MOROCCO – BIM, a Turkish retail chain company, has announced the sale of 35% minority shares of the capital of its subsidiary in Morocco, Bim Stores SARL, to Blue Investment Holding, affiliated with British private equity fund Helios Investment Partners.

BIM Morocco said that the total value of the sales stands at MAD 742.10 million (US$83.2 million), with the sales price per share standing at MAD 1,000 (US$112.83).

BIM Morocco proceeded to the completion of its sales transaction with Blue Investment holding after both entities signed a sale and purchase agreement on December 9, 2020, to agree to certain jointly set details.

With the sale, the Turkish company aims to maintain and develop its stores’ current upward growth trend in Morocco and support localization with investors specialized in the Africa region to create further value, noted the company’s statement.

Since its entry into the Moroccan market in 2009, BIM has opened a number of stores in multiple cities across the country. In 2020 alone, the retail company opened 37 new stores, bringing the number of its stores in Morocco to 534.

With Bim stores opening in every corner in almost every neighborhood, the company has grown in popularity among Moroccan consumers. Also key in BIM’s growing appreciation by Moroccan consumers is that the company regularly offers discounts on a number of quality products.

Bim also employs a considerable number of Moroccan workforces, contributing to reducing the rate of youth unemployment in the country.

With four employers on average per store, BIM employs approximately 3,000 Moroccans as cashiers. The company also boasts a number of Moroccan employees in senior management and in other departments in its administration.

BIM has 534 outlets in Morocco

But many have in recent years raised concerns over the impact of BIM’s growing expansion in the Moroccan economy.

In February 2020, Morocco’s Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy declared that the retail chain does not sell Moroccan products and is causing the shutdown of many Moroccan local shops.

Elalamy especially drew attention to the economic stagnation that BIM causes to the small shops and markets near its stores.

In response, BIM said that it buys 85% of its products from Morocco while the remaining 15% are imported from Turkey.

After deliberating on the issue, BIM Chief Financial Officer Haluk Dortluoglu has pledged to increase the purchase of local Moroccan products.

BIM activities have grown at a fast pace to be a serious competitor to Morocco’s large chains, including Marjane, Aswak Assalam, and Carrefour.

But BIM’s growing activities in Morocco at the expense of small local shops were not Elalamy’s only concerns. The unbalanced trade between Morocco and Turkey also caught the attention of the Moroccan minister.

He stressed the need to review the Moroccan-Turkish Free Trade Agreement (FTA) established in 2004, explaining that the deal has resulted in a MAD 10.58 billion (US$1.2 billion) deficit for Morocco.

Elalamy also voiced concerns over Turkish textiles and their negative impact on the Moroccan textile sector, which, according to him, lost 44,000 jobs in 2017.

After informing Turkish officials of the issue, Morocco and Turkey reached a compromise and amended the FTA. The amendment falls under Bill No 54.20, which Morocco and Turkey signed in Rabat in August 2020.

The amendment concerned imposing five-year period customs duties on certain Turskh products listed in the FTA.

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