Statement by TeliaSonera CEO Per-Arne Blomquist, following a failed shareholders’ meeting (AGM) in Turkcell on June 24
“TeliaSonera regrets that the ownership disputes in Turkcell, which are long overdue and should have been resolved a long time ago, have resulted in another failed Turkcell AGM. We have done our utmost to reach an agreement between the major shareholders, but since Altimo and Çukurova have been unable to resolve their deadlock, we have failed in our attempts. This is unfortunately not an issue we can resolve on our own, as it requires the support of the other two shareholders”, said Per-Arne Blomquist, President and CEO.
“We are very disappointed at the outcome of the AGM, and we are not happy with the current structure, where a minority shareholder can block majority decision due to a complex holding company structure. However, I would like to emphasize that this is a conflict between private companies, and should be dealt with as such and through legal procedures. Therefore, any attempts to “nationalize” the company, by excluding TeliaSonera from the Board and appointing a Board, which solely consists of CMB appointed members, are unacceptable and against the Turkish Commercial Code as well as international investment treaties. Turkcell is listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange, as well as the NYSE, and the approach of CMB in resolving the deadlock at the Turkcell Board will be closely monitored by other foreign investors. We have no doubt that the CMB will come up with a fair solution”, Per-Arne Blomquist continued.
“Excluding directors nominated by the shareholders is clearly not in the interest of any shareholders, either in Turkey or abroad. On the contrary, it would be a clear negative signal to foreign investors in Turkey, affecting their appetite to invest in the country. One must not forget that the second largest shareholder group in Turkcell is the “free float”, represented by Turkish and international investors. TeliaSonera would welcome any shareholder who, together with us, is willing to cooperate and support good corporate governance and further development of Turkcell, both in Turkey and abroad”, Per-Arne Blomquist concluded.
TeliaSonera has for a long time been striving to increase the number of independent Board members, in order to improve corporate governance and introduce a well-functioning board structure, in line with Turkish and international standards. TeliaSonera believes that the best solution would be a direct Board representation, based on actual ownership.
TeliaSonera is one of the founders of Turkcell and a long term, strategic investor, with a 38 percent direct and indirect ownership, and will continue to make every effort to resolve the deadlock between the shareholders.
The current deadlock is primarily caused by the pending Privy Council decision related to the ownership disputes between Altimo and Çukurova. The quorum in the AGM was not reached due to the fact that the shareholders couldn’t agree on the representation of Turkcell Holding, which accounts for 51 percent of the shares in the listed company Turkcell Iletişim
TeliaSonera is by far the largest minority shareholder of Turkcell, hence it is clear that any further delay in appointing a new Board and of delaying dividend distribution is not in our favour. Turkcell holds close to USD 3 billion in accrued dividends since 2010 and TeliaSonera fully supports the distribution of dividends in line with the company’s dividend policy.
TeliaSonera’s goal and approach are to provide maximum contribution to the process which would make Turkcell a stronger and more efficient entity through new investments to be made in Turkey and other countries with big growth potential.
TeliaSonera operates with transparency and integrity in line with solid corporate governance principles. We have always acted in a fair manner towards our partners and will continue to do so in the future.
TeliaSonera AB discloses the information provided herein pursuant to the Swedish Securities Markets Act and/or the Swedish Financial Instrument Trading Act. The information was submitted for publication at 11.00 CET on June 24, 2013.
Statements made in the press release relating to future status or circumstances, including future performance and other trend projections are forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future. There can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements due to many factors, many of which are outside the control of TeliaSonera.
TeliaSonera provides network access and telecommunication services in the Nordic and Baltic countries, the emerging markets of Eurasia, including Russia and Turkey, and in Spain. TeliaSonera helps people and companies communicate in an easy, efficient and environmentally friendly way. Our ambition is to be number one or two in all our markets, providing the best customer experience, high quality networks and cost efficient operations. TeliaSonera is also the leading European wholesale provider with a wholly-owned international carrier network. In 2012, net sales amounted to SEK 105 billion, EBITDA to SEK 36.1 billion and earnings per share to SEK 4.59. The TeliaSonera share is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm and NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. Read more at www.teliasonera.com.