Ömer Yüngül is Zorlu Holding’s first CEO. He took up his post 18 months ago. Yüngül, who initiated a process of corporate institutionalization at this giant company, says that in 2013 they had turnover of $5 billion. “This year we shall grow by at least 10 per cent,” says Yüngül and adds that in the next five years they will invest more than $1 billion.
“We have mega projects that we have developed but not yet announced. We shall announce them towards the end of this year. In fact, I can say that they are in the nickel business,” he says. Ömer Yüngül, Zorlu Holding’s first CEO, answered Capital’s questions.
You are Zorlu Holding’s first CEO. How as the decision taken?
It was planned four years ago. There were certain conditions. We waited for these conditions to develop. In fact, in practice, I have been in my post since October 2012. The development of the holding, the completion of corporate institutionalization and the positioning of the family were needed...
These are important processes. They take time. We needed to change the modes of doing business and to organize people. We are pleased with how things are going at the moment.
Has Mr. Ahmet Zorlu completely withdrawn from the management? How much is he involved in the business?
Of course, he cannot withdraw completely. He is both an entrepreneur and a very active businessman. But no one person can shoulder a business of this magnitude. It definitely needs a professional structure.
And the number of members of the third generation is increasing. In the future, the number of family shareholders will increase still further. Our greatest aims are to organize all of these things and to draw up our own constitution.
What are your priorities?
The holding has a number of basic functions. We have established a strategic investment and planning department for the first time. Next we shall turn to the IT system. We have focused on corporate communications and control. We are identifying the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on a sectoral basis.
We have taken one sector as a pilot. We have been applying things there for the last 18 months. According to the results of this, we shall try to facilitate all of the sectors being managed and controlled by the same KPIs.
In order to be able to monitor the central structure, I mean the structure of the holding, all of the companies in the group need to be speaking the same language in terms of systems in order for there not to be any problems when it comes to consolidated the company tables. We are trying to trying to ensure that the systems of Vestel and our textile group are compatible with those of the other companies. We are reviewing and simplifying all the processes.
How was 2013?
The turbulence continues. We have not made any changes at all to our normal programs. We have not made any revisions to the existing investment activities budgets of our companies. Overall, we have stuck to all of our targets. In 2013, we had turnover of $5 billion and exports of $2.75 billion. In 2014 our existing business will grow by at least 10 per cent. In some areas this rate will reach 25 percent. Our operating profits were around $150 million. In 2013 we increased the size of our workforce to 23,000.
Do you have plans to increase your investments in real estate?
Yes. We have certain plots of land. There will be new major projects there. We are looking to add a different dimension to Büyükdere Caddesi through our A Plus office center Levent 199. There will be hotel and housing projects on our own land in Marmaris, Izmir and Çeşme.
How are your investments in nickel mining going?
In fact it is petrochemicals or mining and metallurgy sector. It will probably be one of the plants of which Turkey will be most proud. The first phase has been completed and will begin production in the second half of the year. The investment has a total value of around $400 million. It will be completely finished within six years.
The first phase has finished. I would estimate that we shall start the second phase at around this time next year. The plant still has not been opened but we have sold all of the products. Three years’ of products have been sold to the USA, Europe and China.
What kind of revenue will you create?
At the end of six years, we shall have exports of close to $1 billion. As a group, over the next five years we shall invest much more than $1 billion. We have mega projects that we have developed but not yet announced. We shall announce them towards the end of this year. In fact, I can say that they are in the nickel business,
What was Vestel’s performance like in exports?
Vestel has been Turkey’s export champion in consumer electronics for the last 16 years. We export 75 per cent of our production to 145 countries. We are one of the three main players in the LCD TV market in Europe.
In 2013 Vestel realized total exports of TL 4.7 billion. At Vestel City we produce 76,000 products a day and 15 million electrical and 7 white goods every year. We have a huge R&D cadre of 1,000 people. We allocate 2 percent of our annual turnover to R&D.
How is 2014 going?
Everyone is talking about growth but I look at two indicators. The first is the per capita or total volume of electrical goods use. If electrical goods consumption is going well then the business is going well. The second is Atatürk Airport. If there is a queue at check-in at 6-9 in the morning and the number of women in the airport increases after 9 in the morning then this means that welfare levels are going well. I have criteria like this.
So how do you see 2014 when you look at these criteria?
The consumption of electrical goods is not going very well. But it will increase. I don’t think that 2014 will be very bad. Things will begin to sort themselves out towards the second half of the year. My most important criterion is the consumption of electrical goods.
I see the airport better. What affects us most are fluctuations in the foreign currency cross-rates and the Euro/TL rate. Turkey cannot grow quickly with Europe. We definitely need to turn in another direction. What is important is China and its neighborhood. Growth there may upset the balances in the world as a whole.
What capacity have you reached in energy?
As Zorlu Enerji we have established capacity of 877 MW. At the moment, the proportion of domestic and renewable energy project in our portfolio has reached 45 per cent. In 2015, our total established capacity including both Turkey and Pakistan will be 922 MW.