INORGANIC EXPANSION

Turkey 2020 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

In line with its plans for expansion, Ak-Kim is looking at acquisitions to grow the company further and even go public.

Onur Kipri
BIOGRAPHY

Onur Kipri has been the General Manager and a board member of Ak-Kim since 2014 and was appointed an executive board member of Akkök Holding, Ak-Kim's parent company, in 2019. Prior to joining Ak-Kim, he worked at Organik Kimya as a sales manager and then as managing director. Kipri is also a board member of Akkim's subsidiaries Gizem Frit and Dinox Handels GmbH. He graduated from Boğaziçi University with a business administration degree.

Ak-Kim has recently diversified its business through the acquisitions of Gizem Frit, Dinox, and Mega Color. What motivated these three acquisitions?
In January 2015, we acquired Gizem Frit, a completely separate business from what we do at Ak-Kim. Gizem Frit is successful in the high-performance coating field. It is the most important player in the Turkish market, with 70% market share. Globally, it is among the top-three companies in the field. About 60% of its products are exported, which is important for Ak-Kim because we were previously low on exports. Dinox is a chemical distribution company based in Dortmund, Germany. It was more of an integration for us to get closer to the customer and create new opportunities. It was a natural expansion for us. Finally, through Gizem Frit, we acquired Mega Color in 2017. It is located in Castellón, Spain, one of the largest areas for ceramic production in the world. The ceramic industry is now using jet printing technology, making this acquisition complementary to our product range. Mega Color has two subsidiaries, one in China, and one in Mexico, which are helping improve exports.

Among Ak-Kim's sectors of involvement, where do you expect to see the most growth in demand in the near future?
Our paper products and water treatment segments are growing quickly. We are active in two growing segments in paper: tissue and recycled paper. Looking at growth in water treatment, we see new water treatment plants being developed all around the world. Water stress is coming, and it will get increasingly severe. Another area we are also working heavily on is the composite industry, or products such as carbon fiber. We have a sister company, DowAksa, with which we have a number of R&D projects involving composite chemicals. We have already produced some important products for that company.

What complementary or entirely new business lines is Ak-Kim developing?
We have a few mature and developing business, such as textiles, paper, construction, and water treatment. Each group has about 50-100 different products. Part of the job is to constantly improve these products. We always need new products to complete the product rage and develop new complementary products. These are ongoing, though some projects are more difficult than others. Some could require small tweaks and others could require entirely new innovations. We also have projects in completely new industries or businesses. One of these is plastics. Turkey is a large consumer of plastic products and perhaps ranks third in the world for plastic imports as well as PVC consumption. We are developing these products from scratch. This is a big industry, and we must do something. Most performance additives are imported. Another area is the composite industry, and we have been selling finish oils and such. The chemical business is a long-term business.

What are your most important expansion plans in the coming three to five years?
We are starting an investment in hydrogen peroxide. We are one of two players in Turkey. We had 40,000 tons of capacity and are investing in another 40,000 tons of capacity. Demand for this product is growing globally, and this is one of our important projects. We are also after some inorganic growth initiatives. The target of the company is to make acquisitions, especially in Europe, in the EUR300-400 million range. It could be something with synergies or something new. We have a few targets in mind. We want to acquire one of these assets, combine it with our existing EUR300-million company, and eventually grow to a EUR600-700-million company. We can also attempt an IPO, probably in Europe. This is the big vision for the next three to four years. We need to identify the correct targets and raise the capital over the next year, and then we will work on merging companies and optimizing the business. The acquisition will more than double the size of the company.