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Turkey's Arcelik to invest $100m in Egypt amid thaw in relations

Turkish home appliance magnate plans to use Egypt as an export hub and provide jobs for thousands of Egyptians
Workers are assembling a washing machine at one of Arcelik's factories in Turkey (Stock photo)
Workers assemble a washing machine at one of Arcelik's factories in Turkey (Arcelik/stock photo)

Turkey's largest home appliance manufacturer Arcelik will invest $100m to establish a new factory in Egypt, according to a statement released by the Egyptian trade ministry on Sunday, as both countries continue to mend ties after a years-long rift.

Arcelik CEO Hakan Bulgurlu visited Sharm el-Sheikh over the weekend, where he met Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir to discuss investment opportunities.

Samir said that during the meeting, they reviewed Arcelik's project, which will be completed by the end of 2023 and is projected to manufacture an annual capacity of 1.5 million household appliances, according to the statement.

The investment is expected to provide 2,000 direct jobs for Egyptians.

The minister added that the project aims to meet his country's need for appliances, as Arcelik plans to make Egypt a hub for producing and shipping products to foreign markets.

Bulgurlu said that Arcelik is currently considering starting the second phase of investment in air conditioners and TVs in the Egyptian market. He added that Koc Holding, Arcelik's parent conglomerate, also has plans to invest in Egypt's industrial engines, electric car charges, financial technology, tourism and energy and automotive industry.

Local media has suggested that Arcelik will break ground on the plant on 7 December.

Fatih Kemal Ebiclioglu, a senior manager at Koc Holding, told a local newspaper in September that Arcelik considers Egypt a location from which to partially export some of its products. 

Koc Holding is Turkey's largest industrial conglomerate and had a combined revenue of $39bn last year, including from investments abroad such as in the UK. Arcelik's subsidiary Beko has sold 25 million home appliances in the UK over the past 25 years, becoming the best selling brand in its field in the country in 2019.

Reconciliation

Turkey and Egypt signed a free trade agreement in 2005, and the total trade volume between them tripled between 2007 and 2020.

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In 2021, Turkey's exports to Egypt increased by 44 percent, hitting $4.5bn, and bilateral trade rose by 39 percent, reaching $6.7bn.

Turkey and Egypt have been seeking to mend relations that were fractured after Ankara refused to recognise then-general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the country's legitimate leader following the 2013 military coup that ousted his predecessor Mohamed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president.

Erdogan has also been a vocal critic of Sisi's human rights abuses in a post-coup crackdown against the leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, died in prison in 2019. 

Turkish officials see the war in Libya, where Cairo and Ankara support opposing sides, as a stepping stone for wider reconciliation talks between the two countries, which officially started in May 2021.

But people familiar with the matter believe that the real stumbling block is whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Sisi and recognise him as Egypt's legitimate president.

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