Turkey to Hold Long-Delayed Tekel Privatization Auction on Friday

Turkey to Hold Long-Delayed Tekel Privatization Auction on Friday

Four groups submitted bids for Tekel Sigara. Those are British American Tobacco (BAT) Turkish Limak Insaat with PI Turkey; a consortium of Dogan Holding-Citi Venture Capital International (CVCI) and Turkish cigarette wholesaler TUTSAB; and Strand Investment, a consortium made of private equity firm Cinven and a group of Turkish businessmen, the Hurriyet reported.

Earlier attempts to sell Tekel failed because tenders attracted bids deemed to be unsatisfactory, or no bids at all. The most recent plan to sell Tekel was postponed in April when officials said they aimed to boost market share before selling the firm.

Tekel, a former monopoly with annual sales of around $8 billion, has a domestic market share of about 40 percent, which is well below the 60 percent it enjoyed when Ankara first said it planned to privatize in 2001. Turkey is the world's eighth-biggest cigarette market, with Turks smoking 103 billion cigarettes a year. Broker JP Morgan has valued Tekel at $1.0 billion to $1.6 billion.

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