The group's new CEO ZAFER KURTUL does not agree with this opinion. "Every decision is taken according to prevailing conditions," he says. He says that they are targeting faster growth for the future. At Sabancı performance is measured by market value. Kurtul points out that Sabancı's net asset size of $15.5 billion makes it the leader in Turkey and says that they are aiming to raise this to $25 billion in 2015 and $40 billion in 2020. "We are looking at all opportunities, organic and inorganic," he says. We spoke with Sabancı Group CEO Zafer Kurtul about the group's future plans
You have been CEO for nine months. What was Sabancı like when you took over?
- I saw that Sabancı Holding had a very high growth potential. I saw that we had a very good team. We have 12 publicly owned companies. The total market value of our companies represents 12 percent of the total value of the Istanbul Stock Exchange. In 2010 our companies made investments worth $1.1 billion. We are very strong financially. We have a very low debt ratio and this boosts the potential for growth.
The first 100 days are an important learning process for CEOs. How long is the learning process at a group like Sabancı?
- This was a very productive time for me. Working with a strong team reduces the learning period. We are active in several different sectors. Of course, considerable knowledge and experience is necessary in order to understand and manage them. We have now begun the process of making three- and ten-year projections for our companies.
It is said that you have introduced changes in the group's strategy in terms of attitudes towards profitability and growth. Has there really been such a change?
- There have been no changes in our main strategies. Every CEO aims to be successful in terms of both growth and profitability. When we succeed in both, then we can increase our share value still further while creating value for our shareholders. Our goal is to increase our net asset value. 75 percent of our portfolio is publicly owned. 55 percent of this is Akbank's portfolio and 45 percent belongs to the other companies in the group. Our goal is increase our non-banking portfolio and, over time, raise the share of the other sectors to 60 percent. This will result in a more balanced structure. Akbank will continue to grow, of course. But we have to ensure that the rest of the portfolio grows faster. We need to evaluate both organic and inorganic growth opportunities very well.