German firm Graf von Westphalen and Austrian firm Dorda Brugger Jordis have both established presences in Turkey, which is fast becoming a hot spot for European firms.
Graf will open an office in Istanbul at the start of October in cooperation with local outfit GSI Meridian.
Dorda has expanded its best-friends network to include a Turkey desk, which will see the firm work on a client- and project-orientated basis with a selection of independent firms in the region.
Turkey is facing an unprecedented wave of infrastructure projects and privatisations ahead of the 100th anniversary in 2023 of the establishment of the republic.
Firms can expect to be involved in an array of construction work, including approximately 50 hydro power plant projects.
“Turkey’s the economic area in Europe with the strongest growth and it’s becoming more important as a hub for Europe, Central Asia and the Arabian Peninsula,” said Graf managing partner Christof Kleinmann. “Being in China already, it seems like a logical move to make.”
In terms of the country’s energy industry, Turkey is “the new China”, according to Germany’s Focus-Money magazine.
“There’s a triangle [between Germany, Turkey and China],” said Kleinmann. “I’m a construction lawyer and my clients have been travelling to Turkey for a while. For Turkey, Germany’s one of the three most important trade partners in import and export. There are already more than 2,400 German companies investing in Turkey.” Graf’s new office will advise on inbound transactions in Turkey as well as advising Turkish companies on expanding into Europe and China.
For Dorda, the addition of the Turkey desk takes its best-friends network to more than 10.
“Turkey’s an interesting market for our clients, showing impressive growth and great promise with regard to return on investment,” said Stefan Artner, one of the two Dorda managing partners leading the new desk.
“Our cooperation underlines our commitment to clients wanting to invest in Turkey as well as to new Turkish clients in their enterprises in Austria and the CEE region.”
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s World Investment Prospects Survey 2008-2010, Turkey is the 15th most attractive destination for foreign direct investment as the climate in the country is investor-friendly, given that a company can be incorporated in an average of six days.
Kinstellar has been taking advantage of opportunities in Turkey since June 2010. The firm opened an office through the creation of an outfit by the name of CCAO. This was established by local lawyers, with financial backing from Kinstellar.
The office in Istanbul is about to acquire an extra floor, doubling its amount of space - and potential hires.
“It’s a large economy with good growth prospects,” said Charles Dunn, managing partner of CCAO’s Istanbul office. “Turkey’s becoming more important from a regional perspective.”
The country is adjacent to Kinstellar’s existing offices in Eastern and Southern Europe.
Dunn added that CCAO is seeing a mixture of M&A, private equity and finance work. Clients include ADM Capital, Yapi Kredi Bankasi and Akbank.
He highlighted the fact that the team at CCAO only practises Turkish law and said there is limited scope for offering anything else.
While Turkey is a hit with some firms, Dunn remains sceptical about the country’s ability to attract firms in large numbers.
“I’m sure more foreign law firms will open here but not too many,” he said. ”Profitability isn’t great enough.”