Turkey still on the radar for in­vest­ments: SATS


SATS Ltd., Sin­ga­pore’s largest ground han­dling and in­flight cater­ing com­pany, is look­ing at in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in Turkey within the scope of its global growth strat­egy. SATS Ltd. Food So­lu­tions Pres­i­dent Tan Chuan Lye said that the Sin­ga­pore gov­ern­ment’s strat­egy for growth is in­ter­na­tion­ally-ori­ented and Turkey is on their radar.

Tan gave an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view to DUNYA Ex­ec­u­tive dur­ing his visit to Turkey for the for the 50th an­niver­sary year of bi­lat­eral diplo­matic re­la­tions. Tan stated that their over­all strat­egy is to “feed and con­nect the Asia Pa­cific re­gion.”

“We want to of­fer food so­lu­tions to all sec­tors in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion, in­clud­ing avi­a­tion. We are talk­ing about ex­pand­ing our ex­per­tise in ground ser­vices by link­ing the re­gion to­gether,” he said.

SATS pro­vides ground han­dling ser­vices in avi­a­tion, air­freight, air­port se­cu­rity and in­flight cater­ing. Apart from avi­a­tion, the com­pany op­er­ates the cruise ter­mi­nal in Sin­ga­pore to

gether with its part­ner Creuers del Port de Barcelona and also pro­vides cater­ing ser­vices to sec­tors such as health, army, ed­u­ca­tion and events. Start­ing out as a rel­a­tively small busi­ness, SATS to­day op­er­ates in more than 60 lo­ca­tions in 13 coun­tries, mainly in Asia, Tan said. “In­done­sia and Malaysia are the lead­ing coun­tries with 15 air­ports. In In­dia, we of­fer in-flight cater­ing at 7 lo­ca­tions and ground ser­vices at 5 lo­ca­tions. The great­est con­tri­bu­tion in size and in­come comes from In­dia,” he said.

Look­ing lo­cally and long term

Tan noted that the com­pany’s in­ter­est in Turkey is not new. “Turkey is also a part of Asia and is in a good lo­ca­tion, es­pe­cially for our cargo busi­ness, to in­crease our con­nec­tions. We can use a com­mon plat­form for shar­ing pas­sen­ger in­for­ma­tion and de­liv­er­ing cargo and bag­gage with the sup­port of dig­i­tal­iza­tion,” he said.

Defin­ing their busi­ness in­vest­ment phi­los­o­phy as “act­ing with lo­cal part­ners for long term goals,” Tan said that the com­pany op­er­ated on this phi­los­o­phy ev­ery­where it has op­er­a­tions, adding it would be look­ing at such op­por­tu­ni­ties in Turkey as well.

Un­daunted by strug­gling economies

Turkey’s eco­nomic prob­lems do not con­sti­tute an obstacle, Tan said. “We need to be able to man­age the risk in our in­vest­ments be­cause we look at long term. We do not turn our back on op­por­tu­ni­ties just be­cause the coun­try is suf­fer­ing eco­nom­i­cally. This is not unique to Turkey. Economies ev­ery­where can en­ter such a cy­cle. The Sin­ga­pore gov­ern­ment’s strat­egy also fo­cuses on other coun­tries for growth. Turkey is among the in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tions in this re­gard. Turkey not only at­tracts at­ten­tion from Sin­ga­pore, but also many coun­tries be­cause of its lo­ca­tion and avi­a­tion in­vest­ments, such as the new air­port. We are es­pe­cially look­ing at op­por­tu­ni­ties that will arise in avi­a­tion.”

SATS, which has 17,000 em­ploy­ees, had an an­nual turnover of 1.8 bil­lion Sin­ga­pore dol­lars in the fis­cal year end­ing April 2019. Serv­ing 124 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in the same pe­riod, the com­pany served 167 mil­lion meals for a to­tal of 682,000 flights. On the cargo side, a to­tal of 5.5 mil­lion tons of cargo was trans­ported, mainly in Sin­ga­pore.

Came up with claims that SATS would re­place DO & CO

In 2017, there were ru­mors that ne­go­ti­a­tions had be­gun be­tween SATS and Turk­ish Air­lines (THY) for the new air­port even while Turk­ish Air­lines re­mained con­trac­tu­ally ob­li­gated to Do & Co. Then THY made a state­ment to the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Plat­form that a good-will agree­ment had been signed with SATS In­vest­ments Pte. Ltd., a SATS af­fil­i­ate, af­ter which the term of the agree­ment was ex­tended with another an­nounce­ment. The agree­ment was ter­mi­nated on July 18. A cou­ple of days be­fore the can­cel­la­tion, THY Gen­eral Man­ager Bi­lal Eksi had made state­ments that the air­line looked at SATS af­ter it made a very at­trac­tive of­fer in terms of fi­nanc­ing but that THY was pleased with DO&CO, which has won awards for THY in cater­ing.

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