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CEO Message

The shifting global economic and political landscape affected the Turkish economy in 2017. While developing countries were positively affected by global growth rates, the expectation that the central banks of developed countries, such as Fed, would start tightening their monetary policies earlier than expected caused some fluctuations in global markets. Rising oil and commodity prices, protectionist policies in international trade and heightened geopolitical tensions were the main factors affecting Turkey.

The official start to the Brexit process in the U.K., civil wars and tensions in neighboring countries and the Middle East, suggestions that many European countries will be leaving the EU, political and economic developments in Turkey were some of the events that shaped financial markets in 2017.

The Turkish economy grew 5.3% in the first quarter, 5.4% in the second quarter, and 11.1% in the third quarter, recording its strongest quarterly growth since Q3 2011 and making Turkey one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

In 2017, Ülker Bisküvi increased its sales by 14.7% and posted a record-high turnover of TL 4.8 billion. Through effective cost management, we maintained double-digit growth in our real operating profit, which rose 16.7% to reach TL 594.6 million in 2017.

In 2017, we posted stable, strong and record growth rates, and achieved the highest turnover and net profit in our company’s history.

The following efforts have been instrumental in our success:

  • In 2017, we continued our investments that create value for our Company. Accordingly, we completed our strategy to become a production and distribution base in Central Asia by acquiring our Group’s subsidiary “Hamle” in Kazakhstan in March.
  • In December, we acquired the entire shares of UI Mena B.V., which holds the rights to manufacture and distribute the products of United Biscuits Limited in Saudi Arabia, Middle East and North Africa. This acquisition was a major step towards strengthening Ülker’s market position in the Middle East and North Africa, consolidating operations in these markets, and becoming a local production base in the region.
  • In December, we also signed an agreement for the acquisition of International Biscuits Company (“IBC”), which manufactures the products of United Biscuits in Saudi Arabia. With the acquisition of IBC in 2018, we will have a new production base in Riyadh, in addition to our factory in Jeddah; thus, we will further strengthen our supply chain in the region.
  • We started manufacturing the new supermarket range of Godiva, the world’s leading brand of premium chocolate, in Turkey and offered these products to our consumers in more than 8,000 retail stores. In 2017, we also began exporting the global brand Godiva from Turkey to the world, primarily to the U.K. and Europe.
  • In 2017, we tried to maintain prices at affordable levels, making our products accessible to all income groups in Turkey.
  • As our “star” brands continued to perform successfully, we launched new and successful products.
  • We continued to add value to our consumers and distributors with our products and sales channels while establishing strategic partnerships with organized retailers.

Above all else, we gave first priority to employee motivation.

The financial and operational results we have achieved demonstrate yet again that Ülker Bisküvi San. A.Ş. is on solid and sustainable ground, regardless of external conditions. The alignment of all our operations and employees towards achieving common goals and productivity plays a significant role in our company’s sustainable growth.

I would like to share with you the successful results of our sustainability activities. While we are moving steadily towards our 2024 sustainability targets, we are listed in major indexes that are closely monitored by international investors, thanks to the environmental, social and financial performance of our company. Ülker Bisküvi has been included in Borsa Istanbul’s Sustainability Index for the past three years. In 2017, our company was also included in FTSE4Good Emerging Markets Index, which is managed jointly by the London Stock Exchange and Financial Times. Additionally, Ülker Bisküvi has fulfilled the criteria for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the world's leading and most prestigious sustainability index. 

We continued our social responsibility efforts. Since 2011, we have brought art into the lives of 17 thousand children under the Ülker Children’s Art Workshop. To date, we have reached more than 6 million children, teachers and parents with the “Balance in Food Project,” which is jointly carried out by Sabri Ülker Foundation and the Ministry of National Education across 10 cities in Turkey. In line with our goal of making the arts, a critical component of social development, accessible for everyone, we are carrying out “Your Thursday” project together with Istanbul Modern, which is one of the few contemporary art museums in Turkey. Under this sponsorship project, Istanbul Modern offers free admission to all visitors every Thursday and for longer hours. We are also carrying out the “Free Tuesdays” project at the Baksı Museum, which opened in 2010 in Bayburt and was awarded the Council of Europe Museum Prize.

We want to continue our growth in 2018. Although there are many economic and social factors influencing consumer behavior, we think that the ever-expanding digitalization in Turkey will lead to increased demand for speed and convenience in services.

At Ülker Bisküvi, we will continue to work towards reaching our goals and creating value for you, our shareholders, employees, suppliers, and our country’s economy.

Sincerely,
Mehmet TÜTÜNCÜ
CEO