Please let Mr. Ciliv relax
Turkcell is known as the crown jewel of the Turkish ICT industry. It is very profitable and it disseminates technology to every corner of the country far better than its rivals.
Financially speaking, Turkcell Group delivered a solid performance in 2013.
However maybe it is because there is a lot of money to be made or maybe because the owners of the company made bad investment decisions in the early stages, for year’s disputes between the owners of Turkcell still rages on. Three companies are fighting over the ownership of disputed shares that the Çukurova Group sold both to Telia Sonera and to the Russian Alfa Group. Recently with the decisions taken in the United Kingdom’s Privy Council there is an opportunity for the Çukurova to pay the money and take back its shares. The effect of the Board’s decision on these issues is that the sum to be paid by Çukurova to regain its interest in Turkcell is over $1 billion lower than contended by the Alfa Group before the Board. So it was a good decision for Çukurova.
Therefore Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, the owner of Çukurova, began looking for cash to regain shares and found relief in Ülker. Ülker is Turkey’s biggest Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company with a revenue of more than $8 billion dollars per year. They are notoriously known for their ability to push new products into the market faster than any other competitor as they have the most sophisticated logistics network in the country, and one of the better ones in the world. It made a lot of sense to me to hear that Ülker will be backing Çukurova for the disputed shares as Ülker can actually help Turkcell grow, with the help of their business management and logistics know how. It would be an ideal partnership as Turkcell could find the cash anywhere, but Ülker could help Turkcell in new markets such as the Middle East where Ülker is very well established.
So, I was very disappointed to hear that the treasury did not approve this partnership. I cannot imagine any sensible explanation for this decision. The treasury brought Turkcell to a deadlock again.
The CEO of Turkcell, Süreyya Ciliv, is an extraordinary man who managed to lead Turkcell in troubled times. It was impossible for the Turkcell board to make a decision until a few months ago because of the problems regarding the shares. Ciliv did not let the company go astray even when the board was not even functioning. The government intervened recently and appointed new members so that the board could make decisions. Now, Ciliv is a happy man with a working board.
It would be very nice of the treasury to let the deal go through and help Turkcell’s managers realize their plans of becoming a global player. Turkey really needs to be a powerful country in the coming years. Let’s not hinder our own chances, companies like Turkcell are very hard to create and grow. Let us take decisions to ease the troubles in our companies instead of creating new ones. Let’s spend our energy to grow.