For years the global furniture giant IKEA had not come to Turkey. Despite the entreaties of a large number of companies and groups they stuck by their decision. When they announced their investment plans they received 227 different applications for partnerships from Turkey. This major competition was won by the Maya group, one of the secret giants of Turkey. The group board chairman Nuri Özsüer says: “In the next five years we plan to open five stores in provinces such as Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara.”
Nuri Özsüer is Board Chairman of Mapa Mobilya, one of the companies in the Maya group. At the same time he is the leading name in the IKEA operation which has been talked about for the last year. He is known for his efforts to bring IKEA to Turkey. Özsüer says that the Maya Group, which has caught the eye with its activities in the fields of textiles, soap and real estate, has been planning this new investment for many years.
IKEA’s Turkey operation includes an investment of $60 million just for its store in Ümraniye. This investment will be increased with the five new stores that will be opened in the next four years. We spoke with Nuri Özsüer about Maya Holding and the process of the agreement with IKEA and the impact of this new investment on the market.
How many companies and participations are there in the Maya Companies Group?
If it is necessary to divide the group up, then we can say that there are three different parts. The first is the participations. The second is the development of real estate, that is construction operations. One could call the third group retailing. Our participations can be listed as İNSA, that is to say İstanbul Naylon Sanayi, Birgi Sanayi and Atlaş El Aletleri ve Dökme Çelik Sanayi. Within the group we are continuing operations with eight companies.
How did IKEA and Maya get together?
During the crisis we took the decision to invest in a number of different sectors. We decided to make investments in the retailing sector as part of our future oriented 5-10 year plans. For this reason we can say that the decision to make an investment in the high volume retailing area was part of the long-term strategy we set in 2002. In this period, together with two foreign friends, we spent a considerable amount of time developing this business. The slowdown and the search for new areas that resulted from the crisis period were what pushed us in this direction.
What is the situation with IKEA? In the end IKEA knows the Turkish market. I believe that it has been doing business here with many suppliers.
Yes. IKEA has been buying goods from Turkey since 1980. As a result, it already knew the market. They had already studied the market. They were waiting for the right time to make an investment. A total of 227 companies applied to be partners with IKEA’s operation in Turkey. But here human relations are very important. It is not possible to secure this business just by being big. In the end foreigners want to work with people who will commit themselves to the business. We worked on this business for approximately 18 months. I imagine that they were influenced by this.
At present, IKEA is active in how many places and countries across the world?
At the moment it has 213 different outlets in 33 countries. It works with approximately 150 procurement office. In Turkey it has just one procurement office. It procures goods through this procurement office.
How much have you invested in the operation in Turkey?
This first store cost $60 million. We plan to open another two stores in the next two years. I would estimate that these will cost $70-80 million. The stores will have different contents according to the region. The first store in Ümraniye will be one of our largest.