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.