The Business Year

Bülent Üzümcü

General Manager, Turkish Sugar Factories (Türkşeker)

We have 25 sugar factories spread out over 55 provinces, and we employ up to 85,700 farmers, with 132 regional agriculture offices, and 249 sugar beet sales points. Türkşeker was ranked the second largest public company and the 16th largest company overall among the country’s top 500 companies, with an annual turnover of TL2.75 billion in 2013. In 2013, we produced 1.27 million tons of sugar. In 2014, we aim to produce 1.3 million tons of sugar and 369,000 tons of molasses. There are eight sugar-producing companies in Turkey, and we account for 65% of all sugar production from beets. We also produced 6.57 million liters of ethanol in 2013. Last year was perhaps the most productive in the history of the republic, thanks mainly to favorable climactic conditions. In Turkey, as with the EU, sugar is produced in limited quantities based on a certain prescribed quota set by a sugar board, which includes the representatives of all the major sugar producers. In order to increase foreign interest and attract FDI, Turkey needs to reduce costs, develop marketing techniques, and make an effort to show that the Turkish sugar sector is profitable and worthy of investment.

Güneş Karababa

Director for Turkey, Middle East & Africa, Barilla

Since 2010, Turkey has become a hub for MENA operations of Barilla. We have a plant in Bolu with a capacity of 120,000 tons of pasta, which is also used as a product source for the Middle East and Africa. With 42 plants around the world, Barilla has a well-developed network. The company views Turkey as a springboard for the MENA region. Together with our leading international brands, we also manage a local brand ”Filiz” within our portfolio. In contrast to many multinationals, our principle is to maintain local brands and help them flourish as each brand owns some aspects of the local culture. One of the key principles at Barilla is local sourcing. From that perspective, we have roughly 30,000 acres of arable land and cooperate with 100 farmers to produce the wheat used by Barilla. We more or less have a 50% higher yield than the national average, and we share our modern agriculture expertise with the state. Barilla is the market leader in Turkey with a 28.7% value share as of 2013. More efficient irrigation will mean larger fields, and the potential to truly boost Turkey’s agricultural output.

Sabri Gülel

General Manager, Sabri Gülel

Working families need meals that can be prepared in 15 minutes or less. We are moving further away from traditional meals, which are both time-consuming and complicated to prepare. The shift then is clearly toward more practical and instant foods. These three important criteria: a stable national economy, a young and growing population, and the shifting of our eating habits have caught the interest of international investors. Turkey’s geographical location is an asset. It has a strong image in the region; North Africa, the Turkic republics, and the Middle East have a combined population of close to 550 million people. This reputation has caught the interest of many, and should continue to interest foreign investors. It is a source of esteem to have “Produced in Turkey” stamped on a product.

Özcan Albak

Member of the Board, Namet

Traditionally, in this country, women were, and to some extent still are, in charge of the home and the kitchen. Now though, they are spending more time at work and less time in the kitchen and want quick and easy food to serve. The only way that you can keep that kind of fresh meat product on the shelf for seven to nine days is by using what we call modified atmosphere packing (MAP), and the trend in this direction is extremely strong. Namet is the biggest meat trader in the country. After almost 40 years in the meat sector, we intimately know the market, the quality of meat and animals, and which animals yield the right meat-to-bone ratio. In 2005, we decided to purchase the Namet Delicatessen Company, and to invest in a new state-of-art production facility in Çayırova, Kocaeli province. We distribute through various channels. We lead in the tourism sector in terms of hotels, restaurants, and catering. From the Dardanelles to the Syrian border, we serve the majority of hotels, and are the leading supplier for international brands such as Burger King, Domino’s, Sbarro, and Little Caesars.

Dursun Oğuz Gürsoy

Chairman, Hazelnut Promotion Group

Turkey has been producing 75% of the global hazelnut total, with an annual average of 650,000 tons, meaning $1.8 billion in annual exports to over 112 countries around the world. Almost three-quarters of exports are destined for Europe, and about 10% for the US. Hazelnuts grow on the northern coast of Turkey stretching from the Georgian border to Istanbul. Two million people are directly involved in hazelnut production, and five million overall are indirectly engaged in the sector. Export and local markets led to a total turnover of $2.5 billion in 2013. Turkish hazelnuts grow across 700,000 hectares. However, the yield is only one ton per hectare. That is nothing when compared to countries like the US, Italy, or Spain, whose yield is twice that of ours. We must increase our efficiency without enlarging the planted areas. We allocate certain investments to R&D. Our 2014 export target is $1.8 billion.

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