Turkey's largest food group Yildiz Holding is in talks with a foreign fund to sell its 11 percent stake in Islamic bank Turkiye Finans, Yildiz Chairman Murat Ulker said, fueling the company's shares hurriyet daily news reported .
Speaking to reporters on Jan. 29 in embargoed comments, Ulker said the group had first offered its 11.75 stakes to shareholders, but started negotiations with outsiders after receiving a negative answer.
Yildiz Holding's shares climbed to ceiling prices at the stock exchange after publically disclosing plans of sale.
Yildiz Holding vice-chairman Ali Ulker had hinted at the holding's plans to retreat from the sector at the end of March, as he had said the finance sector was not an area they "will remain present in the long term."
The majority of the bank's stakes are owned by Saudi-based National Commercial Bank - 67 percent - while Turkish Boydak owns 22 percent.
During the meeting with a group of agency and magazine chief editors, Ulker also announced the group has signed a deal to sell its yeast-making unit Dosu Maya to French company Le Saffre for $220 million.
Yildiz, which owns family-run cookie making company Ulker and premium chocolate maker Godiva, is seeking to focus on developing its consumer brands.
The group generated sales of 12.4 billion Turkish Liras ($5.48 billion) in 2012.
Yildiz revenues last year rose 17-18 percent, exceeding expectations for a rise of 13-14 percent, Ulker also said.
The group, which is one of Turkey's largest companies, last year bought Spanish discount-retailer Dia's Turkish operation DiaSA for 136.5 million euros ($186 million).