Turkish retail industry lures foreign companies

Referans - Foreign interest in the Turkish economy is now expanding to retail. Turkish ready-to-wear companies are being visited either by foreign companies from the same sector or by private equity funds. There are many foreigners interested in Turkish companies, said Chairman of United Brands Association Ali Murat Kiziltas. “Even foreign funds have started getting interested in retail companies. Retail has become a valuable sector,” he said. Ipekyol, one of the pioneering brands in women's wear, has reached a deal with a famous Italian brand - name withheld - for a 50 percent partnership, according to recent rumors. Founded by Yalcin Ayaydin, Ipekyol has become a giant in two decades, reaching 40 stores. Having reaped YTL 75 million in turnover in 2007, the company aims to open 40 more stores in 2009. Brands such as Twist and Machka are under the umbrella of Ipekyol. MORE PARTNERSHIPS TO FOLLOW Kigili, one of the leading men's wear brands, is in close contact with a Dubai-based investment fund. It is expected that negotiations will be over soon. Founded in the 1980s, Kigili today has an annual turnover of YTL 150 million a year with its 150 stores. Polo Garage is said to be in talks to sell both the brand and production plants. Founded in 1977 by Levent Ozcoban in, Polo Garage produces both men and women's wear at its plants in an area spanning 4,000 square meters. The brand has 28 stores, 15 dealers and 10 corner sales points at home and 17 stores abroad. Inci, owned by Ali Murat Kiziltas, is also getting offers. The company will accept an offer if foreign partnership creates an opportunity to grow abroad, said Kiziltas. All companies are receiving offers, said Ipekyol Board Chairman Yalcin Ayaydin. “There will be an outbreak of partnerships in 2008.” Mainly funds are in the market for partnership, said Kigili Board Chairman Abdullah Kigili. However, European companies will become more active in the upcoming period, said Kigili. Collezione is also receiving many partnership offers, said Ekrem Akyigit, the Collezione board chairman, in a statement.