March 13, 2012 - 16:12 AMT
French airport operator buys stake in Turkey’s TAV amid Genocide bill row

French airport operator Aeroports de Paris said Monday, March 12, it has acquired 38 percent of the leading Turkish operator TAV, which runs Ataturk airport in Istanbul, according to France24.

ADP said it would pay 874 million dollars (667 million euros) for the holding, which values the Turkish company at 2.3 billion dollars and is part of the French group's strategy to expand into emerging economies.

The deal was announced amid tension between Paris and Ankara after French lawmakers voted to introduce legislation that would make it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide.

France's top court last month ruled that the legislation was unconstitutional but French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is facing a tough re-election battle in April and May, has vowed to put forward a new bill.

TAV also operates airports elsewhere in Turkey and in Georgia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

The two groups run directly or indirectly a total of 37 airports worldwide that welcome around 180 million passengers a year.

ADP is interested in buying stakes in airports that handle more than 10 million passengers a year, and particularly those in countries like Brazil, China, India and Russia.