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French investments flow to Turkey 13 mars 2012

Posted by Acturca in Economy / Economie, France, Istanbul, Turkey / Turquie.
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Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey) March 13, 2012

Gökhan Kurtaran

The political tension between Turkey and France has so far shown almost no significant effect on the economic level, as funds from French firms still seek ways to flow into the robust Turkish market. A French airport operator acquired shares from a Turkish firm yesterday while another firm prepares to finalize a minority share acquisition in Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean port.

French airport operator Aeroports de Paris (ADP) announced yesterday it had acquired 38 percent of the leading Turkish operator, TAV, which runs Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. ADP said it would pay $874 million (667 million euros) for the holding, which values the Turkish company at $2.3 billion.

“I see this transaction as tying the knot for our eldest daughter,” said Hamdi Akın, the chairman of TAV. TAV runs Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Europe’s eighth-busiest, as well as terminals in Georgia, Tunisia, Latvia and Macedonia, and it has a contract to build and run an airport in Medina, Saudi Arabia. The purchase will help ADP’s earnings in 2013, the French company said.

“We are planning to make further investments in OECD countries with TAV, particularly in the Middle East,” said Pierre Graff, chief executive of the French firm, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News on the sidelines of a press meeting in Istanbul.

“We have penetrated new markets via TAV and we will stand back from countries [where TAV already is],” he said. According to him, both companies have eliminated their biggest competitor in the international market with this sale.

The agreement with TAV’s three biggest shareholders also included a separate acquisition of a 49 percent stake in a construction company, TAV Yatırım Holding A.Ş., for $49 million, said Sani Şener, chief executive of TAV.

The two groups directly or indirectly run a total of 37 airports worldwide that serve around 180 million passengers a year. ADP owns 8 percent of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

Recently, Turkey froze relations with France, recalling its ambassador and suspending all economic, political and military meetings in response to the French Parliament‘s approval of a law penalizing denial that the mass killing of Armenians in 1915 amounted to “genocide.”

“These purchases are the best indicators that French investors believe that short-term political upheavals will not have long-term consequences,” said Yılmaz Argüden, a board member of the Turkish-French Business Council at the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) speaking to the Daily News over the phone yesterday.

Italian-French fund interested in Turkish port

Meanwhile, Luxembourg-based Inframinervois Holding has agreed to buy a 20 percent share in Iskenderun Port, which is run by Turkey’s Limak Holding, said Serdar Bacaksız, speaking to the Daily News on the phone yesterday.

Limak will invest nearly $250 million in the eastern Mediterranean port in the next few months, to be followed by $500 million of additional investment in the long run, according to Bacaksız. Italian state-owned Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and French state-owned Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC) are among the major shareholders of the holding. French shareholder CDC also has a 17.6 percent share in Dexia, which also owns Turkish lender Denizbank.

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