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TurkVen shows impeccable timing

Private equity in Turkey is finally gaining momentum. For the country’s first independent private equity firm, launching its second fund, it’s not a moment too soon.

SINCE TURKEY EMERGED from the aftermath of the 2001 currency crisis, it has made huge advances in attracting foreign investors. The economic and political stability of the country has revealed its investment potential, and the Turkish economy has grown at an average annual rate of 7.5% for the past six years. Inflation, which was above 50% at one point, is now at around 8%. Foreign direct investment was about $20 billion in 2006, and that figure is growing. Perhaps belatedly, private equity firms are finally beginning to see the potential.

TurkVen, Turkey’s first independent private equity firm, raised its second fund last year. At $428 million, the fund is 10 times bigger than the company’s first fund, launched in 2002, and amounts to one of the largest increases in a fund size ever for a second raising. TurkVen had originally planned to raise about two-thirds of what was finally raised but increased and eventually limited that figure, halting at $428 million when it could have raised more. Last month, the fund took a stake in BC Partners’ deal to buy 51% of Turkey’s largest supermarket chain, Migros, in the country’s largest-ever LBO. The potential for private equity funds in Turkey is only now becoming evident, and it has been a long road.

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