It is 62 years since Koç formed Turkey’s first foreign partnership with General Electric. Turkish groups which have followed the path laid out by Vehbi Koç are picking up speed by increasing the number of their foreign partnerships. The synergy that has been created forms a driving force for growth. Today Koç Holding has 17 foreign partners, the Eczacıbaşı Group has 12 and Sabancı Holding has 10. The target is to have more partners.
It was Vehbi Koç who was the first in Turkey to establish a partnership with a foreign company. In 1946, Koç set off for America and did not return with empty hands. He signed an agreement with General Electric to build Turkey’s first ever light bulb factory.
This investment was Turkey’s first joint venture with American capital and did not just make Vehbi Koç happy. It also opened up a completely new concept for the Turkish business community.
Those on Turkey who, as a result of world developments, are focusing on globalization have adopted a strategy of forming partnerships with multinational giants.
When we look at the largest groups in Turkey today, we see that -- in the areas in which they are most ambitious -- they are each moving forward with strong foreign partnerships. A clear demonstration of this is the fact that Koç Holding has 17 foreign partnerships, the Eczacıbaşı Group 12 and Sabancı Holding 10.
Look Warmly On New Ones The Eczacıbaşı Group was established in 1985 as part of a strategy of being global. In the same year, it became a partner with the American Tambrands in order to produce diapers and sanitary towels. Over time, it signed new partnership agreements in every area in which it wanted to grow. By 1998, the number of the group’s foreign partners had reached 13.
Today, the Eczacıbaşı Group consists of 40 companies and continues to have 12 foreign partners. Eczacıbaşı’s most important foreign partnerships are in the rapidly growing building materials sector. The German Villeroy & Boch has a 49 percent stake in V & B Filesen in the group’s construction products group, and the Belgian Koramic Investment Group has a 50 percent share in the construction chemicals company, EKY Eczacıbaşı Koramic Yapı Kimyasallari. Approximately 30 percent of Eczacıbaşı’s total turnover goes to its foreign partners.
It Has Doubled The Number Of Its Partners Over the years, Borusan Holding has doubled the number of its foreign partners. The holding now has four foreign partners, compared with two 10 years ago.
The German Mannesmann has a 23 percent stake in Borusan’s pipe activities. Arcelor Mittal has a 46 percent share in its flat steel company. The German Giwa has a 50 percent stake in the Holding’s Borusan Otomotiv. The holding and Manheim of the USA each have a 50 percent share in the partnership which auctions second-hand cars.
Foreign partnerships have brought a lot to Borusan Holding. Borusan Holding CEO Agah Uğur says: “In addition, the market references of our partners, who are regarded with great respect in the world, creates added value for us on international markets. Our partnership with Manheim, which is the global leader, will provide us with benefits in this regard in the second-hand automotive markets which we recently established.”
Foreigners Account For One Third Of Its Turnover Kibar Holding compeises 23 companies which are active in eight main sectors. Three of the 23 have foreign partners. The Hyundai Motor Company owns 70 percent of Hyundai, while Kibar Holding’s share is 30 percent. The South Korean Hyundai Corporation and Posttrade Co. are partners in Assan Hyundai Çelik. Kibar Holding owns 60 percent of the shares in this company, while the other partners own the remaining 40 percent. The third company is the 50-50 joint venture which was established with the Swiss Sicpa Group last year and which began its commercial life under the name of Sicpa Assan Ürün Güvenliği. This company provides high-tech solutions for brand security and monitoring and follow-up systems.
In 2007, Kibar Holding had a turnover of US$3 billion, of which its foreign partners accounted for US$980 million.
Kibar Holding CEO Ali Kibar is pleased with the partnerships they have formed and the results they have achieved. He says that, in the automotive sector, foreign partnerships given them added value through infrastructure and knowledge of production technology. He says that he wants to increase the number of their foreign partnerships in the future. “There will be partnerships in the iron and steel and packaging sectors in particular,” he says.