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Eureko ready to transfer operations to Turkey

17 December 2009 [10:56] - TODAY.AZ
Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Çağlayan has said that the Dutch insurance giant Eureko is poised to transfer its operations, worth billions of euros, from less profitable countries to Turkey some time in 2010.
In the Netherlands for a series of official visits, Çağlayan had an opportunity to talk with a group of Turkish reporters after a reception hosted by the Turkish Embassy in The Hague. Addressing the press, he said he had talks with the managers of several large Dutch companies to provide them with details about the investment climate in Turkey.

One of these companies was BAM, an engineering, consultancy and construction company with an annual turnover of 9 billion euros. The minister said BAM was interested in a number of projects, including the construction of a third bridge over the Bosporus. “They also want to cooperate with Turkish companies on projects in third countries,” he said.

The minister also had a chance to meet and discuss investment with Eureko officials. Eureko has been in the Turkish insurance market ever since it bought Garanti Sigorta in March 2007. “The company is willing to expand its Turkish operations in some fields,” Çağlayan said, adding that the insurance business is “extremely attractive” for new investments.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Eureko CEO Coen van der Lubbe said acquiring 80 percent of Garanti Sigorta two years ago was a timely and appropriate investment. The company is now eyeing the purchase of the life and retirement divisions of the same company and has already allocated 1 billion euros for the acquisition.

Turkey is definitely one of the best countries to invest in, considering its improved conditions in recent times, van der Lubbe said. “Success achieved with the Garanti operations has revealed new investment opportunities. Those involved have already reached an agreement over the conditions for new investment, and its cost is likely to be 1 billion euros for us.” The CEO said Eureko is pleased with the new agreement.

Turkey is an attractive market with a vast insurance volume, van der Lubbe noted, adding that the company had indeed made the decision to expand in the Turkish market much earlier but had to suspend action due to uncertainty brought about by the recent global economic crisis.

With the new agreement, Eureko will acquire a 35 percent share in Garanti Emeklilik, which operates in the retirement insurance business. Çağlayan also said he had met with a top-level representative of the Rotterdam-based chemical manufacturer Vopak, which has invested $50 million in the province of Yalova, on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, and has decided to soon invest another $300 million.

The minister also said he plans to visit Syria and Dubai in hopes of improving commercial ties between them and Turkey.

“We have already conducted a study to determine the problems affecting Dubai and their possible impact on trade relations with Turkey. Our contractors have undertaken projects worth $4.7 billion in this country. Of these, projects totaling $1.7 billion have already been completed. Some $3 billion in projects is awaiting completion. Of completed projects, we are still owed $80 million, and there is nothing unusual about that,” he said. The minister also noted that Turkey is eager to continue its investments in this country as a sign of good will and to stand by Dubai in its times of difficulty.

Meanwhile, Celal Oruç, among the top 100 richest people in the Netherlands and chairman of Ortel Mobile, told Today’s Zaman that he has purchased land in İstanbul to construct European-style houses. “We will erect buildings in İstanbul the same way as the Housing Development Administration of Turkey [TOKİ] does with partners from the Netherlands and other European countries,” he said. Noting that investing in his home country was one of his dreams, Oruç said his company is pondering ways to do business in Turkey in hotel operations as well.

/Todays Zaman/

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