New Istanbul Airport operators shelve plans to sell stake - Bloomberg

Owners of a concession to operate Istanbul’s new $11 billion airport have shelved a plan to sell a stake in the project, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The four construction companies have also ended a mandate with Lazard Ltd. to provide a valuation of the airport and manage discussions with possible buyers, it quoted sources, who chose to remain anonymous as the process is confidential, as saying.

A consortium of construction firms with close links to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – Cengiz, Limak, Kalyon, Kolin and Mapa – won the tender for the Istanbul Airport with a bid of more than 22 billion euros ($25 billion) on May 3, 2013, setting up a joint company called Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) for the project.

Kalyon İnşaat now owns 35 percent and Cengiz İnşaat 25 percent. Kolin İnşaat sold its 20 percent stake earlier this year while Limak and Mapa hold a 20 percent stake each.

The first instalment of debt repayments for the airport will be around 600 million euros and is due in October.

One source told Bloomberg that it was too early to sell a stake in the consortium, IGA Havalimanı Isletmeleri AS, as the airport only became operational in April.

IGA has declined to comment, and Lazard did not respond to an email from Bloomberg seeking comment.

The concession owners’ change in strategy arrives amid earlier skepticism that the partners could attract buyers because of the cost of the 25-year lease, which is expected to total 22.1 billion euros ($24.1 billion), it said.

IGA maintains Turkey’s biggest corporate debt load borrowing about 5.7 billion euros for the project.

When the entire İstanbul Airport is completed in 2025, it will be able to handle 200 million passengers a year, making it the world's biggest airport by passenger traffic.