Interest grows ahead of October Turkish roads sell-off

The country’s investment support and promotion agency, ISPAT, adds Astaldi, Posco and Limak to the list of possible bidders for Turkey's oft-delayed $5bn to $6bn roads privatisation package –which includes Istanbul’s two suspension bridges.

Bidder interest is growing ahead of an October 31 final bid deadline for Turkey’s roads privatisation programme, comprising some 2,000 kilometres of roads and Istanbul’s two existing suspension bridges.

ISPAT, the country’s investment support and promotion agency, indicated that a mixture of international developers including Italy’s Astaldi, South Korea's Posco and Turkey’s Limak have shown interest in the roads privatisation package.

Turkey’s Koc Holding, Afken Holding, Malaysia’s UEM Group and Autostrade, a subsidiary of Italy’s Atlantia, were all planning bids for the project, according to stock exchange filings made in October and November last year.

Companies will be bidding for 25-year operating rights for the Bosporus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges, in Istanbul, and eight toll roads covering 2,000 kilometres of highways across the country. The privatisation is expected to raise $5 billion to $6 billion, according to ISPAT.

Pre-qualification documents for the project are expected by September 3, with the final bid deadline set for October 31.

The bid deadline has been delayed three times since the assets were first put on sale in August 2011. The privatisation programme was originally touted in mid-2008, but failed to gain traction due to a decline in available funding, caused by the emergence of the global financial crisis.

A build-operate-transfer contract for a third Istanbul bridge, worth $2.5 billion, was won by Italian developer Astaldi in May this year.