Turkey Plans Massive Transfer of Assets to Sovereign Wealth Fund. The Turkish government transferred its holdings in the country’s biggest bank by assets and phone company to a new sovereign-wealth fund created to finance large infrastructure projects.
The treasury’s stake in TC Ziraat Bankasi AS, oil and gas producer TPAO, and a nearly 7 percent holding in phone operator Turk Telekomunikasyon AS are among assets that the fund will own, according to a decree in the Official Gazette on Sunday. The government will also move its 51.1 percent stake in Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS and 49.1 percent stake in Turkish Airlines after regulatory approvals, according to a regulatory filing on Monday. The fund, approved by parliament in August, will use proceeds from the sale of assets to finance large infrastructure projects such as airports, seaports, roads and railroads across the country, with Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci saying the fund’s eventual asset size could reach $200 billion. The government also moved its license in the national lottery and horse racing operations for 49 years to the fund last month.
The Treasury’s 73.6 percent stake in Borsa Istanbul AS, the owner of the country’s only stock exchange, holdings in miner Eti Maden, tea producer Cay Isletmeleri, and cable TV and satellite operator Turksat stakes have also been transferred to the fund, according to the decree. Also, a facility of 3 billion liras ($810 million) held by Turkey’s Defense Industry Support Fund will also be given to the wealth fund for a period of three months.
A senior presidential adviser, Yigit Bulut, Borsa Istanbul Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Himmet Karadag, academics Kerem Altin and Oral Erdogan were appointed to the board of the wealth fund, formally known as Turkiye Varlik Fonu Yonetim AS, according to the country’s trade registry. The government hired international banks in 2013 to sell a 6.7 percent stake in Turk Telekom from its total ownership of 31.7 percent through a secondary public offering, but the plan didn’t go through. The phone operator is 55 percent owned by Dubai-based Oger Telecom Ltd.