Abraaj says Turkey buy plans not impacted by political situation: Reuters

Abraaj Group expects to complete at least four or five acquisitions in Turkey in the next two years, a senior executive told Reuters on Tuesday, despite the political turmoil currently dominating the country.

The comments, by Selçuk Yorgancolu, regional head of Turkey and Central Asia at the emerging markets-focused investment firm, came on the day it announced it had closed to new money its first dedicated Turkey fund worth $526 million.

While Turkish officials have said they foresee no impact on the economy and investment climate, the upheaval in Turkey following the failed coup attempt on July 15 has shaken many foreign investors and stoked fears that political instability will weigh on Turkish financial assets in the coming period.

The lira hit a historical low of 3.0970 against the dollar following the announcement of a three-month state of emergency on July 20.

For Abraaj, which has operated in Turkey since 2007 and has invested more than $900 million through 11 deals in the country, the current situation would not affect its Turkish strategy as it was a long-term investor that targeted consumer businesses which would be broadly unaffected by politics.

“We’re aiming to close at least four to five transactions in the next two years,” Yorgancolu said, noting its strategy was to stay close to consumers, meaning investments could be in healthcare, financial services and food businesses.
“In healthy companies, valuations don’t change much in political times because they have staying power and they can wait for times to improve again,” he added, when asked if valuations would come down due to the volatility.

The Abraaj Turkey Fund I has already made two investments — in e-commerce firm Hepsiburada and Fibabanka, a financial institution — and was closed to additional funds prior to the failed coup, having reached its $500 million target size.

The two existing investments make up “a small fraction” of the fund’s size, Yorgancolu said without elaborating.
Abraaj planned no exits in Turkey any time soon as its oldest current investment was only made in 2014, he said. Within Abraaj’s portfolio is medical equipment firm Yu-Ce Medical and dairy company Yorsan.

Of the capital committed by investors for the Turkey fund, 70 percent came from Europe and North America. By investor type, institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds accounted for 78 percent, Abraaj said in a statement.