KINGS OF COOL

Turkey 2014 | INDUSTRY & MINING | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Yenal Altaç, General Manager of KlimaPlus: Mitsubishi Electric Air-Conditioning Systems Distributor in Turkey, on its recent takeover by Mitsubishi and the local business environment.

Yenal Altaç
BIOGRAPHY
Yenal Altaç started his professional career in EPAR Corporation, a subsidiary of the TEBA Group Companies. During 15 years at TEBA Group, Altaç led the formation of a different air-conditioner segment in the industry. He made significant managerial contributions to various domestic and international projects. In 2004, Yenal Altaç continued his professional career as the Founding Partner and General Manager of KlimaPlus Corporation. KlimaPlus successfully serves in Turkey’s air conditioning industry with its qualified staff, which has grown from 10 to 107 over the past decade.

KlimaPlus was recently acquired by Mitsubishi Electric. What were the main factors behind this decision?

KlimaPlus was established in 2004 as the Mitsubishi Electric distributor in Turkey, and I have represented Mitsubishi Electric as distributor from the outset. In our partnership, I am both the General Manager and a Partner. As Mitsubishi Electric developed, additional business lines were added. In 2012, Mitsubishi Electric decided to increase its growth, support, and investment in Turkey, opening offices here. Other enterprises include satellite R&D—Turkey's first satellite was recently launched. Additionally, Mitsubishi Electric has become a solution partner on the Marmaray Project, which is the world's deepest undersea tunnel, and has seen the acquisition of an industrial automation systems business. Mitsubishi Electric opted to include us in its expansion plans and offered to purchase us. The process should be completed shortly, whereby KlimaPlus will continue as Mitsubishi Electric Turkey Corporation.

How will your business activities change after going from being the exclusive distributor of Mitsubishi Electric to being owned by the company?

The influence you yield in the competitive arena is very different when you are the manufacturer, rather than the distributor. It allows you greater proximity to the market to better identify its needs. Turkey works in conjunction with the energy regulation standards of the EU. We present many goods identical to those of Europe. In a land where Western and Eastern cultures intersect, there are at times variances in needs. Behind us is Eastern culture and before us, the direction we are facing, is Western culture. There is a difference between Japanese and European products, even between Chinese and Indian products, because the needs and lifestyle of different regions can vary. In order to better understand market needs and develop products accordingly, Mitsubishi Electric recognized the potential of moving forward arm in arm with us.

As the regulations for energy efficiency in this country incorporate those of the EU, how do you see this affecting the market domestically?

Currently, Turkey's energy consumption system is not completely on par with European standards. At Mitsubishi Electric, we have already applied seasonal efficiency criteria and implemented them in our air-conditioning units. The energy efficiency of appliances is rated in terms of a set of energy efficiency classes, from A to F, with Class A being the most efficient, and Class F the least. A decade ago, goods that were at much lower energy efficiency levels, some even in the E, F, and even G Class, were being sold. When we started operations, R-22 gas and other gases harmful to the ozone layer were still in use. Around the same time, we penetrated the market with our products, which were produced with ozone friendly R-410 gas at a higher quality. At the time, local manufacturers and most competitors continued to manufacture and sell products that contained R-22 gas, and about 98% of the market was operating at that level. We realized that our preferred path was developing faster. The importation of R-22 for use in consumer goods was subsequently banned. The proportion of Class-A goods increased, and inverter air conditioners became more popular. This entire structure is evolving; soon the minimum energy efficiency performance will be Class A. In many ways, A+, A++, and A+++, will be the new standards, with A+++ being the most energy efficient. Income levels are a factor in this. Incomes in Turkey are increasing, as are investments. Turkey has a young population, the average employee age at our company is 30 years of age, and consequently our environmental awareness is high.