Gov’t may sell state firm bonds

Gov’t may sell state firm bonds

ANKARA - Turkey may sell bonds convertible into shares in state-owned companies such as the national airline Turkish Airlines as early as this year, two government officials said.

The securities would be backed by revenue from the companies and could be swapped for stock or Treasury bonds after three years, the officials said by telephone in Ankara yesterday.

They declined to be identified because Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek hasn’t approved the plan. Turkey is seeking new ways to raise money from state assets, as the global crisis cuts the flow of investment to emerging market economies and the government strives to finance a widening fiscal deficit. The treasury this year for the first time sold bonds compliant with Islamic financial rules, linked to revenue at state companies. The convertible bonds are likely to draw more interest from investors than share sales, the officials said. Portugal is planning a similar method to sell as much as 7 percent of Galp Energia SGPS, the country’s biggest oil company.

Companies that may be involved are Türk Telekom, Halkbank, Turkish Airlines, Doğusan Boru, and Petkim, the officials said. Bonds of Türk Telekom and Turkish Airlines may be sold this year, the officials said. The government owns 30 percent of the telephone company and 49 percent of the airline, while its stake in Halkbank is 75 percent.

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