6/17/2008

All eyes on privatization of Izgaz

Financial Times - Gas consumption in Turkey has risen fourfold in the past 10 years, yet the country's distribution infrastructure remains in domestic hands. Now, as part of an ambitious government privatizations plan, foreign interest in the sector is about to be tested with the imminent sale of Izgaz, the municipally-owned gas company in Izmit, an important industrial hub 100km east of Istanbul. With Turkey's gas market being liberalized, Izmit offers a sizeable market for any international operator with gas to sell. The city's consumption, at 1.5bn cubic meters a year, is expected to almost double in the next six years. "Izmit is Turkey's industrial heart," says Kemal Altunel, head of investment strategy at Izmit municipality, who has overseen the growth of Izgaz for the past five years. "We are home to many international companies, and we expect many more to join them, maybe even as the owner of Izgaz."