Turkey’s IC Holding, Malaysia Airports seek deal on second Istanbul airport

Turkish infrastructure company and airport operator IC Holding AS is in talks with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd about a collaboration deal for Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport.

Talks are at a preliminary stage and may or may not lead to an acquisition of a stake by IC Holding at the airport, according to people, who asked not to be named as the deliberations are confidential.

IC Holding declined to comment. Malaysia Airports said MAHB and IC Holding are entering a strategic collaboration, without providing more details.

The airport, which lies southeast about an hour’s drive from the city of almost 17 million people, served almost 34 million passengers between January and November, up 21 percent from year ago, making it the third-busiest airport in the country in terms of customers, according to state airports authority DHMI.

IC Holding operates the smaller Kutahya airport in Turkey and has taken on turnkey projects to build airfields in Vietnam, Bulgaria, Russia, Saudi Arabia as well as other parts of Turkey, according to its website.

The Ankara-based group sold its 49 percent stake in Antalya Airport, Turkey’s second-largest, to TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS for €360 million ($397 million) in 2018. Fraport AG is the other partner in the airport.

Malaysia Airports was part of a consortium that won a €1.9 billion contract to operate the Turkish airport in 2008 for 20 years.

In 2013, it agreed to raise its holding in to 60 percent by acquiring a 40 percent stake held by Indian partner GMR Infrastructure Ltd. for €225 million. It bought the remaining 40 percent from Turkey’s Limak Holding in 2014 for €285 million.

The Asian company previously had intentions to sell a stake in the airport, and the asset drew some interest from international investors as well as from Turkish Airlines before the pandemic hit the world in early 2020.

Turkish Airlines’ offer for an 80 percent stake in 2018 valued the airport at almost 940 million euros, Bloomberg reported at the time.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated Sabiha Gokcen’s second runway. The construction of the strip had been delayed for years as the country focused on completing the main Istanbul Airport.

Erdogan said that the new runway’s operation would double Sabiha Gokcen airport’s capacity. Investment for the expansion was about $970 million, Erdogan said.

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