Funds eye local partners to go into mall business
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 8/18/2011 12:00:00 AM | GÖKHAN KURTARAN
A number of foreign funds are looking for local companies to jointly invest in the country’s growing shopping mall business, according to Hakan Kodal, a top professional. His company is preparing to introduce retail parks to the country
Foreign funds are eyeing investment opportunities through local partners despite unpredictability in the global markets, the head of a Turkish property development group said on Thursday, adding that investors from abroad are especially interested in acquiring shopping malls.
The Bosporus Real Estate Fund, or BREF, jointly established with the leadership of the Krea Group and Merilll Lynch, is preparing to invest in two major retail parks in Istanbul and in the northwestern province of Adapazarý, said Hakan Kodal, chief executive of Krea Group and the Council of Shopping Centers in Turkey, or AYD, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News in Istanbul.
“We can well say the retail park concept will be a first in Turkey,” said Kodal, noting that each retail park will be built on 150,000 square meters. The major investment will contain large retail companies as well as small shops within a street-like ambiance that enables visitors to stroll through the park. BREF will invest approximately $250 million in the first retail parks in the country as it has already invested approximately $500 million in Turkish market.
Pradera, which is managing the Cevahir shopping mall in Istanbul owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority, or KIA, is also preparing for investment opportunities in Turkey, said Kodal, noting that recently in a partnership with Krea Group, Pradera aims to acquire new shopping malls in Istanbul. “I trust in the Turkish economy and believe the country will attract more investors,” Kodal said.
Arab investment in Turkey totaled $10.6 billion at the end of last year, according to Ibrahim S. Dabdoub, chief executive of the National Bank of Kuwait, who recently spoke to the Daily News on the sidelines of the sixth Turkish-Arab Economic Forum in Istanbul.
Kodal said his company Krea is ready to for major investments in three large residential projects in Istanbul. Kodal said two residential buildings would be constructed on the Anatolian side of the city for the low-level income groups. The total amount of the investment would be nearly $300 million excluding the cost of the land located in the heart of the city. “We will start construction next year,” Kodal said, adding that Krea is open to partnering with local and foreign investors for the project.
Talking about foreign investment in Turkey, Kodal said: “Unpredictability due to snap changes in the laws and legislation causes concern among foreign investors in Turkey.” He said he was confident about the economic dynamics of the country, noting that still some foreign investors are concerned about the booming current account deficit and unpredictability caused by snap changes in legislation that affect the investment climate.
“I still strongly advise foreign investors to invest in Turkey in the midst of the economic crisis in Europe and political turmoil in the Middle East, despite the lingering problems with legislation,” Kodal said. “Turkey is in a transition phase while economically growing to implement long-term reforms rather than make snap changes in legislation,” he said. Kodal also said Turkey needed stronger enforcement of the laws regarding contracts signed in business deals.
According to recent official figures, foreign direct investment, or FDI, to Turkey in the first five months of 2011 more than doubled to $5.6 billion.