Wealth funds in Abu Dhabi are on the prowl in Turkey, scouting for targets for billions of dollars in investments, according to people familiar with the matter.
Talks between the funds from the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates and companies in Turkey have been ongoing for months, the people said. The interest preceded a breakthrough phone conversation in August between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, amid increasing signs of a thawing of relations.
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The investment discussions provide further evidence of a turnaround in ties between the two countries that have been at loggerheads for much of the past decade over everything from Islamist movements to the conflicts in Syria and Libya.
Possible deals could revive an investment pipeline that sputtered amid longstanding tensions stemming from Turkey’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group banned in the UAE. Relations reached a nadir in 2016 when Turkish state media accused the UAE of supporting a coup attempt against Erdogan.
Among funds eyeing Turkish investments in recent weeks are Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, or ADIA, the emirate’s biggest wealth fund that’s amassed assets estimated at $686 billion, and ADQ, according to three people.
ADQ alone is considering spending as much as $1 billion on health-care and fintech targets, one of the people said. With an estimated $110 billion in assets, ADQ is the emirate’s third-largest sovereign wealth fund after ADIA and Mubadala Investment Co.
ADQ could not immediately be reached for comment, while ADIA and the Turkish government’s investment office declined to comment.
International Holding Co., or IHC, the UAE’s second-most valuable listed company, said it’s evaluating investment opportunities in the health-care and industrial sectors. “Turkey has one of the most significant food-processing facilities, which can be a great investment opportunity for us,” its spokesperson said.
Another fund looking at Turkey is Chimera Investments LLC, a private investment firm that is part of Abu Dhabi’s Royal Group, which may allocate as much as $1 billion, according to a person familiar with the talks.
Last month’s call between the two countries’ leaders followed a surprise August meeting between Erdogan and the UAE’s national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Tahnoon is chairman of ADQ, IHC and Royal Group.
For now, the Arab nation’s biggest investment in Turkey is Emirates NBD’s $2.75 billion acquisition of Istanbul-based Denizbank AS from Russia’s Sberbank PJSC in 2019.
Earlier this month, Aramex PJSC, a Dubai-based logistics company in which ADQ bought a stake of about 22% last year, said it’s in talks with MNG Kargo about a takeover of the Istanbul-based delivery company.