Bids for the first two major block sales in the government’s privatisation programme have been returned to the Privatisation Administration (OIB). Foreign interest is strong in airports ground handler Havas, but weak for Sumerbank (MEED 20:1:95).

The bids were returned for blocks of 60 per cent both in Havas and Sumerbank. The Havas sale should raise around $36 million – or more if a premium for management control is included. An attraction for investors is the company’s cash position of $14.5 million mostly held in foreign exchange. The Sumerbank deal may raise up to $60 million.

The bids must now go through an evaluation, screening and negotiation process. The Havas sale should end before May, but Sumerbank may be sold off sooner. In both cases, the remaining shares are to be sold through public offerings listed on the Istanbul stock exchange.

Adviser to the OIB for Havas is the leading Istanbul brokerage house Global Securities; for Sumerbank it is Vakifbank.