Turkcell moves into Belarus

Turkish mobile operator Turkcell announced Wednesday that it has snapped up an 80 per cent stake in Belarusian carrier BeST.

Turkcell will pay the Belarusian government $500m for the stake, with the option of an additional payment of $100m to be made when BeST records a full year positive net income for the first time.

BeST is the third placed operator in a market of three, where it competes against market leader MTS with 52 per cent of the market and second placed MDC with 43 per cent of the market.

While BeST trails its competitors by a significant margin, Turkcell believes that with a GSM market penetration of approximately 65 per cent, there is reasonable potential for market growth.

As a result, the Turkish firm said a reasonable capital expenditure of approximately $500m would be realised within ten years.

Turkcell CEO Sureyya Ciliv said: "The acquisition of BeST represents an opportunity for Turkcell to gain access to a market with a growth potential. Belarus is an attractive emerging market within Turkcell's growth geography with its young and well educated population and steadily growing economy."