Akfen Holding Chairman of the Board of Directors Hamdi Akın:
‘AS TURKEY GROWS WE ARE MOTIVATED TO INVEST’
We are leaving behind the year 2017, in which politically-based social developments have been at the forefront in Turkey and the world. The global agenda in 2017 was occupied by wars, clashes, political crises, terror attacks, accidents and natural disasters.
The negative repercussions of the environment which has arisen after the civil war in our neighbor Syria, with which we have a 911 km-long land border, constituted the most important matter on our country’s agenda.
Some negative factors have been generated by the continued intense wave of human migration from the region towards Turkey, because of the terror environment resulting from the vacuum of authority at our border.
Turkey’s economic performance in 2016 will be remembered as a period of recovery in the first half of the year, followed by a time where the country drifted away from its targets due to political developments, both global and in Turkey’s surrounding region. Despite all these negative developments, we are hopeful and optimistic for the future, thanks to our economy that once again proved its durability, our strong banking system, political stability, robust internal demand, and the reform and incentive initiatives announced by the government.
NEW SUCCESS STORIES ARE NEEDED IN THE ECONOMY
The most important matter on Turkey’s domestic agenda was the “Constitutional Amendment Referendum” held on April 16, 2017. The conclusion of the referendum ended political uncertainties to a large extent, and there was a positive response in society to the wheels turning again after virtually coming to a halt in the wake of the treacherous July 15 coup attempt.
While Turkey’s political climate is slowly warming up ahead of the Presidential and General Elections planned for next year, we think the important thing is that the economy is not neglected in any way. Indeed, we must write new success stories relentlessly for many years to come in our economy which is immediately influence by external factors and developments.
Despite all kinds of negative developments which Turkey has experienced in recent years both domestically and abroad, including along its borders, it is a rare country which has succeeded in maintaining economic growth in an environment where the growth figures of many of the world’s leading countries have stagnated.
Today it is assessed that the Turkish economy will have grown more than 6 percent in 2017. With this figure, our country will be the third most rapidly growing country among OECD nations after China and India.
When one looks in particular at the domestic consumption appetite and the support for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) provided by the Credit Guarantee Fund and KOSGEB (SME development and support directorate), it becomes clear that we need to be ready for such high growth in the period ahead. From this perspective, we think that growth in 2018 and the near future will not come out low.
While such growth in our economy makes us investors smile, it also leads to taking more courageous decisions. In addition, it motives us to target higher growth in the future.
AKFEN ALONE ACCOUNTS FOR 16.5 PERCENT OF FOREIGN INVESTMENT
We as Akfen Holding are making efforts to facilitate fresh foreign currency entering our country by means of block share sales and by making foreign capital a partner in the investments which we make in our country.
In the past year we have carried out three major share issues. We sold a 33 percent in our Akfen Renewable Energy company to the EBRD and IFC, our 8.1 percent stake in TAV Airports Holding to
France-based Aéroports de Paris and finally our 40 percent stake in Mersin International Port to the Australian infrastructure fund management company IFM Investors. With these three stake sales alone, the foreign direct investment (FDI) cash flow into Turkey which we facilitated in 2017 reached $1.229 billion. From this perspective, we as Akfen alone accounted for 16.5 percent of the directed foreign capital investment in Turkey which amounted to $7.437 billion in 2017, according to Central Bank of Turkey (TCMB) data.
We experienced the happiness of attracting to Turkey the biggest foreign investment of recent years in an environment where the country, particularly in an economic sense, is starting to see the future more clearly and where the parameters are getting better. We think that these stake sales, which we regard as an important indicator of confidence in the future of our country’s economy, will be a nice start to create new success stories in the Turkish economy.
We will use the income which we have generated from these stake sales in the financing of the 6.2 billion lira investment package which we will realize in Turkey until the end of 2019, including 3.9 billion lira this year. We will provide new employment for 2,425 people when our investment package is implemented in the fields of energy, ports, real estate, student residences, mines, ports and city hospitals.
Chairman of the Board of Directors