043. Turkish Investments in the Netherlands: On The Move

“Turkish take-overs of Dutch companies are rare.” That’s what the Dutch Financial Newspaper ‘Financieel Dagblad’ wrote on the 22th of July.

I disagree with the title of that article, since Turkish business interests in the Netherlands have been growing rapidly over the past year. Direct investments increase while more and more Turkish take-overs of Dutch companies are being realized. I daily see how busy colleagues Arife and Meric from the Netherlands Foreign Investments Agency –based at the Netherlands Consulate General in Istanbul- are.

Renaissance  Construction’ taking over ‘Ballast Nedam’

Reason for the ‘Financieel Dagblad’ to write above-mentioned news item, was the decision of Turkish construction company ‘Renaissance Construction’ to take over ‘Ballast Nedam’. ‘Ballast Nedam’ is one of the largest Dutch construction companies.

For ‘Renaissance Construction’ last week’s take-over marks its fourth foreign acquisition in Europe.  With an annual turnover of 2 billion Euros, ‘Renaissance’ is one of the strongest Turkish companies in the construction sector.

From rare to rising

Looking back we clearly see that ‘Renaissance Construction’s’ investment is not an isolated case. A few months ago ‘Eroğlu’ took over Dutch fashion chain ‘Mexx’; Turkish food & beverages company  ‘Ülker’ bought ‘United Biscuits’ for 2.6 billion Euro and, with this, indirectly the Dutch brands ‘Verkade’ and ‘Sultana’.

Initially I was worried by this latter take-over. What would happen to our Dutch ‘Sinterklaas’ chocolate letters? Fortunately the CEO of ‘Ülker’ personally promised me to respect our traditional Dutch chocolates and told me that he will find a solution on how to make chocolate letters for the complicated Turkish letters ‘Ü’ and ‘Ö’.

And there are already current investors in the Netherlands, like ‘Mado’;  producer of traditional Turkish ice cream from goat milk and all kind of baklava’s, opening its first branch in the Hague. And who in the Netherlands has not been to ‘Simit Sarayi’ yet, with over 10 outlets and many more to come?

The Consulate General supporting investments

What is my role in all this as a Consul General? One of the things I do is to visit the Turkish companies in Istanbul. I try to maintain our existing relations with the current and possible new investors and to get an idea of their future plans and strategies to further expand their International businesses. One of our tasks is to inform them about the Dutch Economy and favourable investment climate in the Netherlands.

Turkey has many strong companies, ready to invest beyond borders.  Together with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, we introduce the Netherlands as an investment friendly country, that offers opportunities and has advantages, in regards to entering the European market via the Netherlands.

On one of my visits together with NFIA colleague Arife, we went to ‘Erciyas Holding’, a top 100 company in Turkey with a turnover of 250 million euro. They also own the company ‘Bimas’ from Izmir, producer of excellent E-bikes. Since begin 2014 they have a joint venture with a Dutch company ‘ECC B.V.’ selling (e-)bikes in the Netherlands.

At high school I cycled every day from Enkhuizen to Hoorn, 40 km per day. In my perception E-bikes are for old ladies and lazy guys. At ‘Erciyas Holding’, on the 25th floor of their office on the Asian side, I was invited to try one of their E-bikes. I should not have done this; E-bikes are actually great and quite addictive. Now I want to buy one…)

And the other way around?

You might wonder by now: Are there also Dutch investments in Turkey? Yes, there are. Over the past 10 years the Netherlands has always been in the top 3 of foreign investors in Turkey. The latest investment plan is ING’s intention to buy HSBC Turkey for 750 million Euro.

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