Mahmut Unlu: Turkey’s leading independent i-bank
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Mahmut Unlu: Turkey’s leading independent i-bank

As part of Euromoney's 50th anniversary coverage, we profile some of the biggest names that we interviewed for our May CEE focus.

When Unlu & Co started life as an M&A boutique in 1996, international appetite for Turkish assets was almost non-existent. Several decades of extreme economic volatility had deterred all but the hardiest investors; foreign direct flows amounted to barely $500 million a year. 

Mahmut Levent Unlu-160x186

“We believed that if we could explain the opportunities presented by the Turkish market, we could get investors interested,” says founder and chairman Mahmut Unlu.

At the time, investment banking was also an alien concept to most local Turkish companies, so in the early years the new firm – then known as Dundas Unlu – worked mainly with foreign investors. 

The business was growing nicely when, in 2001, Turkey was hit by twin currency and banking crises. 

“For two years after that, the economy was in purgatory,” says Unlu.

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