Greek companies with billions of euros of investments in Turkey are keeping a close eye on developments in the neighbouring country as the eastern economy kneels under the weight of a meltdown in the Turkish Lira.
Earlier this week, officials from Greek retailer Fourlis, which has a market value of 200 million euros, indicated that the company might pull out of Turkey but that no decision has been made yet.
Fourlis, which owns the IKEA franchise in Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria, also operates the Intersport brand at home and in Turkey. So far this year, the company has trimmed the number of Intersport branches it operates in Turkey to 12 from 23 previously due to weak economic performance.
Data shows that Greek companies have been actively investing in recent years in Turkey’s $720 billion economy despite the tensions often appearing between the two sides. Greek investments in Turkey considerably exceed the corresponding Turkish investments in Greece.
According to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, the stock of direct investments from Greece is around $6.8 billion mostly in information technology (IT), agricultural applications, packaging, plastics, pharmacy, cosmetics, fisheries, tourism and construction sectors.
On the other side, the stock of direct Turkish investments in Greece, including investments made via other European countries, amounts to approximately $500 million. Turkish investors mostly focus on investing in marinas, ports and the overall tourism sector in Greece. Furthermore, Ziraat Bank has branches in Athens, Xanthi and Komotini, the ministry says on its website.
The list of major Greek investors in Turkey includes:
• Plastics Thrace
• Intelli Solutions
A breakdown of investment figures on an annual basis shows that amounts largely fluctuate.
After dipping sharply in 2016 when National Bank of Greece pulled out of the Turkish market, Greek investments in Turkey started rising again.
In 2018, they advanced 86 percent reaching 238.6 million euros and were almost unchanged in 2019.
On the other side of the Aegean Sea, Turkish investments in Greece decreased significantly in 2015 (-50%), dropping to $25 million. In 2019, however, the figure rose to $32 million.
The biggest Turkish investors in Greece include:
• Dogus Group: Investments in tourist infrastructure (Zeas, Lefkada, Floisvou, Gouvia Marinas)
• Eren Holdings: Nova Paper & Packaging Hellas SA
• PAK Holdings: Paper packaging
• Polisan: Chemicals in the Industrial Area of Volos
• Ziraat bank: Turkish state bank in Greece since 2008 (Athens, Komotini, Xanthi)
• SUOZ ENERGY: Photovoltaic panel technology