Attracted by high population, Turkish group Anadolu eyes retail business in Pakistan

Dolmen Shopping Mall Dolmen Mall Clifton holds its shopping festival in Karachi.

ISTANBUL: The Anadolu group, one of Turkey’s largest business conglomerates, has shown its intention to enter Pakistan’s vibrant retail sector as part of the group’s strategy to unearth fresh avenues of investments.

At present, the company is observing the changing rural-urban dynamics of Pakistan where the rising middle class is taking the lead.

Group Chief Executive Officer Hulsit Zorlu said their earlier decision to pour money into Pakistan’s soft drink sector was a good move and the company was happy with what it had achieved in Pakistan.

“Pakistan is a great country for us and we are very happy to make investment in this country,” Zorlu said while talking to The Express Tribune. “Currently, we are learning the country’s dynamics to explore where we can invest, there is a huge potential in Pakistan’s growing retail sector and it could be our next area of focus.”

For Zorlu, the growing population of Pakistan, especially in urban centres, is an attraction for the group’s subsidiary Migros AS, which is a retail leader in Turkey and contributes 14.4% to modern fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and 5.7% to the overall FMCG.

“We will conduct a proper study to fully understand the scope of retail and based on that we will take our next decision,” Zorlu said, adding there was definitely a lot of potential in all mega cities of Pakistan.

The name of Anadolu group is not new in Pakistan. It is already doing business in the country for years by producing non-alcoholic beverages via its subsidiary Coca-Cola Icecek (CCI), the fifth largest bottler of the Coca-Cola Company.

CCI, which runs its business in 10 countries including Turkey, generates the second highest revenue from Pakistan’s beverage market. The share of Pakistan in CCI’s sales volume was 25%, next to Turkey which contributed 51% to total revenues of $1.99 billion in 2016. CCI, according to Zorlu, is doing exceptionally well in Pakistan and is currently has 37% share in the cola market, next to arch-rival PepsiCo, which has market share of 51%.

The group operates in nine different sectors including non-alcoholic beverages, retail, automotive, energy, real estate and others. Net sales in 2016 stood at $7.16 billion in which the soft drink segment contributed 28% whereas retail brand Migros had the highest 43% share.

Based on Pakistan’s contribution to CCI’s operations and the group’s strategy to invest beyond Turkey which has a target territory, in which Pakistan comes among top consumer markets, the management feels it could be the right time to analyse the country’s retail potential.

Retail gurus are also seeing Pakistan as a market opening very rapidly for the international brands and retail companies.

“Pakistan is a big consumer market where middle class has doubled over the past decade,” said Yousaf Jamshed, CEO of Retail Leaders Conference.

“This trend is not sudden, we are already consulting another four top of the line global retailers to open their businesses in Pakistan, I am very optimistic that Pakistan will be on the global radar for priority business opportunities,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2017.

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