GMR Airports agrees selling Istanbul airport and hires advisors for IPO

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GMR Airports agrees selling Istanbul airport and hires advisors for IPO

India's GMR Infrastructure has hired four financial advisors to study the public listing of its airport unit. According to sources, GMR has hired two international banks, Citigroup and JPMorgan; and two local banks Axis Capital, a unit of private Indian lender Axis Bank, and IDFC.

According to the same sources, an IPO could bring somewhere between US$300-$350 million for GMR.

GMR operates airports in New Delhi and Hyderabad through majority stakes and owns a 40 % stake in Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport in Turkey. The company won yesterday an international competition to build and operate a new terminal for Mactan-Cebu airport in the Philippine islands.

Sources reported that both group founders and private equity investors including Standard Chartered will sell some of their shares in the initial public offering of the airport unit. The deal was expected for the second half of next year.

Today, the local press reported GMR Infrastructure has entered into a definitive agreement with Turkey's TAV Airports Holdings to sell its 40% stake in Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen International Airport for €220 million but it needs the approval of its partners in the airport for the transaction to go through.

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.

GMR published today a brief release stating:

With reference to the newspaper report in Leading financial daily dated December 13, 2013 regarding Istanbul Airport JV, GMR Infrastructure Ltd has clarified to Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that the 'Right of First Refusal' (ROFR) process in respect of the sale of stake is in progress and hence the deal is not concluded.

Malaysia Airports Holdings owns 20% in the Istanbul Airport while Limak Holdings has 40% stake. Both hold rights of refusal over GMR's holding. According to local sources, Malaysia Airports could be exploring the option of buying GMR's stake. Limak has the second right of refusal, but is unlikely to exercise the right.

TAV operates Attaturk Airport - Istanbul's main airport - and the proposed deal would make it the single largest shareholder in Istanbul's second airport as well. TAV's concession for Attaturk Airport  expires in six years

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