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BAT Expresses Interest in TEKEL Privatization

BusinessIstanbul, TURKEY, May 13, 2003 - British American Tobacco (BAT) Turkey General Director Paul Helderman said while that the international tobacco group was interested in the privatization of TEKEL, Turkey's tobacco and alcohol monopoly, it was awaiting an announcement of sale terms by the Supreme Board of Privatization (OIB) before proceeding any further.

Helderman issued a statement saying: "Of course, we are interested in the privatization of TEKEL; however, we are waiting for the conditions to be announced by the privatization board. We are interested in its tobacco division. We firmly believe in our investment and presence in Turkey. We made our investment in this country at an extremely difficult time. We did not come to Turkey for a while. We will be in this country for a long time, perhaps for another 100 years. Everybody is curious about the privatization of TEKEL. Even if TEKEL is not privatized, independent of this, BAT came to Turkey to make a long-lasting investment. BAT will stay here for a long time whether the privatization happens or not." aa / Istanbul / TURKEY

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