Malaysia Airports eyes stake in Istanbul airport

PHOTO: Malaysia Airports eyes stake in Istanbul airport

ISTANBUL - Malaysia Airports Holdings and TAV Havalimanlari are in separate talks with India's GMR Infrastructure to buy its 40 per cent in Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport, sources said on Tuesday.

Sabiha Gokcen is one of Istanbul's two airports, located on the Asian side of the city, and handled 15.7 million passengers in the first ten months of 2013.

Malaysia Airports, which already holds 20 per cent in the airport, Turkish firm Limak, which owns 40 per cent, and GMR Infrastructure acquired the operating rights to the airport for 20 years for 1.93 billion euros ($3.26 billion) in 2007.

TAV, GMR and Limak declined to comment, while officials from Malaysia Airports could not immediately be reached.

One source close to the process said GMR had been reviewing its stake in Sabiha Gokcen for some time.

"Instead of a third party joining, Limak and Malaysian Airports may buy GMR's stake. There is nothing certain on the price of the deal, but it could be some 6-7 times the EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), which would be satisfying for GMR Infrastructure."

Another source said TAV was in talks with GMR as a potential buyer.

Shares in TAV, majority owned by France's Aeroports de Paris , were up 3.3 per cent at 15.45 lira by 1308 GMT, from a loss of 1 per cent before the report.

"The news that TAV is in talks to buy GMR stake in Sabiha Gokcen was perceived positively. But the price of the deal will be important as well," said Burak Isyar, aviation sector analyst at Burgan Invest.