Güler Sabancı, the chair of the board of Sabancı Holding, says: “A new era is starting in Turkey.” She says that in this era Sabancı will grow rapidly. “We grew 20 percent in 2005 and we shall achieve the same rate in 2006,” she says. Then she outlined the holding’s new targets for every sector in which it is active from finance to banking, foodstuffs and automotives.
Güler Sabancı, chair of the board of directors of Sabancı Holding, spoke about many subjects including how they view the sectors in which they are active, their growth plans for these sectors and more; and she also commented on criticism they have received. Here is what Güler Sabancı told Capital:
WE ARE OPEN TO OPPORTUNITIES AT AKBANK
There is significant potential for growth in finance. The success that Akbank has achieved in this important sector over the last two years is plain to see. We are very happy with the results of the last two years. At the moment, we are the bank which provides the most loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. We are very happy with this situation. But of course as forward-looking business people we are not closed to opportunities which may occur in the future. It does not matter whether they are foreign or domestic.
In addition, we also have other interests in finance in Ak Sigorta (insurance) and Ak Emeklilik (private pension fund). Both these businesses are going well. We have possibilities for growth at Ak Sigorta. An opportunity has presented itself to us in the form of Başak Sigorta. We are going for that. The field in which Ak Emeklilik is active is a new one in Turkey. As a result, everything is going very successfully there for us.
WE SHALL DOUBLE IN SIZE IN RETAILING
We have two businesses in retailing. One of these is our partnership with Carrefour. We have no differences of opinion with our partners at Carrefour. Our group president Haluk Dincer has a very good dialogue with the team at Carrefour and they think in the same way. As a result, I can say that we have a growth plan which is very serious, even aggressive.
The first step is Gima. Indeed, compared with the plan we have made with Carrefour Gima even looks small. In the next 3-5 five years we shall double in size.
“A NEW STRUCTURE IS FORMING IN FOODSTUFFS”
Foodstuffs is a field to which we give importance. We have a long-established business in Marsa. We were partners in Marsa with Kraft. Now they are now longer involved in oils anyway in the world. We are buying out their shares. Marsa will now become 100 percent owned by Sabancı and will become part of Gidasa.
Gidasa will be the umbrella organisation for the Marsa, Piyale, Saka, Deren and Ömür brands and their related products. Gidasa will be the new umbrella. We shall not increase the number of our foodstuffs brands. We shall stay with our main brands. You may see new categories in the main brands. We are not currently planning more diversity in the main brands. We are making an investment related to Piyale in Hendek.
“WE ARE LOOKING FOR A PARTNERSHIP IN TEXTILES”
Unfortunately, mainly as the result of competition from China, the textile sector does not look attractive, particularly from the perspective of the capital markets and investors. But the two businesses we have here, namely Bossa and Yünsa, are today the two most productive businesses in their sectors in Turkey.
Yünsa has begun to produce intelligent products and intelligent processes in its own group. For example, it makes intelligent fabrics. This is the direction in which the world is moving. In addition, Yünsa exports a significant proportion of its output. These businesses of ours are profitable and we are happy with their performance. But the possibilities for cooperation in these areas are continuing to increase. The world is moving towards partnerships. As a result, we are also open to and examining the possibilities for cooperation. The Far East is a market which is very advanced in this regard. Our location means that we are very close to Europe. We are conducting studies on what kind of strategic cooperation is possible. I mean, this is one of the businesses which we shall continue.
“WE ARE MAKING INVESTMENTS IN AUTOMOTIVES”
We have a group we makes what we call tyre reinforcing materials. We also included automotives there. At Temsa we are manufacturing our own brand of bus. Today we are building up a significant market share in Europe. We are happy with the way things are going. Our quality and brand are becoming established. In addition, we also manufacture the Mitsubishi Canter at Temsa. This product is well suited to Turkey, which is growing steadily. We are growing and investing in this business.
In addition to this, we are marketing Toyota products. Today Toyota Marketing is one of the most successful companies in its field in Turkey.
The industry-intensive side of the business includes tyres. We have a partnership with Bridgestone. We are doubling our capacity. I mean, since Brisa was established our production capacity has reached 100,000 tons. In the next five years are going to increase this to 150-160,000 tons. I mean, 100,000 tons in 30 years and 160,000 tons in another five years. These are significant figures. We are producing two brands here.
“WE SHALL ENTER ENERGY TENDERS”
Energy is a business which we first entered during my time as head of the group. Today our company, which is called Enerjisa, has a capacity of 2 percent of the Turkey market. We are small. I want to expand this business. We know that energy production and distribution need to go together. Over the next year there will be distribution tenders. We see it as the sector of the future. We are working and making plans accordingly. I believe that we shall be successful. In terms of new businesses, this is what we have in our portfolio. As I said, there is potential for growth in all our businesses.
“WE SHALL TRIPLE IN SIZE OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS”
Both Sabancı and Turkey successfully overcame periods of crisis. But now a new era is beginning. This new era demands a new understanding of management and we need opportunities for growth and expansion. We have restructured our concept of management accordingly. In any case, you will see this when our growth figures are finalised. In 2005 Sabancı Holding grew by around 20 percent. In 2006 I am expecting a similar level of growth. At the SA15 meeting, my friends say that as Sabancı Holding we shall triple in size over the next 10 years.
IN WHICH SECTORS CAN SABANCI HOLDING BE A REGIONAL POWER?
THE CHANCES OF BEING A REGIONAL PLAYER One needs to look at every business according to its own dimensions. I see that we can become a serious regional player in the bus business. In any case, we are heading in that direction in this business. In addition, it appears that we shall become a significant regional player in our retailing business. There is also the potential for us to become a regional power in the cement business. When we say regional we are, of course, talking about a large area. For example, in cement we are talking about an area from Spain to Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. As a result, we have the chance to become a serious regional player in certain of our businesses. We shall make them regional players.
WE SHALL DO WHAT IS REQUIRED BY THE BUSINESS
Some of our businesses will be neither global nor regional. Not every business has to be like this. We shall do whatever is required by the business. Our target is not to become global or regional. Our target is to ensure continuous growth and continuous profitability. A company cannot have a strategy of having foreign partners. If the business requires a foreign partner then one is taken. I mean, this is how it is with foreign capital, and being global or regional. One does whatever the business requires.