TURKEY - The Petrochemical Sector.
The largest petrochemical combine in the country is the state-controlled Petrokimya Holding A.S. (Petkim). This has been one of the most profitable state companies in Turkey for years.
Petkim will be privatised, with 51% of the company to be sold to a strategic partner later in 2002. This will follow a privatisation of the country's main oil marketer POAS and main oil refiner T?pras (see DT 21). Successive governments since the late 1980s have failed to sell Petkim off due to political wrangling, despite a high degree of interest among local and foreign investors.
Turgut Bozkurt, 53, Petkim's former CEO, in early May 2002 took over as head of the government's Privatisation Commission to succeed Ugur Bayar. Bayar was sacked in April after repeated clashes with Yilmaz Karakoyunlu, the minister responsible for privatisation who had little understanding of sell-offs (see who's who in next week's APS Review).
The petrochemical industry in Turkey has been undergoing a period of shake-up and consolidation, as a result of two factors:
- Turkey's signing of the EU customs union agreement, which became effective on Jan. 1, 1996; and
- the opening up of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), following the collapse of the Soviet Union, with key CIS members now competing as exporters of petrochemical products to regional markets.
In the past four years, however, CIS petrochemicals moving into Turkey have had no serious effects on the sector or on Petkim's profitability.