Turkish National lottery set for privatization soon

Turkish National lottery set for privatization soon

Turkey plans to speed up the privatization process of the national lottery in November by re-launching the tender process and completing it by January, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said yesterday during a live interview on private broadcaster CNBC-e Hurriyetdailynews reported.

"We expect to finalize the whole privatization process of Milli Piyango by January at the latest," Simsek said.

Turkey scrapped a tender to privatize the lottery as a whole after some bidders failed to meet the $1.6 billion minimum price. Ankara subsequently opted instead to sell individual licenses for games operated by the lottery.

The preparations for the legal basis of Milli Piyango first began in 2003, allowing gaming licenses to be granted to state or private companies through a tendering process. The relevant provisions were again amended in 2008 and an implementation regulation was published in the same year. The first tender took place in May 2009, but did not yield any results.

In neighboring Greece, betting and lottery monopoly OPAP attracted the interest of eight potential bidders from Europe, the U.S. and China, resulting in a 622 million euros offer for a majority stake earlier this year.

2.2 bln liras of revenue

Turkey's national lottery reached over 2.2 billion Turkish Liras of sales revenue from its online and retail products last year.

The total income from privatizations, which started in 1985, amounts to $57.8 billion, Anadolu Agency reported last week. It also said that since denationalization began in Turkey, 270 public organizations, eight major roads, two bridges and six ports had been privatized.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier said that Turkey was currently outdoing almost all EU countries in the sphere of privatization.

Privatization is expected to bring in around $887.45 million in revenue from the privatization of 13 state facilities that are currently awaiting approval.

Ski resorts, as well as a series of bridges and roads, are among the facilities set to be privatized.

Turkey's budget income rose 17.9 percent in the January-August period this year compared to the same period of the previous year.

In this period, privatization revenues doubled the government's target for the eight months, reaching 8.3 billion Turkish Liras. Some 87 tenders were conducted between January and July by the Privatization Board, while agreements were signed for privatizations worth 15.1 billion liras during the same period.

"Privatization receipts and better import and consumption tax collection thanks to the pick-up in domestic demand affected the positive performance," Simsek said in a public statement.

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