake in the consortium building the highway, said the joint venture Otoyol A.Ş. asked international banks to bid for the right to advise them on the future of the road. Later yesterday, Yavuz Batum, Otoyol's chief executive officer, confirmed that the joint venture started the process to select an adviser to assess the value of the asset and potential buyers. Batum recalled that the construction of the Gebze-İzmir toll highway will be complete this year.

"In build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects, it is possible to sell a stake to investor companies upon the completion of the projects to strengthen the partnership structure," Batum said. Other Turkish partners Mak-Yol İnşaat and Özaltın İnşaat each have 27 percent stakes in the JV, while Göcay İnşaat has less than 1 percent. The Italian partner Astaldi holds 18 percent stake in the project.

Members of the Otoyol A.Ş. won the right to operate the 400-kilometer (250-mile) road and a suspension bridge for 22 years and four months in 2009. The joint venture could sell a stake in the company, therefore transferring the operational rights to the new investor. They borrowed almost $5 billion in 2015, with a total of nine lenders including Deutsche Bank AG, Akbank, and Türkiy e İş Bankası each chipping in around $550 million to finance the project.

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