Turkey will announce this week a long-delayed tender for the sale of a third of Turkish Telekom, one of Ankara's pledges in return for a $10 billion IMF emergency aid, the prime minister's office said Monday.
"The terms of the tender for the sale of Turkish Telekom will be published in newspapers as of December 14," a statement from the office of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said.
Ankara is planning to first sell 33.5 percent of the company as a block to a strategic foreign partner and then offer 0.5 percent of the shares to the public.
Turkey turned to the IMF after suffering a severe liquidity crisis, which wreaked havoc on the money markets, leading to emergency injections of funds by the central bank, record interest rates and a slump on the stock exchange.
The announcement of the Telekom tender follows last week's approval by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer of a decree envisaging the privatization of the company, which is the country's dominant telecommunications operator.
The sell-off of Turkish Telekom, a significant condition in Turkey's existing three-year, four-billion dollar stand-by deal with the IMF, went awry after a previous tender offering a 20-percent stake failed to lure any bidders.
The government then increased the amount of shares to be privatized to 33.5 percent but the sale was further delayed over disagreements between the governing coalition parties on how much control the foreign purchaser would wield.
The prime minister's office recalled Monday that the prospective partner of Telekom would have the majority vote in a committee to be set up to decide on strategic issues such as personnel, investments, financial matters and the appointment of senior managers.
Ecevit announced the sale of Turkish Telekom Wednesday, as well as the planned privatization of Turkish Airlines and the electricity sector, along with an agreement for the International Monetary Fund to release $10-billion (€11 billion) in emergency funds.
The tender for the sale of 51 percent of Turkish Airlines will also be announced on Thursday and a draft law allowing privatizations in the electricity sector will be submitted to parliament on the same day, the statement said. — (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)