Carlyle eyes Turkey for new opportunities

[Bush Sr’s favorite money-making mechanism, Carlyle Group is a mini “Trilateral Commission,” in that it represents the same interests and was drawn from the same pool of internationalist interventionists that went into the parent organization.  Between Bush and the Saudi royal family they know where to invest their money and who to bet on.  Turkey is key to all the new world order pipeline wars, creating inroads in Central Asia as revealed by Sibel Edmonds and also serves as the axis of all planned pipeline routes destined for Europe and beyond.]

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
With half a billion dollars in its coffers, private equity giant Carlyle’s Middle East and North Africa Fund eyes new investments in the region. Walid Musallam, head of the MENA Partners Fund, tells the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review that he expects several more investments in Turkey over the next few years, following partnerships with two Turkish companies
The reason Carlyle chose to partner with Saudi Arabia’s General Lighting gives an example of how the company decides on investments, Musallam says.
The reason Carlyle chose to partner with Saudi Arabia’s General Lighting gives an example of how the company decides on investments, Musallam says.

Private equity giant Carlyle has been focusing more on Turkey and its immediate region especially since raising $500 million from investors for its first Middle East and North Africa, or MENA, fund in March of last year.

The company’s latest move came on March 29, when it bought a 30 percent stake in the General Lighting Company, Saudi Arabia’s largest lighting fixtures manufacturer.

Speaking recently to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, Walid Musallam, managing director and head of Carlyle’s MENA Partners Fund, said the group could make additional investments in Turkey following its acquisition of 50 percent of shipbuilder TVK and 40 percent of hospital chain Medical Park.

Musallam declined to say how much Carlyle paid for the stakes, which were acquired in July 2008 and December 2009, respectively.

“Turkey is a very important country in our focus,” Musallam, the former chief executive of Abu Dhabi Investment Co., said in an interview last week. “It is one of the key markets in its region. We expect to make several more investments in the next few years.”

Washington-based Carlyle aimed to raise $750 million to the MENA Fund, but when it reached half a billion dollars in March last year, the firm chose to work with that money, as fundraising had become extremely difficult due to the global financial crisis.

Opportunities in Turkey

With “a strong industrial base, a large population, strong consumer spending and high growth prospects,” Turkey presents “opportunities in all sectors,” according to Musallam.

“Given the size of the economy, we see opportunities in manufacturing, food, retail and logistics, among others. In Istanbul, we have a team of five professionals dedicated to assessing opportunities in Turkey,” he said, adding that the fund is not interested in investing in Turkish media.

Because the effects of the global crisis hurt the short-term prospects of companies, many were eager to partner with private equity firms such as Carlyle. “Only last year we looked at around 100 opportunities from Turkey in all sectors,” Musallam said. “Since the start of 2010, we have continued to review opportunities at the same rate.”

Before Carlyle makes an investment, it gains significant know-how of the sector in which the investment is operating. “With over 900 investments completed around the world, we have developed a disciplined approach to investing,” said Musallam.

Benefits of partnership

During this rigorous probing of a given market, Carlyle can approach companies, or it can be approached by them. “Primarily, people seek to invest with us,” Musallam said.

“We typically work with potential sellers who see value in Carlyle as a partner. What attracts sellers to us is basically the benefit they get by becoming our partner. We have a global network of business relations, immense operating experience, and access to various sources of financing. We are very experienced in helping companies grow and in taking them public,” he said.

The reason Carlyle chose to partner with Saudi Arabia’s General Lighting gives an example of how the company decides on investments. “It is a leader in its sector,” Musallam said. “It is the largest manufacturer and provider of lighting solutions in Saudi Arabia. It has a dominant market share and has major potential for growth.”

Although General Lighting currently derives the largest share of its revenue from Saudi Arabia, “[Carlyle] felt that it had major potential for growth across the entire region,” Musallam said. “Thus, the key drivers for us were market position and [this] potential for growth.”

Carlyle is one of the world’s largest private equity firms, with more than $88.6 billion under management, according to its website. With 67 funds across four investment disciplines – buyouts, growth capital, real estate and leveraged finance – Carlyle relies on a team of more than 400 investment professionals operating out of offices in 19 countries.