Sunday, October 24, 2010

Austrian OMV pays €1 billion for control of largest Turkish gas retailer Petrol Ofisi

The Austrian state-owned oil and gas group OMV has acquired a majority share of Petrol Ofisi, largest  gas retailer in Turkey from Dogan Holding.

Both companies have been in fierece negotiations for months and OMV said late on Friday that it would pay €1 billion in order to raise its stake in the Turkish company from %42 to %96, thereby helping it establish a strategic bridgehead to the resource-rich Caspian Region and the Middle East. OMV first invested in Petrol Ofisi in 2006 when it paid $1 billion to acquire a %34 share from Dogan.

The owner Aydin Dogan, is under intense pressure as he fights tax fines totalling $3.4 billion levied on the group’s media arm. The agreement came right after a court last week ordered it to pay $628 Million in taxes and fines, raising the running total in tax court rulings against the group to TL1.6 billion.
Turkey’s fast-growing energy sector is attracting investment from both local and foreign groups, as the government sells off distribution grids and generation. Turkey is also the starting point for the OMV-backed Nabucco gas pipeline, which could one day transport gas from the Caspian to the European Union.
Petrol Ofisi, has a %27 share of the Turkish fuels market and a network of 2,500 filling stations. However, its network is older and less efficient compared to its competitors and has been loosing siginificant market share since Dogan Holding has taken it over.
The Dogan Group is one of Turkey’s longest established family conglomerates, owning around half Turkey’s print and broadcast media as well as energy and industrial assets.
The divestment of Petrol Ofisi comes shortly after Dogan Yayin confirmed it had received non-binding bids for some of its media assets, raising the prospect that the group could soon liquidate many of its most significant businesses.
OMV said it did not exclude the possibility of raising equity as a way to fund the new transaction, which must still be approved by regulators and anti-trust authorities.
OMV and Dogan said they would distribute a total of $488 Million in dividends to shareholders before closing the deal.
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