Friday, February 03, 2006

Turkey, against the beer

IF FOREIGNERS needed any reminding that investing in Turkey is risky, they should look no further than the beer industry. Over the past two years taxes on beer have risen by a huge 450%, to three-and-a-half times the European Union average.
After the latest increase, Denmark’s Carlsberg, which entered the
market with a $220m investment in 2001, accused the government of
reneging on promises not to put taxes up. With a can of Turkish beer
now costing over 15% more than its equivalent at a British supermarket,
“it’s obvious that sales will go down and therefore so too will the
government’s tax revenues,” says Muhtar Kent, boss of Turkey’s biggest
brewer, Anadolu Efes Pilsen. And it is not just the brewers who are
crying into their beer. Taxes on wine, whisky and other spirits have
risen at similarly dizzying rates. Only raki, the national drink, has been spared, with an increase in duties of around 150% in the past couple of years.

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