Court rejects Alfa case against Cukurova; Russian firm says it will appeal

24 May 2010

Turkish conglomerate Cukurova Holding, a shareholder in the country’s largest mobile operator Turkcell, said on Friday that a court in the British Virgin Islands has rejected fellow investor Alfa Group’s demands to seize Cukorova’s shares on the grounds that it defaulted on a loan agreement, reports Dow Jones Newswires. Russian-based Alfa bought 13.2% of Turkcell from Cukurova in November 2005 and lent the Turkish group USD1.71 billion secured against a further 13.8% stake in the operator. Alfa claimed that Cukurova repaid USD357 million in November 2006 but failed to pay subsequent instalments on time, and demanded Cukurova repay its USD1.35 billion debt in the form of Turkcell shares. However, the court ruled that payments were not overdue, whilst Alfa had itself violated the terms of the loan agreement. It added that the Turkcell shares held as collateral would be returned to Cukurova once it repaid its debt to Alfa. The Russian firm said it would appeal the decision.

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