German cement maker Heidelberg delays investment in Turkey due to political uncertainties

By bne IntelliNews March 16, 2017

German cement maker HeidelbergCement will hold off from making investments in Turkey for the moment given the political uncertainty in the country, its chief executive Bernd Scheifele said on March 16, Reuters reported.

Ankara has been locked in a bitter diplomatic spat with Berlin after Germany prevented Turkish ministers from attending rallies on its soil. Turkey retaliated by accusing Germany of acting like the Nazis.

Turkey will hold a crucial referendum on April 16 on switching to an executive presidential system with sweeping powers.

“There could be opportunities for deals in Turkey at reasonable prices. There was a risk that any such deals might not be the bargains they seemed given the political uncertainty,” Scheifele told reporters adding that he was concerned about the situation in Turkey.

Akcansa, Turkey’s leading cement and ready-mixed concrete producer, is a joint venture between HeidelbergCement and Turkey’s Sabanci Holding and it is one of the country’s largest industrial groups.

It remains to be seen whether international companies would follow suit and start to reconsider their investments in Turkey.

Before the diplomatic row erupted, Spain’s second-larged lender BBVA, Swiss-based Vitol Investment Partnership and Qatar’s Mayhoola announced major deals in Turkey.

“The narrative in Turkey’s financial markets is that most investors are positioned for a ‘yes’ vote,” wrote William Jackson at Capital Economics in a research note on March 16.

“Accordingly, any resulting falls in equities or the currency would probably be relatively small. Conversely, if the referendum, ends in a ‘no’ victory, there could be a bounce in local markets,” he predicted.

Earlier today, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Turkey’s Nazi remarks.

The two leaders said on March 16 in a joint statement that it was unacceptable for Turkey to use "Nazi" jibes to criticise Germany and other countries, Reuters reported.

Hollande and Merkel also consented that future events organised over the Turkish referendum could take place provided they adhered to French and German laws, according to the news agency.

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