KKR confirms UN Ro-Ro

KKR has taken a 97.6% stake in Turkish shipper UN Ro-Ro for €910m, marking the private equity group’s first foray into the Turkish market.

UN Ro-Ro chief executive Cuneyt Solakoglu confirmed this week that the sale, which had looked uncertain last month after the chairman said he would never sell, is subject to competition authorities’ approval.

UN Ro-Ro, which is owned by 177 shareholders including 45 transport companies, mandated Citigroup in November last year to sell a majority holding in the company.

On October 9, KKR confirmed that 100%-owned acquisition vehicle Trieste Bidco Denizcilik ve Tasimacilik had signed a definitive agreement to buy the shipping company.

The debt financing for the acquisition has been arranged by Turkish banks Garanti Bankasi and Turkiye Is Bankasi. In addition, German bank KfW has agreed to provide financing for four new ships on order.

Closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions including competition approval in Turkey, Italy, Austria and Germany, and is expected to occur before the end of the year.

KKR’s John Pfeffer said: “We believe in the growth of trade between Turkey and Europe and UN Ro-Ro’s important role in that development. UN Ro-Ro’s future success will be built on continuing to provide a high-quality, reliable service at a competitive cost, investing in new ships and capacity and contributing to the success of the truckers and exporters it serves.”

He added: “We are very interested in the Turkish market and believe that private equity can play a helpful role by investing to support the growth of businesses. This is our first investment here, and we hope to find other investment opportunities in the future.”