Turkish discount retailer Sok plans 2018 IPO, say sources: Reuters

Turkish discount retailer Sok is planning an initial public offering in 2018, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, the latest sign that Turkey’s once-moribund IPO market may be coming back to life.

Sok, which has more than 4,700 stores and 21,000 employees, is one of Turkey’s biggest discount retailers, selling groceries, fresh produce and household items.

It is 39 percent owned by Gozde Girisim, the investment arm of food giant Yildiz Holding, and half owned by a Netherlands-based investor consortium. A private equity fund run by Templeton Asset Management also holds 10 percent.

“If the markets are in a good condition, the Sok public offering is planned for 2018, and the work has begun,” said one of the sources, declining to be identified because the information is not yet public.

Other substantial public offerings are also expected in the future, the source said.

An official for Yildiz declined to comment on the timing of the listing. “While a public offering is one of Sok’s future targets, a specific date has not yet been set,” the official said.

Yildiz also declined to comment on Sok’s financial performance, although analysts estimate that Sok achieved sales of 6 billion lira ($1.71 billion) in 2016 and is expected to reach 8 billion lira this year.

It was not immediately clear how much of the company would be up for sale – or how large the listing would be. Gozde and its partners acquired Sok for $342 million in 2011 from rival retailer Migros.

Turkey’s IPO market stalled after last year’s failed coup, hit by concerns about security and the weakening lira currency.

However, there are signs it may be recovering. Jeans retailer Mavi Giyim raised $334 million in June, one of the highest profile listings in recent memory.

Turkven, one of Turkey’s leading venture capital firms, said last week it was planning an IPO or block sale of its majority stake in the Medical Park hospital group.