Galataport Project, a Partnership of Doğuş Group With Bilgili Holding, Secures € 1.02 Billion Financing

Financing of €1.02 billion has been secured for the Galataport Project, a partnership of Doğuş Group with Bilgili Holding. Within the framework of the financing agreement signed with a consortium of leading Turkish banks consisting of Garanti Bank, Yapı Kredi, İş Bank, Ziraat Bank, Industrial Development Bank of Turkey (TSKB) and Finansbank, the project is slated for completion in the last quarter of 2018.

In addition to its operations in the construction, automotive, media, real estate and energy sectors, Doğuş Group has taken a substantial step as part of its successful investments in the tourism, food and beverage, and retail industries in the recent years. Galataport project, which has an important place among the Group’s tourism investments, has been launched as a partnership of Doğuş Holding A.Ş. with BLG Gayrimenkul Yatırımları ve Ticaret A.Ş. One of the fundamental steps in the project, in which Doğuş Holding A.Ş. has a stake of 81%, will be the completion of Galataport, which includes the coastal strip that is currently closed to public access but will open to public use by the last quarter of 2018. As the construction work gains momentum this year, the record level of project financing secured from the six leading Turkish banks will contribute toward faster progress.

Having signed a 14-year project financing agreement worth €1.02 billion to be utilized for the construction of Galataport, located in the area that connects Karaköy and Tophane, two Istanbul districts of historical value, Doğuş Group and Bilgili Holding will provide significant contribution to the Turkish economy in terms of regional and macroeconomic aspects.

Speaking at the Galataport project financing agreement signing ceremony, Doğuş Group Chairman Ferit F. Şahenk said, “For over half a century, we at Doğuş Group, have always built and shaped our investment strategies with the aim of providing contribution to the economy and adding value to our country. And we are charging ahead with the same strategy. Galataport project is at the top of our major investments that we have undertaken with this goal. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all parties, and the representatives of the esteemed Turkish banks in particular, that believe in and support this project, which will provide significant contribution to the Turkish economy in terms of regional and macroeconomic aspects. We at Doğuş Group, have the utmost confidence in our country, and continue with our investments. We hope the Galataport project, which we are planning to complete in the last quarter of 2018, will be auspicious and bring prosperity to our country and nation.”

Doğuş Group CEO Hüsnü Akhan said, “We are going through significant times as a country. We are proud to have signed the €1.02 billion project finance agreement with a consortium of leading Turkish banks consisting of Garanti Bank, Yapı Kredi, İş Bank, Ziraat Bank, Industrial Development Bank of Turkey (TSKB) and Finansbank at such a crucial time. The fact that project financing of such scale and term is finalized signifies a major success for both the project and the partner companies as well as our country.”

Hüsnü Akhan also provided information about the project financing process and planning, “The term of the financing agreement is 14 years, with 3.5 years of grace period for capital payment. Project finance amount includes the loan part of the operational rights payment made to the Privatization Administration, and will be used for the construction and development costs of the project. We are planning an investment of nearly TL 4.5 billion to transform Galataport into a port area as well as a brand new living space open to visitors from all segments in Istanbul. Once the project is completed and launched, we foresee employment opportunities for 4,500 people. With a variety of business areas and investments it will host, Galataport project is a venture that will contribute to both the Turkish economy and also the tourism industry.

Once the port area is completed and opened, Galataport will feature a cruise ship terminal as well as being a home to cafés and restaurants serving local and international cuisine, and retail locations of some of the top Turkish and global brands, all planned in alignment with the city’s and the region’s texture. All phases of the Galataport project, from the cruise ship terminal planning to landscape design, are carried out with the rigorous work of expert consultants from Turkey and the world.”

Hüsnü Akhan added the following information on the project, which will create a new life, culture and art space in the city upon completion: “One of the most beautiful squares in Istanbul that is home to the Tophane Clock Tower and Nusretiye Mosque will be renovated according to historical heritage and reopened for the people of Istanbul. With Istanbul Modern and the ongoing construction of the Contemporary Art Museum of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, the area will become a space for arts and culture, and we will continue to support this transformation within Galataport. When the Galataport project is completed, the coastal strip that has not allowed public access for nearly 200 years will be turned into a promenade and opened to public use.”

The Peninsula Hotels to debut in Turkey at Karaköy

Referring to the deal signed with The Peninsula Hotels, a leading 5-star luxury hotel group with a history of nearly 150 years, Hüsnü Akhan said, “While preserving the historical buildings through restorations and bringing them back to life as part of the Galataport project, we will also introduce a major foreign direct investment. Within the framework of the agreement we have signed with The Peninsula Hotels for the historical buildings in Karaköy, they will invest €300 million in partnership with Salıpazarı Port Management and Investments Inc. in addition to operating the hotel. As a result, a hospitality brand globally known for its luxurious comfort and impeccable service will not only enter the Turkish market but will also take part in the investment.”

Hüsnü Akhan continued, “The construction work for an underground gangway system as a first in the world is currently underway in the new terminal, which will house waiting lounges, check-in desks, offices for public authorities, duty-free shops, luggage areas, checkrooms, custom-freezer rooms, technical areas or any necessary technological systems for a cruise terminal operation, all designed with the highest technology and top-notch standards. Some of the other finalized details of the project include cafes and restaurants within a neighborhood concept, retail stores, public squares, event venues, and hotel and office spaces. Once the project is completed, Galataport will become a port and a destination where the people of Istanbul as well as the tourists will be able to spend an entire day in the backdrop of one of the most beautiful views in the world. With museums, stores and cafes & restaurants, offices and public squares, Galataport will come as a breath of fresh air for Istanbul.”

Akhan also mentioned Doğuş Group’s investment strategies for 2016, and said, “Rather than the conjuncture and current developments, long-term factors have always been the determinant in defining our growth strategy and making our investment decisions. Doğuş Group’s primary goal built on business strategies is to always create value for our country both at home and in the world. In addition to creating employment in Turkey, building globally respected brands and representing our country in global scale through international partnerships are also among our priority goals. Accordingly, the facts that Galataport’s unique and historically significant location in Istanbul aligns with the business objectives of our Group, and that it offers an opportunity to develop this essential value of Istanbul and to open it to the public have been determining factors in reaching this investment decision.”

Bilgili Holding Chairman Serdar Bilgili said, “We are proud to be partners with the Doğuş Group for such a great project that will change the silhouette and social life of Istanbul, and open the coastal strip to the public. We at Bilgili Holding, have always strived in all the projects we have developed and launched in Istanbul to remain loyal to and respect the cultural texture of the city. Our aim for Galataport, as the most important project that our Holding is currently involved, in is to transform this Istanbul district, which has been left idle for many years, as soon as possible and to open it to the public. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to consortium member banks and their esteemed executives for believing in and supporting this major investment for our country, and for demonstrating the strength of the Turkish banking system once again to everyone.”