Russia’s Alfa Telecom is considering plans to purchase up to 27% of Turkey’s leading GSM mobile operator Turkcell, according to reports in newspaper Zaman Daily. The paper quoted Alfa chairman Alexei Reznikovitch as saying that the group would acquire 13.2% in the first stage, although the total amount it would receive would be in the region of 27%. The Alfa Group has apparently reached agreement with Cukurova Group, which owns 40.28% of Turkcell, regarding a possible financial package; Cukurova currently faces serious financial difficulties due to its debts to Yapi Kredi Bank and the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund.
In March 2005 TeliaSonera agreed to buy a 27% stake in Turkcell from Cukurova for USD3.1 billion, raising its stake to 64.3% and lowering Cukurova’s to 13.5%. The deal was scheduled to close on 23 May 2005, but Cukurova failed to sign the necessary documentation, leaving TeliaSonera with no option but to threaten legal action to protect its rights, accusing Cukurova of acting in bad faith. It was later revealed that Cukurova had agreed a separate ‘financing’ agreement with Russia’s Alfa Group worth USD3.3 billion. Under the terms of the later agreement, Alfa agreed to provide a six-year USD1.71 billion loan to Cukurova and buy USD1.53 billion of convertible shares, which when paid up would be equivalent to 13.2% of Turkcell.