We asked Berk Dicle, HAUS Assistant General Manager for Financial Affairs, about their cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD):
Berk Dicle: The EBRD is a company that we have been honoured to work with for a while and we have many contracts with. It is an element of prestige for us; because EBRD is not a commercial bank. Each year they support a small number of most exclusive financial and managerial sense development projects such as municipal projects, banks, energy, industrial firms, retail chains that will contribute to the development of Turkey. When I see companies such as Migros, Şok Market, Akfen, İzmir Metro, Enerjisa, Ford Otosan, Brisa Tire, Erdemir, Tofaş, Aksa Akrilik, Deceuninck, Paşabahçe and Vestel among those exclusive projects on their website; to be honest, it showed me how accurate our decision was to be among these outstanding projects.
In addition, the fact that the EBRD did not remain at the level of simple commercial funding with firms, but worked with the company for many years, provided consultancy and focused on developing the company rather than making money was the main factors affecting our decisions.
Could you tell us about your invitation to the “Blue Ribbon Program?
Berk Dicle: “Blue Ribbon” is not a program that you can apply for. It is a program that works through invitation and even being invited is a prestige element. Of course, here the question “Why was HAUS invited?” comes to mind. They have many criteria for selection. I think we have been invited as a result of the evaluation of the 15 criteria that can be summarized as being profitable, being institutional and being open to development. In short, only the companies with leadership potential who are open to long-term growth are invited to the program. As far as I know, only 3 companies from Turkey have been entitled to an invitation for this program over the past years.
Of course, it is a proud to be an exclusive company in the program of a distinguished institution, but what is the benefit of being invited to this program?
Berk Dicle: For 5 years the company entering the program is provided with “consultancy support” and “potential financial support”. As you can see, nothing is in the form of short-term, simple solutions that will save the day. We are talking about a long-term development plan. As you know, we are on the verge of a new investment. Plans and projects about our new investment are discussed, drawings are revised, feasibility calculations are developed in our plant every day. We have a “5-year plan” that we always update. At this stage, the contribution of the program to us will be enormous. Even so, the first visible impact will be to contribute to the development of the company through local and foreign consultancies we gain.
I liken working with the EBRD to Turkey's efforts to join the European Union. As its name, this bank’s task is to develop. It will direct HAUS to set up the infrastructure that will raise it to a higher league. As a result, our financial, legal, productive, etc. infrastructure will develop so much that the level of infrastructure you will see in any of the public and top 500 companies will be provided.
There must be responsibilities for working with EBRD:
Berk Dicle: Of course, there are. There are many obligations for sure. First, we need to work hard. Many infrastructure developments are waiting for us. For example; our audit should be of international standard and we have brought it to this level in the last two years. Our financial statements have also begun to be published in international standards (IFRS). Finally; we have completed the analysis and development on environment and labour. To give a simple example: “starting with whether child labour is employed, or filtering dust from machine cleaning” you have to prove that you are in compliance with labour laws, work safety and environmental safety with hundreds of detailed documents, inspection reports, certificates, licenses etc. These analyses continue for months and are not issues that can be passed on as if they were. In fact, the infrastructure is becoming open to the public, to the level of international firms. To sum up, the program also has requirements, and it can never be solved with easy approaches.
Thank you very much for the information you provided. Finally, we would like to ask you “the point you want to reach with the “Blue Ribbon Program”.
Berk Dicle: During the invitation, the EBRD stated that their objective is “to ensure the development of the private sector by supporting the leading companies in their developing business areas”. For us, it means a support for the direction we want to go to, that is for our strategy of “being a world brand”.
If a football team wants to be promoted to upper league, it must be in the upper league level from its coach to its outfitter. If you are playing international football matches, you will now need an international infrastructure to work, international financial accounts, an infrastructure working in different languages and different countries to manage the income and expenses of overseas matches and transfers abroad. As HAUS we have been exporting for many years, but our organization, which is expanding into many countries and our turnover which is growing in Euros every year, now requires more infrastructure investments. Compared to its counterparts in Turkey, we aim to provide longer term support and cooperation by working in collaboration with the EBRD on this road for our cost-effective investments.