Turkiye’s Kalyon Holding to channel $2B investment in renewables push

Kalyon Holding is looking to expand its investments in the renewable energy sector in the coming period, part of one of Turkiye’s top conglomerates’ bid to increase its engagement in clean energy, its chairperson said Tuesday.

Engaged in the construction, energy and aviation industries, Kalyon Holding will use the capital from a recent sale of a stake in its energy affiliate to an Abu Dhabi conglomerate to expand its solar panel manufacturing capacity and focus more on solar and wind energy, Chairperson Cemal Kalyoncu said.

The company announced on Aug. 11 that it agreed to sell a 50% stake in Kalyon Energy to International Holding Co (IHC) for 1.8 billion dirhams ($490 million). The transaction includes solar power projects in Turkiye’s Karapınar and Gaziantep regions and a wind power project in Ankara.

Addressing a press meeting, Kalyoncu said the holding that has large solar and wind energy concessions would be investing around $2 billion in renewable energy over the next five years.

The resources from the stake sale will be used in financing the expansion of Kalyon Holding’s fully integrated solar panel manufacturing plant in the capital Ankara, which Kalyoncu said was not part of the deal with IHC.

Kalyon PV’s yearly 1,000 megawatts (MW) production capacity will be lifted to more than 2,000 MW through a $150 million to $200 million investment that will also expand its employment to 3,000, he said.

Kalyoncu emphasized that the group’s priorities would be centered more on renewables in the coming period, also stressing that the Kalyon Energy agreement and the new partnership would bring more convenient and cheaper financing opportunities.

Half of the resources from the deal with IHC are expected to arrive by mid-September and the rest by the end of the year, he said.

“When we first started working for the fully integrated solar panel factory, the efficiency rate was 18%-18.5%. It has now risen to 23%. As the capacity increases,the technology changes, so we also increase the efficiency,” he said.

“The panel is currently receiving a lot of attention from all over the world. We have already sold the next seven-eight months of production of the existing factory.”

The plant is currently meeting the needs of the 1,350 MW solar power plant being built in the central province of Konya. The Kalyon Karapınar Solar Power Plant will be the biggest solar power plant in Europe built on a single site and one of the five biggest in the world.

The total investment to be made in the massive project is estimated to be around $1 billion. It will be capable of meeting the annual electricity needs of 2 million people once it is completed in 2023.

Turkiye obtains the vast majority of its energy from imports and in order to boost its renewable energy production, it began large-scale solar and wind power station tenders in 2017.

Post-Karapınar production is planned to be channeled toward the domestic market, as well as demand from abroad, Kalyoncu said.

No deal for Istanbul Airport for now

Among others, Kalyoncu also said there were investors exploring a potential stake purchase in Istanbul Airport. He said they were not thinking of any deal at the moment but noted that even if they agreed, they will not go below 50% stake together with their partner in the joint venture operating the airport.

Kalyon, earlier this year, secured its spot as the majority shareholder of IGA Havalimanı Işletmeleri, the company founded in 2013 to construct and operate the airport, after two investors decided to sell their shares.

The transaction has seen the stakes of Kalyon Holding and Cengiz Inşaat rising to 55% and 45%, respectively.

The consortium that had made the winning 22.15 billion euros bid back in May 2013 to build and operate the airport consisted of Kalyon, Limak, Kolin, Cengiz and Mapa. The consortium is required to pay around 1.1 billion euros annually for 25 years.

The gleaming glass-and-steel structure along the Black Sea coast was officially open in late October 2018, before becoming fully operational in April 2019. It reflected the emergence of Istanbul, Europe’s largest city straddling Europe and Asia, as a major regional transport hub.

The $7-billion Istanbul Airport can handle 90 million passengers a year in the current phase, which, while it is a high figure, is nothing compared to its potential capacity to serve 200 million after the completion of all phases, making it the world’s largest.

All four phases of the airport’s construction and expansion, including six runways, are expected to be completed by 2028.

Kalyoncu said the facility had topped the pre-coronavirus pandemic levels with 60 million passengers, adding that they foresee an average annual passenger traffic growth of up 10%.

“We don’t have any sales decision at the moment. Even if we decide on any sale, together with our current partner, we will definitely not fall below 50%,” he said.


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