By Can Sezer
ISTANBUL, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Turk Telekom shares previously held by Ojer Telekom (OTAS) have been moved to a special purpose vehicle, three Turkish banks said on Saturday, setting the company up for new owners after the majority shareholder missed several payments.
OTAS, a unit of the Dubai-based Oger Telecom, had taken out a $4.75 billion loan in 2013 to acquire a 55 percent stake in Turk Telekom. However, it failed to keep up payments on what at the time was Turkey’s largest corporate loan.
The creditor banks said in July that they had decided to set up the SPV as part of the debt restructuring talks after an extended period of negotiations.
The main goal in the process is to transfer the Turk Telekom shares to a “competent” investor, Is Bank, Garanti Bank and Akbank said in a joint statement.
“The uncertainties in the shareholding structure of the company will be eliminated which will ensure that the necessary steps are taken in a timely manner,” the banks said.
In a separate statement, Turk Telekom said four board members representing OTAS had resigned and three people nominated by the SPV and representing the three banks joined the board.
Reuters reported in July that creditor banks would extend a loan of up to $4 billion to the SPV and that the majority stake would be used as collateral for the loan.
Many Turkish companies are currently facing the formidable task of repaying foreign currency loans while raising revenues in lira, which lost 30 percent of its value against the dollar this year.
The currency was hit by a sharp sell-off sparked by worries about President Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and deteriorating ties between Ankara and Washington. (Reporting by Can Sezer Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)