Russian gas monopoly Gazprom may lose its biggest asset in Turkey, according to the Russian media outlet Kommersant, citing sources familiar with the situation.
Shares of Russian company and Gazprombank in Akfel Holding, the largest private importer of Russian gas to Turkey, were de facto nationalized on suspicion of having links with the organization of Fethullah Gulen.
According to the newspaper, it became known in early December that the Turkish authorities had taken control and changed Akfel Holding Board of Directors, but then the status of the Russian investments had been unclear. Now, according to newspaper sources close to the shareholders of Akfel, the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey (TMSF) informally told them that it ”acts as a shareholder.”
The largest bodies of Akfel Holding are Akfel Gas (contract with Gazprom for 2.25 billion cubic meters of gas per year), Avrasia (0,5 billion) and Enerco (2,5 billion). Akfel and Gazprombank are the owners of 60% of shares in the last two companies. Other 40% in Enerco belong to Austrian OMV. The group of Gazprom has also a minority stake in Akfel Holding. Besides, Gazprom has an option to buy 50% in Akfel Gas, but the deal, which began in 2014, is not closed due to lack of approval by the Turkish regulator, the newspaper said.
In general, the companies of the Akfel group account for 55% in the supply portfolio of Gazprom to private Turkish importers and about 20% of all Russian gas supplies to Turkey, the newspaper notes.
According to newspaper sources, on December 2, Turkish authorities completely changed Akfel Holding Board of Directors, it included representatives of TMSF and consultants. This was made possible by emergency decree No. 674, adopted after the July coup attempt in Turkey, the newspaper said.
”We have been taken the most effective and profitable seller of Russian gas to Turkey,” the source of the newspaper said, close to Gazprom. Akfel and Gazprom declined to comment, TMSF did not respond to request for publication.