Arçelik began to receive the first indications of the coming crisis from the market in the final quarter of 2007. The company began to take precautionary measures in line with these signals and was prepared when the crisis struck. The most important item on the agenda of Levent Çakıroğlu, who has been in the general manager’s seat for 10 months, is growth. Çakıroğlu says that in 2009 the company had a cash inflow of TL 500 million and adds: “We are closely following acquisition opportunities that will contribute to our profitability in line with our growth policies.”
Levent Çakıroğlu has been general manager of Arçelik for 10 months. Çakıroğlu says that, as a global company, they have some advantages during the crisis, explaining: “Arçelik has been active in different markets since 2000. For this reason we began to receive the preliminary warning signals of a crisis from different markets. From that moment on we began to take measures to make our company more competitive.” The most important item on Levent Çakıroğlu’s agenda is growth. A crisis erodes companies’ profits but offers opportunities for growth. Arçelik wants to benefit from global growth opportunities. Arçelik General Manager Levent Çakıroğlu spoke with Capital for the first time since he took up his post. He evaluated 2008 and explained what is on his agenda for 2009. Here are Levent Çakıroğlu’s answers to our questions:
*How much has Arçelik been affected by the crisis?
There are analysts who say that the world can perhaps only experience a crisis like this once in a lifetime. We are talking about a crisis which is much broader and much deeper than those we have seen in the past. Despite the difficulties, we closed 2008 with growth. In 2008, our consolidated total turnover stood at TL 6.8 billion. Approximately 50 percent of this came from our international operations. We achieved total growth of around 2 percent. There was a significant contraction in the Turkish market in January-February. But, due to the effect of the reduction in SCT, we began to see an upturn on the domestic market from March.
* The values of companies and assets fell. Do you have any plans on your agenda to buy a foreign company? How do you plan to continue Arçelik’s growth?
We are developing our growth plans both to determine the areas for organic growth and to evaluate strategic opportunities that may present themselves to us. We are looking both at growth in our existing markets and at strategies to enter markets in which we are not yet active. This year our company secured a cash inflow of TL 500 million, through the sale of shares in Koç Financial Services, which was one of our companies, for TL 250 million and through a capital increase of TL 250 million. We are closely following acquisition opportunities that will contribute to our profitability in line with our growth policies.
* Are you interested in any markets in particular?
We are studying markets throughout the world. In the Far East, first we went to China. This brought us closer to the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time we made a move in North America. The feedback we have received from the American market has been extremely positive. The region around Turkey is a market in which we are already strong. There are markets in which we have plans to strengthen our position or enter for the first time. We are giving priority here to the Middle East and the continent of Africa.
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Photo: Gökhan Çelebi