EBRD lends $150m to Istanbul ferry operator

The loan is ‘supporting the privatisation of the world’s largest municipal ferry operator’. Earlier this year, a consortium of three Turkish firms and one UK company paid $861m to acquire the ferry operator, known as IDO.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has lent $150 million to TASS, a consortium of three Turkish companies and one UK firm that acquired Istanbul’s municipal ferry operator, IDO, earlier this year.

TASS – comprising Turkish firms Tepe Insaat, Akfen Holding and Sera Group Investments, which hold a combined 90 percent of the consortium, as well as the UK’s Souter Investments (10 percent) – paid $861 million to acquire IDO. The latter operates 42 vessels and transports passengers and vehicles between 32 destinations in Istanbul and its surroundings.

The EBRD is lending $150 million to TASS, breaking down into a $100 million, long-term senior loan and a medium-term junior loan of $50 million. The privatisation of what the bank is calling “the world’s largest municipal ferry operator” is also being financed with $600 million in debt from a syndicate of Turkish banks, the EBRD said in a statement.

As part of the privatisation, TASS will introduce “new demand-driven ticket tariffs and envisages the creation of new routes and intermodal passenger transportation services,” the EBRD stated. The ferry privatisation, started in January, is part of a larger privatisation programme which should also see Istanbul gas distribution company IGDAS sold later this year.

The EBRD started operating in Turkey in 2009 and has invested nearly €1 billion in 30 projects with a combined value of €2 billion, the bank highlighted. All of the bank’s investments have helped develop the private sector in Turkey, the EBRD added.