Consortium including Astaldi may sell stake in Turkey motorway

ISTANBUL, Jan 29 (Reuters) – A consortium building Turkey’s Gebze-Orhangazi-Izmir motorway has started seeking international advisers to value the project ahead of a possible stake sale, Otoyol Investment company said on Tuesday.

In a first stage, the consortium will determine the value of the project and potential buyers, the consortium, which includes Italian construction group Astaldi, said in a statement.

“It is a lengthy process to sell a stake in a project of this scale,” the consortium said, adding it would be up to the partners to decide whether to dispose of their share.

Shares in Astaldi, izmit escort which has a stake of just under 19 percent in the project, rose more than 12 percent on Tuesday on hopes that proceeds from selling its share could help the indebted Italian construction group.

Astaldi, hit by delays to plans to sell another bridge in Turkey, was granted court protection from creditors in October last year to allow it to continue business while restructuring its debt.

The Italian company said in its business plan last year it expected to raise around 370 million euros ($422.84 million) from selling its stake in the Turkish motorway in 2019.

It is due to present a new strategy plan to the court as part of creditor protection proceedings by Feb.14.

Construction on the Gebze-Orhangazi-Izmir motorway bridge started in 2010 and a first section was opened to traffic in 2016. The project is expected to be completed this year.

Total investment in the project was $7.3 billion, including $5 billion from debt, $1.5 billion from equity and $800 million from operational revenues, according to the consortium’s website.($1 = 0.8750 euros) (Reporting by Ceyda Caglayan in Istanbul, Stefano Bernabei in Rome and Stephen Jewkes in Milan, Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun and Agnieszka Flak. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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