BIM has operated in Morocco for over 12 years.
Rabat – Turkish discount chain BIM signed a deal to sell 35% of the minority shares of its subsidiary in Morocco, BIM Stores SARL, to private equity fund Helios Investment Partners.
Turkish news outlet Daily Sabah quoted a statement from BIM today, announcing the company’s decision.
BIM Executive Board Member Haluk Dortluoglu said the Turkish retailer opened 37 new stores in 2020 alone. The new openings bring the number of the company’s stores in Morocco to 534.
“We are opening a new page in Morocco with Helios Investment Partners, a specialized investment fund in the African region, being our minority shareholder,” the BIM executive said.
The move to sell 35% of the company’s shares to the UK-based company comes after 12 years of activity in Morocco.
BIM and Helios will complete the process after details are finalized between the two companies.
The Turkish businessman said the deal with the UK-based company will make a major contribution to the company’s sustainability in the North African country.
“This agreement, which means a vote of confidence in BIM’s performance and strategy in Morocco, which is the first foreign investment, made us happy,” he added.
The statement also quoted Helios Investment Partners’ Zineb Abbad El Andaloussi, a partner at the company, who expressed satisfaction with the move and the popularity of BIM among Moroccan consumers.
She said the relationship between Moroccans and the Turkish retailer became stronger during the COVID-19 crisis.
The sale decision comes after Morocco expressed concerns regarding its economy in terms of its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Turkey.
Last year, Morocco’s Minister of Trade Moulay Hafid Elalamy said that the agreement with Turkey resulted in a $1.2 billion deficit for Morocco.
He also expressed concern about Turkish textiles and their negative impact on Morocco’s economy, saying that Morocco lost 44,000 job opportunities in the industry in 2017.
Elalamy also complained about BIM not selling Moroccan products.
BIM responded to Elalamy’s concerns, saying that the Turkish retailer only sources 15% of the products it sells in Morocco from Turkey.
Following the concerns, Morocco decided to review its free trade agreement with Turkey.
In October, Morocco’s Council of Ministers, which King Mohammed VI chaired, approved an amendment of the Morocco-Turkey FTA.
The amendment is within Bill No 54.20, which Morocco and Turkey signed on August 24.
The new text plans to impose customs duties for a five-year period on certain Turkish products listed in the agreement.
The two countries signed the FTA in 2004, and it took effect in 2006.