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Turkey case study: new kid on the block

Fideltus was established only in 2007 to deliberately - and somewhat contemptuously - eschew traditional financial services such as brokerage and asset management and concentrate instead on M&A/IPO advisory and debt restructuring services. In so doing it manages to encompass both the opportunities and challenges of Turkey in 2008: increasing foreign capital interested in investing in Turkey, increasing domestic need for and interest in investment, a dearth of domestic institutional investors, a mutual difficulty for domestic companies and foreign investors in knowing how best to access and work with each other, a growing financial sector adapting to all of the above.

One of the most notable aspects of the Turkish economy is quite how many of what are in essence, large and successful companies with clearly visible potential have balance sheets in need of serious repair and reform before that potential can be reached. Relative to developed economies, long-term borrowing remains limited in Turkey: very high interest rates mean that if a company stops paying its debts, they snowball. While the company may have management committed to growth and reform, they frequently lack the expertise and capital to achieve their ambitions for the company in the time they would like.

What companies like Fideltus do is leverage their knowledge of the local scene to gain the requisite level of trust needed to bring the two together: restructuring the company's debts, filtering potential international funding partners, establishing an exit strategy and advising throughout. Typically the fund will get two seats on the board, working closely with existing management to introduce to internationally-accepted structures, grow with it for a few years and bring the company to IPO or sale. A highly atypical business for a highly atypical market, companies like Fideltus may provide just what Turkey needs.

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