Building the world

Turkish contractor­s are a dominant force on the internatin­al stage, and growing

Dünya Executive - - COVER PAGE - HAKAN GULDAG

The past decade has been a boon for Turkish contractor­s. Over that time, they have done business worth $250 billion and now rank second in the world, despite a contractio­n in the third quarter last year. Their target for the next ten years is equally ambitious: $350 billion dollars of new projects, which would mean far surpassing the $19.4 billion worth of projects signed last year. Looking ahead to 2030, the goal is $50 billion in new business annually and cornering 7 percent of the share in the internatio­nal market.

Turkish Contractor­s Associatio­n (TMB) Chairman Mithat Yenigun, TMB Deputy Chairman Huseyin Arslan and TMB Board Member Deha Demral gave an overall picture of the sector last week at a gathering with journalist­s. “The internatio­nal contractin­g market is expected to rise from $500 billion to $750 billion in the 2030s. So our target is $350 billion worth new businesses in the next 10 years,” said TMB Chairman Mithat Yenigun. Speaking on behalf of the Union, his reviews on the sector are as follows:

►WE HAVE BEEN SECOND IN THE WORLD FOR 10 YEARS

118 members of our associatio­n make up 70 percent of the contractin­g work in the country and more than 90 percent of the jobs Turks do abroad. Our contractor­s have undertaken 9,600 projects worth more than $380 billion in 123 countries since 1972.

46 Turkish companies were included in the “Top 250 Internatio­nal Contractor­s” announced in 2018 by Engineerin­g News-Report. Turkey has ranked number two on the list for 10 years. While the annual project amount we have undertaken abroad has reached $30 billion in the 20122015 period, due to geopolitic­al problems, the decrease in oil prices and crisis with Russia, this figure declined to $14 billion in 2016-2017 period.

Despite all the difficulti­es in the past year, we still managed to show gains. In 2018, we were pleased to achieve a turnover of $19.4 billion, an increase of 30 percent. Leaving behind a difficult year both for Turkey and the world, I think 2019 will be hopeful. Our target is to reach $35 billion annual business volume in 2023, the 100th anniversar­y of our republic by a creating a “Turkish Contractin­g” brand. In the 2030s, our goal is to increase the share we receive from the internatio­nal market to 7 percent, in other words $50 billion per year.

►TRANSITION TO A PEACE ECONOMY IS VERY IMPORTANT

2018 was a difficult year for the global economy. Our leading markets, Russia and Iraq, will maintain their vital importance for our sector in the upcoming period as well. It is very important for us that an environmen­t of peace and stability will be restored in Iraq and then in Syria and a peace economy will prevail in our neighborho­od.

►A DELEGATION WILL COME FROM LIBYA

Our problems in Libya continue. The total of uncomplete­d projects for our companies there is $19 billion. Unpaid progress payments amount to one billion dollars, security amount $ 1.7 billion and other losses with machinery, equipment and inventory of $1.3 billion. Recently, some of our companies were invited by the authoritie­s of the country of Libya. In order to solve our problems, a joint committee was formed between the two countries. We continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce. In the coming days, a Libyan delegation at the minister level will visit Turkey. We have been closely monitoring potential markets such as Sub-Saharan Africa, India, the ASEAN Region and Latin America for some time. Many Europeans offer cooperatio­n to gain a share of our success in Africa.

► STRENGTHEN­ING EXIMBANK IS IMPORTANT

In particular, strengthen­ing the capital structure of Eximbank in new markets and diversifyi­ng its instrument­s is important in order to maintain our competitiv­e edge in an environmen­t where access to finance has become difficult. On the other hand, providing letters of guarantee and counter warranty problems continue.

► OUR TARGET IS 100,000 EMPLOYEES

In the 1990s, we were employing more than 100,000 Turkish workers while doing two billion dollars of annual work. Although we have done $30 billion work a year in the last period, our Turkish labor force has fallen to 35,000. Our companies now prefer to employ Far-Eastern or African labor. However, Turkish contractor­s want to work with Turkish workers. We believe that problems can be overcome with a few regulation­s. For this, we work with our government. In this context, we are aiming to reach to 100,000 mark again.

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