2/19/2008

BAT among the final bidders for Turkey’s state-run tobacco company

Bloomberg - British American Tobacco Plc, the maker of Lucky Strike cigarettes, and Dogan Sirketler Grubu Holding AS, which controls Turkey's biggest media group, are among four bidders for state-run tobacco company Tekel, which is up for sale for a third time. Dogan bid with Citigroup Venture Capital International and a group of local tobacco wholesalers, the government's asset sales agency in Ankara said. The other bids came from Limak, a Turkish group with interests in construction, and Strand Investment, made up of private equity fund Cinven Ltd. and local investors, it said. Turkey expects up to $1.8 billion for Tekel, Referans newspaper said. The revived Tekel sale follows a record year for foreign direct investment in Turkey, which drew in $21.9 billion in 2007, helping finance a record current-account deficit of $38 billion. The sales agency sold $22 billion of government-owned assets between 2003 and 2007.