Yaşar Holding is forging ahead under a new CEO. Mehmet Aktaş, who has been with the company for 13 years, took over as CEO in July. He has some difficult targets ahead of him. But he is very upbeat. He is now making expansion plans for Yaşar Holding, which has recovered as a result of the changes it has implemented since 2000. He is particularly upbeat about 2011 and afterwards. He says that their turnover will double over the next five years.
Yaşar Holding was one of the holdings which caught the expansion bug in the late 1990s. After losing Yaşarbank, its flagship in the financial sector, in 2000, the debts that it had accumulated meant that it went through some very difficult days. While all the markets were asking how many pieces Yaşar Holding would split into and which company would buy it, it was regaining its strength by implementing radical changes. Mehmet Aktaş, who is one of the executives who lived through all of these changes, is today sitting in the CEO’s chair. We spoke with Aktaş about the point the Yaşar Group has reached today.
What has happened in the six months since you became CEO?
In 2000 we engaged the McKinsey consulting company to advise us on management and operations. We worked extensively on operations. We conducted an evaluation on the sectors in which we could be successful. We withdrew from the beer, packaging and construction businesses. We collected under the same roof those of our companies which were working in similar areas.
What kind of strategy will you follow?
In terms of strategy, we shall again pursue a policy of rapid growth in foodstuffs, soft drinks, agricultural production and paints. We have no intention of entering a new sector. As a holding, we grew by 25 percent in 2007. Our consolidated net sales reached US$1.5 billion. We forecast that this figure will rise to US$3 billion in 2012. We are aiming to grow by 10-15 percent every year until 2012.
What are you working on in terms of innovation?
We attach great importance to innovation. In addition to introducing improvements, we are also developing new products and implementing changes in our business models. Innovative nanotechnologies are very effective in the group, particularly in Dyo. In paints, over the last three years approximately 40 percent of our total sales have been in innovative products. We allocate approximately 2 percent of our turnover to R&D.
If we could come to your investment plans?
We plan to invest US$60-70 million a year over the next five years. Foodstuffs, soft drinks and agricultural production will account for 70-80 percent of this total investment. We want to increase our profitability by another 2-3 percent from its current level of 13 percent.