Turkish Retailer Sok Seeking To Raise $640 Million In Public Listing

Sok, a Turkish discount grocer, is considering raising a minimum of $640 million through a public offering with a view to paying down debt. This was revealed by one of the company’s book runners and comes amidst a string of high-profile listings in Turkey.

The discount grocer is one of the biggest retailers in Turkey with 21,000 employees and over 4,700 stores. Reports last year had indicated that the discount grocer was planning a flotation this year. Earlier this year sources had disclosed to Reutersthat Sok was one among four Turkish companies which were planning to list by mid this year.

High equity prices

Firms have been rushing to take advantage of Turkey’s record-high stock prices as well as strong demand for the country’s listings from across the globe. Despite concerns over the politics of the country, Turkey has the youngest population in Europe and its economy is on a solid footing.

By raising $640 million Sok will be able to repay all the debt it owes according to one of the company’s book runners. A decision on an over-allotment is yet to be made. About 39% of Sok is in the hands of Yildiz Holding’s investment arm Gozde Girisim while 50% is in the hands of an investor consortium based in the Netherlands. Another 10% is owned by a Templeton Asset Management private equity fund.

Leading retailer

According to the chief executive officer of Sok, Ugur Demirel, the grocer was the unrivalled in the sector. Since 2015 the grocer had opened an average of three stores per day or roughly 1,000 per year.

“[Sok is the] unrivalled operator in the fast-growing and underpenetrated Turkish grocery sector. In each of the last three years we have been the leading Turkish retailer in terms of revenue growth, new store growth and market share growth,” said Demirel.

More listings

Other Turkish firms that are planning for a public listing include Beymen Magazacilik, a luxury retailer. Beymen Magazacilik is considering listing around 46% of its capital and this includes an over-allotment. U.N. Ro-Ro, a logistics firm, and DeFacto, a clothing retailer also intend to list before the end of May this year.

In DeFactor’s public offering Citigroup Global Markets and Unlu Menkul will act as joint book runners and joint global coordinators. With regards to the Sok listing the book runners include Garanti Yatirim while the joint global coordinators are Unlu Menkul, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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