$2.5 bln Koç ship deal under scrutiny after 6 months

Koc Holding, which has become a focus of interest during the Gezi Park protests, has come under investigation regarding a National warship project (Milgem) deal.

$2.5 bln Koç ship deal under scrutiny after 6 months

The National warship project (Milgem) deal, awarded to Koç Holding's subsidiary RMK Marine for $2.5 billion in January, has come under investigation only six months after allegations were put forth by another bidder of unfair tender practice.

RMK Marine was slated to build six domestically designed corvettes for the navy in an effort to increase the Turkish military's naval power and turn it into a global actor. Construction of the first Milgem project ship, the Heybeliada, was completed in 2008, while the second ship, the Büyükada, is still under way.

After the specifications were submitted, only two companies, RMK Marine and Dearsan, were invited to the official tender in January, which was carried out by the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM), according to a Habertürk report published on Thursday. The action was not welcomed by other companies interested in the tender, particularly Sedef Gemi İnşaat A.Ş., which filed a complaint with the Prime Ministry Inspection Board in June. Company officials have not, however, confirmed the information, according to Habertürk.

The Habertürk report explains that, following the complaint, board officials opened an investigation and questioned the SSM over why only two firms were invited to the official tender. If the board comes across any findings related to unfair competition practices in the tender, the termination of the awarded tender will be placed on the agenda.

One of Turkey's biggest privatization deals, a $5.7 billion highway deal, was canceled in February weeks after comments by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said the previously finalized deal would be “brought to the table again,” stating that the government had higher expectations. This could mean that the Milgem tender can also easily be canceled. The consortium, made up of Koç Holding, Gözde Girişim of the Ülker Group, and Malaysia's UEM Group Berhad had initially won the tender.

During protests over İstanbul's Gezi Park last month, Erdoğan accused a group he referred to as the “interest rate lobby,” a group of speculators who, the prime minister claimed, were using the countrywide protests as a pretext to tank the market. When the Gezi Park protests were in full swing, Erdoğan defended his position by bringing Koç University to people's attention. Erdoğan asked, "Why didn't the environmentalists say anything against Koç University when it cut thousands of trees to build its campus?” Some observers argued back, after which Erdoğan implicitly referred to the Koç group as part of the “rate lobbyists.”

Cihan

Last Mod: 05 Temmuz 2013, 10:47
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