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Turkey's TAV Airports plans bids in Asia, Africa and Middle East

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Turkish airport operator TAV is planning to bid for new tenders in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and India in the next 12-24 months, chief executive Sani Sener told Reuters on Tuesday, aiming to accelerate its push into new markets.

[DUBAI] Turkish airport operator TAV is planning to bid for new tenders in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and India in the next 12-24 months, chief executive Sani Sener told Reuters on Tuesday, aiming to accelerate its push into new markets.

In an interview in Dubai, Mr Sener said TAV Airports is also interested in airports across Africa, where passenger numbers exceed 1 million, and is eyeing potential airport privatisations in the Gulf.

"We are going to be very active in South East Asia and Africa and the Middle East, where we will continue to be active," he said. "We are a company from an emerging market and we always like the growth in emerging markets. The growth will be in emerging markets from now on."

The company is keen to add to its portfolio and increase revenue from its service businesses to offset the impact of the end of its contract to run Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.

Turkey's new airport in Istanbul is due to start operating in 2018 and Ataturk, the existing hub for flagship carrier Turkish Airlines, is slated for closure in 2021.

TAV lost the tender to operate the new airport to a consortium led by Turkish group Limak, so has to find alternative revenue to replace its main earnings generator.

About 20 per cent of the company's revenue from airport operations originates from outside Turkey. TAV operates 14 airports in Turkey and other countries, including Georgia, Tunisia and Macedonia.

That percentage of income from foreign operations will rise in the coming years, Sener said without detailing a target.

The company is part of a consortium that has received preliminary qualification to bid for a group of five airports in the Philippines.

It is also hoping to bid for Indian deals, with about 50 airports being considered for potential privatisation. Other markets in TAV's sights are Africa and the Middle East, Mr Sener added.

It has already built a significant presence in the Middle East, where it helped to build airports in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

It also operates Saudi Arabia's Madinah Airport, the first airport privatisation project in the kingdom, and would be keen to bid for similar tenders in the Gulf.

The bulk of airports in the region are run by governments but more are expected to be privatised in an effort to reduce the burden on state coffers squeezed by lower oil prices.

REUTERS