Flokser to build factories in 5 countries in 10 years

Dunya Executive - - BUSINESS - OZLEM ERMIS BEYHAN

With the expansion of polyurethane usage, chemistry has become one of the world’s fastest growing strategic sectors. Turkey has relatively unknown giants in this area, such as Flokser, which is making globalized plans for the future.

Flokser is one of the largest producers of artificial leather in Europe. Earlier this year, it created waves when it bought US nano textile company Microfibres. As a relatively unknown giant, it seems we will continue to hear more investment news from Flokser in the coming years.

Kaan Ates, an executive board member at Flokser, explains that the company has two main production areas: textiles and chemistry. The company produces polyurethane and sells it to the domestic and foreign markets, while also producing technical leather from raw material. It has an annual production capacity of 42 million meters of tulle technical leather and a polyurethane system capacity of 60,000 tons. Flokser is targeting rapid growth through new investments in the field of chemistry. One particularly large investment is being prepared to produce its own raw materials using biological chemicals. The company is also completing the strategic infrastructure to establish new facilities in five countries. Ates sat down with DUNYA Executive to discuss the future goals of a company that has a closed production area of around 65,000 square meters in Istanbul belonging to Tukek Holding.

Market share n Russ a r ses to 8%

Among Flokser’s two main areas of activity – chemistry and technical textiles – ‘‘one is the customer of the other,’’ says Ates. Flokser began production in Istanbul at the start of the 1980s through the Tukek brothers. Under the Flokser roof were Flokser in the field of technical leather and Poliser is in the field of chemistry. ‘‘We use the polyurethane we produce in technical textiles but we also sell it abroad,’’ says Ates. ‘‘We produce for many sectors in chemistry and textiles. We have a large production area producing for sectors such as footwear, automotive, furniture and construction.’’ He says Flokser holds 32% of the artificial leather market in Turkey and has a market share of 3% in Europe and the Balkans, a figure that rises to 8% in Russia, Turkic republics and Algeria. ‘‘We export to more than 40 countries, mainly in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Russia. We started in chemistry in 2006 and quickly grew there to the point where we now have one of the largest facilities in Turkey,’’ adds Ates.

He says the company, which employs around 500 people, was ranked 345th in last year’s ISO list and hopes to rise further up the list this year, also plans to end the year with a turnover of 110 million euros. ‘‘We are taking important steps towards institutionalization, and in parallel we are entering a rapid growth process,’’ he says.

B olog cal chem stry nvestment formulat ng

That growth process includes working with and competing against China. ‘‘Rightly, we also buy raw materials from China, but buyers who care about quality and deadlines still prefer us to China,’’ says Ates. ‘‘By this, I do not mean production is of a completely poor quality in China – there are places that produce very high quality materials – but that the perception of quality and deadlines are above everything else for us. We can produce the same raw materials with structures that are not harmful to health. This is an important subject for us. Our product called biogen, which is produced from plant waste, is important in this sense. We are progressing rapidly in production with water-based polyurethanes that are not a danger to health. We are now involved with a big investment through our company Biyokim; we are investing in producing products made of biological chemicals.’’

Despite revealing the general area of investment, Ates cannot say much more on the subject. ‘‘This is actually a secret project, so it’s not possible to give more details other than to say it will be one of the biggest in the world. We are committed to this area because Flokser’s environmental awareness is an indication of our commitment to work in health and safety. We want our name to be known as a global pioneer in this field, with products that don’t harm the environment.’’

Ates confirms that great incentives are given in the field of chemistry to attract investment from the Balkans. ‘‘This area is highly active, but there is an invitation to invest from the East as well as the West, from the US, India and China. We are receiving such invitations from everywhere because every country wants to own these type of chemistry factories,’’ he adds.

For example, Flokser is interested in investing in India because it is attracted by that country’s raw materials and is sure it can find a customer base for them. ‘‘Indian companies are calling us because we have the customer infrastructure and they want that so they can build a bridge to more customers,’’ says Ates. ‘‘Poliser is a well-known brand in the industry. If Poliser is in Iran, India and China, it then aims to reach a structure where those countries sell the raw materials and directly reach customers. We plan to invest in at least five countries in our 10-year strategy.’’ Flokser plans to be producer of raw materials in its large secret investment. ‘‘We will build plants in markets where we can also sell raw materials,’’ Ates confirmed. ‘‘Flokser is a large company with a wide vision that can achieve this.’’

For the next decade, the company plans to rise ever higher up the rankings in its sector. ‘‘We want to see our company in a much better place. For the next five years, we are aiming to reach the first 200 of the ISO list and rise further thereafter. On a global scale, we are already a wellknown company. We are the supplier of many major global brands in automotive and textiles. Whether it’s in the gear ball, steering wheel or sunshade, we’re in many of them,’’ Ates says. ‘‘And we’re aiming to expand this gradually.

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