CONNECTING THE ECONOMY

Turkey 2020 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

Üntel Kablo makes a wide variety of cables for a range of uses and demonstrated its expertise by participating in the prestigious Istanbul Airport project.

Ali Ömer Alemdar
BIOGRAPHY

Ali Ömer Alemdar has been the General Manager of Üntel Kablo since 2013. Prior to joining Üntel, he was with the consultancy Ernst and Young, working with the finance, pharmaceutical, automotive, and advertising sectors. Alemdar is from Istanbul, but attended high school in Trabzon before returning to Istanbul to complete his degree in business administration from Istanbul University.

Üntel Kablo is well diversified across a number of cable subsectors. Could you break down your revenue stream by sector and identify from which sectors you expect to see the most growth in the near future?
In 2018, more than 30% of our revenue came from the mining industry, a quarter from the marine and offshore industry, more than 10% from industrial and instrumentation cables, and around 15% each from railways and airports. In the future, we are expecting the most growth from the mining industry. We are preparing for this by investing in our mining capabilities and increasing our certifications for the sector—we are now working for new market certifications in for different countries around the world. Having these new certifications for the mining industry will make the sector more exciting in terms of revenue and budget, both of which we expect to grow in the coming years. Relatedly, another area where we want to expand is crane cables, where many of the cable types are similar to the mining sector.

What capabilities does Üntel have in the marine sector, and in which marine subsectors are you seeing the most growth?
Üntel is a well-known brand of marine cables globally. With our high-quality products, know-how, and experience in marine cables, we had the opportunity to serve the shipbuilding and offshore industries in leading maritime countries such as Norway and the Netherlands. One of our most important projects in the marine sector was the national warship project, which is an amphibious assault ship called the TCG Anadolu. This ship was built by Sedef Shipyard, and we produced the cables for it. This was a prestigious project and is one example of our work with all the major Turkish shipyards for naval and commercial vessels.

Approximately what percentage of your annual turnover comes from exports, and which countries are most important for your sales?
Currently around 65% of our sales can be attributed to exports. We export to 70 countries across six continents. Germany, Netherlands, and the UK are the large buyers right now. We are nearly everywhere internationally, but we are positioned in different ways depending on the region. We prefer to work directly both with the end users and the big wholesalers in Europe, the UAE, and India. We have exclusive agreements with wholesalers.

What strategies have you implemented to minimize supply chain interruptions?
Europe is our main provider of raw materials, especially Italy. Most of our compounds have been imported from Italy for 15-20 years. We also import from Asia. We are always in search of new suppliers with better quality and more competitive prices. Our suppliers, like our customers, are our friends. We have worked with them for many years. Üntel is a company that does not change suppliers just to get a slightly better price. We check for new technologies and products every day with our R&D team, but we do not change suppliers often.

One of Üntel's most recent major projects was the new Istanbul Airport. How do you expect this experience to benefit the company?
We have served the industry for around 15-20 years with airport ground lighting. Üntel has certifications from all the major airport markets, including the US, Russia, and Europe. We supply our cables for nearly every airport in Turkey, including cables for new airport constructions as well as repairs. The new Istanbul Airport was a huge project. The competition was obviously really tough. Many producers around the world tried to get that project. As a domestic producer, with domestic product certification, we had an advantage. For the first phase of the airport, we delivered around 5 million meters of ground lighting cables. This was a prestigious project that boosted the Üntel brand all around the world.