Abu Dhabi-owned defense company EDGE Group said it’s weighing billions of dollars of investments in Turkey after it signed preliminary deals with firms including Aselsan Elektronik Sanayi and drone-maker Baykar Teknoloji.
(Bloomberg) — Abu Dhabi-owned defense company EDGE Group said it’s weighing billions of dollars of investments in Turkey after it signed preliminary deals with firms including Aselsan Elektronik Sanayi and drone-maker Baykar Teknoloji.
EDGE Chairman Faisal Al Bannai met with heads of major defense companies in Turkey to discuss possible acquisitions, joint development projects and purchase of military systems.
Read more on Turkey’s defense industry: War Drones Help Erdogan Expand Turkey’s Global Power
The company has earmarked an investment budget of “a few billion dollars,” Al Bannai said in an interview on Wednesday in Turkey’s capital, Ankara. “What part of that will go into Turkey depends on what opportunities are there. If there is opportunity for half a billion dollars, $1 billion, $2 billion — whatever — then we will invest.”
Aselsan shares climbed as much as 5% after the news and were trading 3.1% higher as of 3:18pm in Istanbul. Riot-truck maker Katmerciler was also up 1.6% after erasing earlier losses.
Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates, is seeking collaboration in autonomous and electronic warfare systems as well as smart weapons, Al Bannai said. His meetings with top Turkish firms, including drone-maker Baykar, follow a pledge by the UAE to invest more than $50 billion into Turkey’s economy.
Turkey’s defense industry, which has gained prominence from the use of Turkish drones in regional conflicts from Ukraine to Libya, emerged as a key recipient of petrodollars after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s Gulf trip to attract funds. Baykar, run by Erdogan’s son-in-law, already inked the biggest supply deal in its history with Saudi Arabia.
Drones and Missiles
Al Bannai said Edge created a new entity called Malath to lead its engagement with Turkish companies. It also signed dozens of memorandums of understanding with Turkish companies, including state-run defense contractor Aselsan, government-owned missile manufacturer Roketsan, Katmerciler and Baykar.
Roketsan CEO Murat Ikinci said the talks with EDGE were “aimed at joint production and export of all products developed by Turkish companies.”
“We are talking about cooperation worth billions of dollars per year,” Ikinci told Bloomberg in Ankara on Wednesday. “The process is going quite fast.”
Furkan Katmerci, deputy chief executive of Katmerciler, said: “This is the first spark and we need to work to grow it,” adding “Significant opportunities may arise in the region.”
Aselsan declined to comment on the agreement. Baykar didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Teams from Edge and Turkish defense companies will study “which missile program we could do together, which drone program we can do together,” EDGE’s Al Bannai said. The UAE is also interested in acquisition of Baykar’s newly developed TB3 combat drones, he added.
–With assistance from Taylan Bilgic.
(Updates with stock moves in fourth paragraph. Faisal Al Bannai’s title was corrected in a previous version of the story.)
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