May 16, 2017 / 2:54 PM / in 5 months

UPDATE 1-Turkey's TAV seeks $250 mln bank loan for Saudi airports

* Talks with banks about $250 mln loan for Saudi projects

* Buys Saudi Oger’s stake in Medina airport

* Interested in Malaysia Airports stake in Sabiha Istanbul

* Bidding for four airports in Nigeria (Adds detail, quote, context)

By Tom Arnold

DUBAI, May 16 (Reuters) - Turkey’s TAV is in talks with banks to get the $250 million it needs to develop three airports in Saudi Arabia, the airport operator’s president Mustafa Sani Şener said on Tuesday.

TAV Airports Holding, in partnership with Al Rajhi Holding Group, was chosen to develop and operate Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu, Qassim and Hail international airports.

Şener said TAV was talking to Saudi banks, adding that Turkish company would use $100 million of its own equity.

Airports are one of several sectors Saudi Arabia is seeking to privatise as it aims to raise around $200 billion in order to diversify its economy in an era of lower oil prices.

The kingdom is expanding its airports as it expects to receive more foreign visitors, including 30 million annual pilgrims by 2030, up from around 8 million at present.

In the kingdom’s first airport privatisation in 2011, TAV, which operates 17 airports around the world, and Al Rajhi were awarded a build, transfer and operate contract for Medina’s Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport.

TAV has completed the buyout of construction conglomerate Saudi Oger’s stake in the consortium operating the airport, leaving TAV owning 50 percent, Şener said, adding that Oger was exiting the aviation business.

After dominating the Saudi construction market for years, Saudi Oger, owned by the family of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, has been struggling, partly as a result of cuts in government spending and payment delays.

TAV was also interested in buying a stake planned for sale by Malaysia Airports Holdings in its Istanbul unit, which operates Turkey’s second-biggest airport.

Şener said TAV was waiting for Malaysia Airports to pick a bank to advise it on an auction process.

“Since Istanbul is our own base we are interested,” he said. “Valuation is very important. If their expectation is too high we won’t be there. If their expectation is fitting to market conditions we will be one of the candidates.”

TAV was also bidding in the privatisation of four Nigerian airports including Abuja and Lagos, he said, with a decision on the process expected after the end of June. (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Alexander Smith)

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