Tesco Negotiating Turkey Deal

Tesco has had a particularly tough 2012 in the UK, perhaps its toughest in recent memory following its first profit warning in about 20 years earlier in the year . The fallout from this called into question the competitiveness of its core UK operation, which for so long was the pillar of strength that allowed Tesco to take advantage of its size as the world's third largest food retailer by annual sales ( behind Walmart and Carrefour) to venture out into the emerging world.

Having arguably taken its eye of the ball to some extent in the cut throat UK retailing sector as it invested heavily in emerging market growth, Tesco is now trying to win back market share in the UK, which still accounts for about two thirds of its business. However, while rejuvenating its business at home is clearly the primary focus right now, one only needs to look at the performance of Tesco's share price against the wider global food retailing sector ( we are using our own food retail index here for comparison ) it still holds true that it can ill afford to pass on opportunities to strengthen itself in some of its most important growth markets, which after all are still likely to drive growth going forward. Tesco's Turkish unit, Tesco Kipa , is currently negotiating with the domestic retailer Uyum Gida with a view to acquiring a majority stake in the Istanbul-focused retailer with a current footprint of about 55 stores.

UK Still Drives Tesco Share Price
Tesco/BMI Food Retail Index (31-12-11=1)

Tesco, like many of the other large-cap food retailers such as Carrefour and Walmart, is acutely aware that long-term growth will have to come from emerging markets, where organised food retailing is much less developed than in the UK and US. We have made the point over the past few months that it was unlikely that Tesco would pursue any major deals over the rest of 2012 given the structural issues it is addressing in the UK .

However, Tesco is not going to suddenly stop pumping money into emerging markets. Doing so would have costs of its own as its rivals continue to expand. Uyum Gida remains a relatively peripheral player (estimated annual sales of about US$200mn) in the context of the wider food retail sector, which is dominated by discounters such as BIM and Migros Turk . Buying Gida would complement Tesco's existing business in Turkey, which is built around Kipa, which was acquired in 2003 and currently operates more than 100 stores. Given that Gida would not be hugely expensive, we believe the deal would not interfere with Tesco's primary goal of restoring confidence and growth to its UK business.

What the second chart clearly illustrates is how much bigger the UK's organised food retailing sector is compared to Turkey's. With only about half of food retailing sales presently accounted for by the organised sector in Turkey , and also taking into account its excellent long-term economic growth outlook, the pace at which retail formalises is only likely to increase over the next few years.

Turkey Growing From Much Lower Base
UK and Turkey Total Organised Food Retail Sales (US$bn)
This article is tagged to:
Sector: Food & Drink, Retail
Geography: United Kingdom, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, Turkey

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