Cukurova claims Turkcell win

21 Nov 2007

Turkey’s Cukurova group has won the latest round of a long-running legal battle with Russia’s Alfa group concerning the ownership of the country’s largest mobile operator, Turkcell. A court in the British Virgin Islands has ruled that Cukurova is the rightful owner of a disputed 13.8% stake in Turkcell which Cukurova used as collateral for debt when it secured a financing package with Alfa in 2005. Alfa claims it is entitled to take control of the 13.8% stake because Cukurova defaulted on USD1.35 billion outstanding from a USD1.7 billion loan taken as part of the 2005 package. Cukurova paid off USD357 million of the loan plus USD217 million interest, but claims that Alfa then prevented it from making an early repayment on the rest of loan. As part of that 2005 deal Alfa took a 13.22% interest in Turkcell. Turkcell’s other major shareholder, TeliaSonera of Sweden, has also become embroiled in a legal battle with Alfa and Cukurova, claiming that it should have been offered first refusal on the shares which changed hands in 2005.

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