Turkish Airport Operator Selling Ground Handling Stake

Turkish airport operator TAV is planning to sell a 30% stake in Havas its ground-handling subsidiary to help it pay off debts which fall in 2009.

A strategic partner will be sought to buy the stake in Havas in a deal expected to value the subsidiary at between €275m to €350m, reports the Financial Times.

TAV is due to pay back €144m of debts this year and believes that by selling off a chunk of Havas it will be able to easily settle this bill. The stake-sale will proceed the flotation of Havas, scheduled for 2010.

Debt laden TAV has seen its market capitalisation dive to US$550m from US$2.2bn over the past year. Its total net debt weighs in at €758m.

TAV may also look for a strategic partner to team up with on its airport project in Tunisia one banker said.

TAV runs six airports in its native Turkey as well as in Tunisia, Georgia and Macedonia. It owns the rights to five more and is also bidding to work on new projects in Latvia, Kazakhstan and Abu Dhabi. The company was founded in 1997 and is partially owned by Akfen, a Turkish conglomerate with interests in energy, real estate and infrastructure.

Source: Thomson Merger News