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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Confusion Over Alfa in Turkey

ISTANBUL -- Alfa Group denied a press report that it has the right to double its stake in Turkcell, Turkey's largest mobile phone company, as part of its loan accord with Turkcell's main shareholder.

Alfa will be getting a 13 percent stake in Turkcell for lending $3.3 billion to Turkey's Cukurova Group. It can increase the stake to 27 percent in time, Reuters cited Alfa Telecom CEO Alexei Reznikovich as saying on Tuesday in an interview.

The report contained "misleading information," Alfa said in a statement, denying that it had the right to expand its Turkcell stake. The Russian firm is seeking a waiver from having to buy out the publicly traded shares of Turkcell. Turkey's market regulator, the Capital Markets Board, has said it might grant the exemption because there seems to be no change in management control.

"This comment by the Alfa CEO, despite the later denial, is going to confuse the Capital Markets Board," said Ilgin Erdogan, an analyst at Ak Yatirim in Istanbul. "It will delay the decision on the waiver or may even prompt them to change their mind about it."

Turkcell shares fell 1.2 percent to 8.15 liras as of early afternoon. The shares were suspended during the morning session of the Istanbul Stock Exchange as the bourse asked Cukurova about the validity of the Reuters report. The Turkish group said there was no change to its earlier announcements on the Alfa deal.