Turkcell buys out BeST for $500 million

Turkcell, Turkey's leading mobile phone operator, has signed an agreement to acquire an 80 percent share of the Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST) for $500 million.

Turkcell CEO Sureyya Ciliv said yesterday in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) that the purchase of BeST shares was an opportunity for Turkcell to enter a market that has growth potential. He emphasized that the contract was part of the company's efforts to take advantage of investment potential in neighboring countries.

Turkcell will pay the $500 million in three installments, Ciliv noted. While $300 million will be delivered 20 days after the signing date, the remaining $200 million will be paid off in two equal installments in December 2009 and December 2010. The contract also includes a clause requiring that the remaining 20 percent share not be sold to a third party within the next five years.

BeST ranks third in Belarusian market in terms of number of subscribers. Belarus has a young, dynamic and growing population and offers significant growth potential to investors, Ciliv noted in the statement. He said the company would use its experience in Ukraine and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in making BeST the highest quality service provider of the Belarusian market.