TODAY’S – Pro-gov’t firm set to buy confiscated vehicle maker

Pro-gov’t firm set to buy confiscated vehicle makerES Mali YatIrIm, owned by Ethem Sancak, who is known for his close relations with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), is expected to buy BMC, one of the largest truck and bus manufacturers in Turkey, with the firm offering the sole bid of TL 725 million in the first round of the tender on Wednesday.The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) announced in early February that BMC would be put up for sale with an estimated value of TL 985 million.Sancak’s initial offer stood at TL 540 million, but on the insistence of bidding committee head Hamit SarI, Sancak increased the bid to TL 725 million. The negotiations of the first round of the tender was broadcast live on TV.The TMSF seized BMC along with several other companies, including media outlet Show TV, from Çukurova Holding last year to collect on a $455.3 million debt which Çukurova Holding owes the TMSF.The final round of the tender will be on May 2.Sancak, who showed up during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan’s balcony speech after the AK Party secured victory in the local elections held on March 30, reached a deal with Çukurova Holding to buy the AkIam media group for $62 million in November of last year.The media group which Sancak purchased includes Skyturk360 television the AkIam and GuneI newspapers Alem, Platin, Stuff, Autocar and FourFourTwo magazines Lig Radio and Alem FM radio. Gathering under the roof of TurkMedya, all branches in the group will operate from the Skyturk360 campus located in the IiIli district of Istanbul.The likely revival of BMC through the sale also stirred hopes that the company will eventually be able to rise again as a prominent player in the domestic defense industry by re-launching a project to manufacture Turkey’s first mine-resistant vehicle, the Kirpi (hedgehog), which the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is known to be very interested in.The TSK had previously agreed with the company on a deal to produce 468 Kirpi vehicles, but the BMC failed to fulfill the terms due to financial difficulties, ensuing in a unilateral termination of the deal by the TSK.Turkey’s Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) also fined the BMC 7 million euros for this failure to fulfill the contract. The BMC had delivered only 278 of these armored trucks to the army, and it is expected that if the sale is successful, the new owner of the company may push for completion of the production of the remaining 175 Kirpi vehicles for the TSK.The National Police Department may also enter into talks with the BMC for 20 Kirpi vehicles once the BMC’s new owners start productio

SOURCE: Todays Zaman