Elcab Cable Board of Directors Co-Chairman Refik Balkan:
“Elcab Cable AŞ; the address for
quality, security and high performance”
“We must participate in fairs, conduct constant customer visits and implement research and development activities, by taking a lesson from the results of the negative conditions we find ourselves in, to disperse risk”
Elcab Cable Board of Directors Co-Chairman Refik Balkan said that the company is globally competitive with superior quality products produced as a result of their R&D work and a dynamic structure that applies the technological developments required by the times to their production processes and emphasized that they are constantly increasing their market share as a result. Balkan answered our questions about the company and the cable sector.
Important and large projects are continuing in Turkey. How would you evaluate the domestic market?
As you mentioned in your question there are important and large projects continuing in Turkey. The construction of the 3rd airport, which is one of these projects, has brought movement not just to the construction and building sector but also to the cable and tourism sector. Therefore we can say that although the political uncertainty and problems being experienced in Turkey and other countries are causing a financial recession, this is not being reflected on the work volume. We aim to adapt R&D work, quality policies, and the technological developments required by the times to our production processes to be a globally competitive company that produces economical solutions for the needs of our sector, produces according to international and national standards, places importance on customer demands and requests and constantly implements innovation and development. As a quality, innovative and competitive pioneering company we have strived since the day of our foundation to increase the acceleration of growth and development we have shown each year, to maintain the existing customer satisfaction and open out into new markets to seek new customers, achieve more growth compared to the turnover of the previous year and thereby contribute to the country’s economy.
What is the tableau presented by the first quarter data? Can you compare it to last year?
No important and notable improvements have taken place due to the political conflicts, instability in markets and exchange rate fluctuations that occurred in our countries and other countries this year, therefore it was apparent that not just the sector we are active in but in all the other sectors, companies tried to maintain a stable level without achieving any growth or development and close the year with minimal loss.
In recent years there have been government and business world based visits and enterprises in the African and American markets by Turkey. Have these activities been reflected on trade?
The government and business world based visits and enterprises in the African and American markets by Turkey in recent years have been a positive development in micro terms, to get familiar with the culture as the first step in helping businesses make an entrance into different markets and the tax exemptions and discounts that will be achieved through the signing of free trade agreements will be beneficial in a macro sense.
According to İMMİB export data the exportation of low voltage energy cables, which comprise the largest export item of Turkey in cables, dropped by 22% in 2015. How do you read this situation? What are the global and local reasons for this? What do you foresee in 2016?
When we take a general look it can be said that due to the political conflicts and negative developments of the present in global terms, it was not a good year not just for our sector but for all sectors and companies. This is why the 22% drop in the exportation of low voltage energy cables, which comprise the largest export item of Turkey in cables, in 2015 is a very normal result. The adversities experienced in Iraq and Syria, two large markets that have very serious and important potential for Turkey, caused these markets to enter a period of stagnancy and therefore a drop in our export figures.
Export to England has decreased by 19%, Iraq by 35% in second place and Israel by 7% in third place. It appears that the low voltage cable sector is trapped in three markets… What would happen, for example, if the England and Iraq market were replaced by another actor? Why is the sector unable to solve the market problem?
As I specified in the previous answer, the global uncertainties of our time, the fluctuations and the political games being played on our country have had a negative effect, not just on the industrialists but all people. The sector being trapped in a very small section when export to specific markets drop, is a mistake caused by an old practice that industrialists chronically undertook by focusing export on only a few countries. In order to avoid this we must participate in fairs, conduct constant customer visits and implement research and development activities, by taking a lesson from the results of the negative conditions we find ourselves in, to disperse risk. Just like the familiar old example, if you put all your eggs in the same basket any damage that could be sustained by the basket where you have placed it could mean losing all of your eggs. But if you divide the eggs among two separate baskets and distribute the risk you might at least be able to save half. Therefore the most effective and productive solution to not experience any kind of drop in export data is for all industrialists and producers, not just our own sector, to spread the risk over different and diverse markets without being dependent on one specific market.
While export to Iraq, our largest market in mid to high voltage power cables, decreased by 43%, export to Turkmenistan increased 90% for a total of 40 million dollars in export. This is an important figure…It seems that new and alternative markets like Turkmenistan need to be sought for mid to high voltage power cables…
As in the example above, when sectors are dependent on one country for export, possible problems in the country being exported to or related to that country can lead to serious results. For example the textile sector, which was exporting with a focus on Russia, sustained a heavy blow when a crisis developed. Therefore the fact that despite a 43% drop in export to Iraq for mid to low voltage energy cables a 90% increase in export to Turkmenistan occurred to achieve 40 million dollars in export is a good example of distributing risk by finding new and alternative markets. There are countless potential markets in the world that can be entered. In order to enter these markets a very detailed and meticulous market study must be conducted and relevant sector fairs should be participated in to reach the target customer audience. However, being successful in these activities depends on being able to provide the customer with different and special products in their supply and demand cycle, that are outside of the standard products found in their market.