GCC looks to Turkey for food investments

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Halal food, Investment, Middle east

GCC looks to Turkey for food investments
Two Gulf investment vehicles have bought major stakes in Turkish food producers in recent weeks, as Turkey positions itself as a major halal food producer.

UAE-based investment firm Abraaj has bought an 80% stake in the Yörsan Group, Turkey's fourth-largest dairy producer, it announced this week. The deal puts Yörsan's value at US$300m, according to the Financial Times​.

Expanding markets

We believe the company has great potential to quickly become the market leader in the higher value dairy segment. The combination of Abraaj’s unique value creation focus, our global experience in the dairy industry and the strength of the company’s management team will realize our ambition of transforming Yörsan from a highly successful family-run Turkish dairy business into a world class FMCG player​,” said Abraaj managing director Omar Syed.

Earlier this month, Bahrain's Investcorp took a 25% holding in Namet, a Turkish meat producer. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

We have invested heavily in the company in the past few years and became the number one vertically integrated meat business in Turkey. We believe we are well positioned for steady expansion underpinned by solid market demand​,” said Namet chairman and CEO Tarik Kayar.

These acquisitions come as Turkey's representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the country is in a strong position to become a leading exporter of halal food to the Muslim world.

Export and certification

Turkey, as a country with a Muslim population and high food safety standards, is a good candidate for exporting halal food products to neighbouring and other Muslim countries​,” said FAO representative Mustapha Sinaceur, speaking to Turkish newspaper Sunday's Zaman​.

He also suggested Turkey might become the source of regional halal certification, through the country's standards body, pitting it in competition against Dubai's recently-announced halal certification centre.

“We know that certification activities for halal food started two years ago. Since then, hundreds of companies have knocked on the door of the Turkish Standards Institute. Today, more than 200 companies have halal food certificates provided by the TSE. Companies operating in Iraq, the Gulf States and the rest of the Middle East are applying for halal certificates,”​ Sinaceur told Sunday's Zaman​.

Turkey has recently made efforts to woo Gulf investors across all sectors, as it battles economic instability. Last year it abolished taxes for investors from the GCC, previously a major disincentive for Gulf nationals and organisations to invest in the country.

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