We, as Akfen Group, entered the new year hoping that we will recover in 2022 after 2021 wherein we all felt the impact of the pandemic, and resume our business from where we left off. However, unforeseeable events also happened in 2022 and the war between Russia and Ukraine shocked everyone, but Europe in particular, and the world faced another crisis, this time on energy and food.
During this period when the horizon narrowed, not only we, but the whole world experienced that salvation may be available at technological development and science. Remote working, biotechnology, novel, and renewable energy technologies were the areas that the business world focused on the most.
While Türkiye’s neutral stance in the War between Russia and Ukraine offered several advantages, it also induced some disadvantages, too. While sectors such as tourism emerged as advantageous during this period, other sectors that experienced negative effects due to sharp escalations in energy and commodity rates were also present.
Redeeming the time in 2021 engaged with financial structuring rather than strategic investments, Akfen Holding managed to grow higher than the growth in the Turkish economy in 2022 when the war and the price uncertainties peaked.
The high performance achieved by our investments in strategic fields such as energy, tourism, port management, and mining acted as the driving force in achieving such success.
To set an example, the energy bottleneck experienced following the Russia-Ukraine War that significantly challenged Europe’s dependent on Russian natural gas, demonstrated the fact that investing in renewable energy sources and storing energy are in fact strategic moves. The significance of the renewable energy investments that Akfen Group initiated 16 years ago and has reached 700 MW today for Turkey became more prominent during this period.
We will continue to make nature-friendly investments at Akfen Renewable Energy for a “sustainable future”. Akfen Renewable Energy was offered to the public in the first quarter of 2023 in order to raise funds. The funds to be created from such transactions shall be utilized in the development of new investments in line with the traditions of Akfen Group.
Two further fields of interest for us in the energy sector are hydrogen and storage … Enactment of the storage regulation shall contribute to the diversification of the energy portfolio of Akfen. While hydrogen is an energy source that should be on the agenda maybe 10 years later, the Ukraine-Russia War expedited its introduction to our agenda. We are learning about and studying how to improve hydrogen as an energy source.
Akfen GYO continues to contribute to the country by incorporating new areas of investment into the “urban hotel management” concept that we take the lead in Turkey. Incorporating the holiday inn, Bodrum Loft, into its portfolio, Akfen GYO has initiated further efforts on two new projects, again in Bodrum.
We will proceed with Söğütlüçeşme Project in Kadıköy, one of the key districts of Istanbul Anatolian Side, in 2023. We anticipate that Söğütlüçeşme Project to be implemented on 20 thousand square meters shall provide Kadıköy one of the most important food and beverage and recreational centers in Europe, thus attracting attention from all investors.
The investments that will enable colossal container ships to dock at Mersin International Port (MIP), where we paid approx. TRY 1.3 billion worth of dividends to our investors, shall continue.
Starting from the date of its establishment, Akfen has adopted the strategy of growing through partnerships. In the past, the data such as profitability, costs, return on investment, etc. were considered to be the key motivations of investment for such partnerships. Today, however, corporate governance principles have been incorporated into such concepts. Nowadays, compliance with corporate governance principles such as equality, fairness, transparency, and contribution to a sustainable world is discussed at the meetings. Successful incorporation of Corporate Governance principles into the “Akfen ecosystem” offers us a great zone of comfort regarding our investment plans.
Despite the threats of war as well as the crisis on energy and food, the economy of Türkiye managed to survive in the heavy seas and even managed to grow out of it. 2022 ended with a growth of around 30 percent for Akfen Holding. Despite it appears that the prices will remain volatile and that we shall face unpredictable risks, we anticipate 2023 to be better than 2022.
2023, the onset of the second century of our country wherein the Republic of Türkiye celebrates its 100th anniversary, shall be the year when both economic and political uncertainties shall diminish. We believe that major opportunities shall be achieved during this period, where any investor shall profit before the stones begin to fall into place. As Akfen Group, we know and believe that the contribution we have offered to the country since its establishment shall persist during the second century of our Republic.
Akfen Holding Chairman