TODAY’S – Istanbul’s $2.3-bln gas firm to go private

Istanbul’s $2.3-bln gas firm to go private Turkeyand#39s largest natural gas distributor, Istanbul Gas Distribution Inc.

(IGDAI), which has a $2.3 billion market value, will be opened to the private sector in a tender next month, the city of Istanbul announced on Tuesday.

IGDAI is the last remaining gas company run by the state in Turkey. The firmand#39s annual revenue was $2.

5 billion in 2013.Istanbul mayor Kadir TopbaI told reporters on Tuesday that the city has planned a tender for November to offer IGDAI to private operators.

TopbaI said the city expects to use the revenue from the IGDAI privatization for some lingering development projects in Istanbul.Istanbul first planned to privatize the lucrative distributor back in 2009 however, it failed to find a suitor for the firm and has made two separate attempts since.

IGDAI sells a total of 5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year to 552 million customers in Istanbul. A total of 2,146 people are employed at IGDAI, which works with a natural gas pipeline network of 16,000 kilometers.

Turkey started privatizing state-run natural gas distribution companies in 2003. The natural gas wholesale market has been rapidly transformed over time, with the monopoly of the state-owned Turkish Pipeline Corporation (BOTAI) in the import and sale of natural gas having been minimized.

A government auction of Ankaraand#39s troubled state gas provider BaIkentgaz in January last year netted a winning $1.16 billion bid from Torunlar Holding, known for its close ties with government.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman