Controversy over Turkey's Turkcell ownership persists

Uncertainty still persists over what steps Turkey's Çukurova Holding will take after TeliaSonera voiced a determination to take over control of the company from Çukurova.

Controversy over Turkey's Turkcell ownership persists

World Bulletin / News Desk

Uncertainty still persists over what steps Turkey's Çukurova Holding will take after TeliaSonera, its Scandinavian partner in Turkcell İletişim Hizmetleri A.Ş. -- Turkey's largest mobile phone operator -- voiced a determination to take over control of the company from Çukurova.

The Turkish conglomerate did not release any statements concerning its dispute with TeliaSonera, which is particularly heated after the Swedish-Finnish partnership's CEO Lars Nyberg said Çukurova's control over Turkcell is in violation of what the other two partners of the company -- Russian Altimo and TeliaSonera -- are entitled to, according to their share in Turkcell's ownership. An official from the Turkish group told cihan news agency over the phone that they will not comment on the matter either.

TeliaSonera has an effective 37.1 percent stake as the main shareholder in Turkcell İletişim Hizmetleri A.Ş., but it cannot control the company because a special purpose company, Turkcell Holding A.Ş., holds 51 percent of Turkcell İletişim. A total of 53 percent of Turkcell Holding is owned by a Çukurova-Altimo partnership and 47 percent by TeliaSonera. Çukurova and Altimo each effectively hold about 13 percent in Turkcell İletişim.

In an address to Turkish reporters in Stockholm last weekend, Nyberg said, "My goal is to take control of Turkcell at the moment, and I believe I have an ethical and legal right to do so."

Presently, Turkcell İletişim's board has seven members and all three partners are represented by two members on the board of directors. Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, founder of Turkcell İletişim and chairman of Çukurova, stepped down in February last year as Turkcell İletişim's board chairman after almost 17 years and was replaced by Colin Williams, who has served as an independent board member since May 2006. TeliaSonera insists there should be more independent members on the board. Earlier, the Capital Markets Board (SPK) also urged Turkcell İletişim to have two more independent members on the board.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government seems to have sided with preserving the present member distribution on the board of directors of the country's largest mobile phone operator. In October last year, the company's non-Turkish partners were disappointed as a related decision could not be made because commissioners from Industry and Trade Ministry did not participate in a congress.

 

Last Mod: 14 Şubat 2011, 17:35
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