In 2013, we witnessed positive developments indicating an end to the 2008 crisis experienced in the global economy. The recovery, seen particularly in the US which underwent a new energy reform, as well as in the economies of Japan and EU, balanced the slowdown trend in the emerging markets and in countries leading the economic growth since the outbreak of the crisis. This upturn led the Federal Reserve to undo some steps in the quantitative easing mechanism which resulted in a short term fluctuation in the developing markets. But the demographical and economic potential of the developing countries and the steps taken in the previous years for structural reforms helped these countries adapt to change. On the other hand, China sustains its growth at a balanced level through reform steps, solidifying its position as the second largest economy in the world. In the light of all these developments, I expect an economic outlook in 2014 where global economic activities and the volume of foreign trade will be positively impacted and transformation will be completed in the markets without comprising global economy.
Over the last ten years, Turkey has delivered significant structural reforms and is positioned as the key economic power in the region with its strong public finance, renewed infrastructure, trained manpower, entrepreneurs with global experience, significant geopolitical location, and powerful demographical structure. With regards to the ongoing reforms focusing on innovation, energy efficiency and education, I believe our country will continue to be one of the most active players in the future global economy with its developing industry and international entrepreneurs.
We operate across three continents
Started its operations in the textile industry in 1981, Çalık Group today operates in 6 sectors, collaborating with one another closely and actively, with each of them representing an individual success story. The Group conducts business in energy, mining, construction, finance, textile, and telecom sectors across 17 countries with around 24,000 employees.
Last year, we initiated a new breakthrough move, building on our more than 30 years of history with each period full of achievements. We defined our main fields of operation with high growth potential, aligned with the innovative, courageous and prudent business manner. In this framework, we sold Turkuvaz Media Group. Looking forward, we aim to get stronger and grow in a consistent manner by investing more into the restructuring of our main fields of operation and human resources.
We develop international projects with the principle of holding people in high regard and serving society
We sign onto important local and international projects as part of the activities conducted under two main areas of Power Systems and Oil-Gas in the energy sector. We are working on the construction of three power plants with a total capacity of 437.6 MW in Ahal, Lebap, Mari provinces of Turkmenistan, and we started the instalment of two new power plants with a total capacity of 750 MW in Ahal and Derweze. We strengthened our success in the Middle East, building the two largest power plants of Iraq. We undertook the construction work for the first natural gas combined cycle plant in Georgia's Gardabani region, with 230 MW worth of capacity. Following the projects in Central Asia and the Middle East, we enhanced our position in the African market by winning the tender for the 542-MW natural gas cycle plant to be installed in Libya. With the projects undertaken by Çalık Enerji, our company moved from the 129th place to 111th place in the "World's Largest 250 International Contractors" list published by the Engineering News Record magazine. We are among the top 10 companies in the world, especially with our thermal plants. With our expertise on this area, we have become a preferred EPC contractor in different countries. We will expand our presence with additional markets in the following years.
We also continue our successful operations in electricity production and distribution fields. We have focused on providing our more than 7 million of local and international customers with services through the highest quality standards in electricity distribution. Accordingly, we continue to invest heavily on technology and infrastructure. In addition to our distribution operations, our efforts in the electricity production continue with full pace. To this aim, we commissioned the Adacami Hydroelectric Power Plant. We will also soon finalize other projects in the area of sustainable energy.
With Gap İnşaat, a Group Company ranked in the ENR list of "World's Largest 250 International Contractors" every year since 2006, we undertook the construction work for the "Turkmenbashi International Sea Port" which is designed as a logistics hub in the Caspian region, on the route from Asia to Europe becoming the Silk Road of the new world.
Furthermore, the dental hospital built in Turkmenistan was selected at the '2013 International Property Awards' as the 'Best Facility of the Year' both in the architecture and project categories among 2,000 projects from around the world. Another source of pride for us was Çalık Gayrimenkul, a Group Company operating in the construction sector, for receiving the first prize for its "Tarlabaşı 360" project in the "Urban Renewal" category at the 'European Property Awards 2013'.
We use technology to develop eco-friendly products that make lives easier
Besides manufacturing for many internationally-recognized brands under the name of Çalık Denim, Gap Güneydoğu Tekstil exports 65 percent of its production, and holds an active spot as a key player in the sector. Çalık Denim continues its production with full pace, monitoring technological developments and making new investments. We introduce eco-friendly, innovative and creative new generation products to the global markets thanks to our qualified workforce within the R&D center and our own R&D systematic. In addition, Çalık Cotton, engaged mainly in the cotton trade, conducts activities to strengthen our country in the global cotton market. Accordingly, Çalık Cotton became the first company in Turkey to obtain the AQSIQ certificate required for cotton export to China and was granted trending organic cotton certificates including 'Better Cotton Initiative(BCI)' and 'Control Union (CU)'.
We develop innovative business models through new generation banking
We pioneer a new banking concept in Turkey with the distinct, innovative business models of Aktif Bank, our finance sector initiative. We are filled with pride as in 2013 our Bank surpassed global giants and was granted the first prize for its "Aktif Nokta" project at the event held by European Financial Management and Marketing Association (EFMA) and also became the winner with its 'Credit Insurance Finance' product in the 'Innovation in Foreign Trade Finance' category at the Financial World Innovation 2013 Awards, where the best practices guiding the finance sector are evaluated.
We also continue our work on the e-ticket project to be delivered for the first time in Turkey through collaboration between Aktif Bank and E-Kent. Thanks to the Passolig prepaid cards and credit cards by Aktif Bank, functioning as an entrance card for the sports and entertainment events, millions of football fans will be able to get a secure and easy entrance to the matches, and enjoy the world of 'Passo'.
The sector leader in the retail banking and one of the two largest banks of Albania, Banka Kombetare Tregtare (BKT) has achieved the success of receiving all the awards in the 'Best Bank of the Year' category given by prestigious magazines of international finance. BKT was recognized by The Banker magazine for the 4th time, and won the Euromoney and EMEA Finance awards for the second and fourth times, respectively. Moreover, BKT's CEO Seyhan Pencablıgil was recognized as the CEO of the Year in the South Eastern Europe by EMEA Finance.
Apart from the finance sector, we are also present with distinguished results in the telecom sector in the Balkans. ALBtelecom, our telecom Company in Albania, has a long standing history of 101 years and yet is differentiated in its sector with its innovative mindset and services developed. In 2013, our Group executed a merger between its telecom affiliates ALBtelecom and Eagle Mobile to offer integrated communication services to the Albanian people. Our Company aims to meet the expectations of the people in the country to the maximum level with its fiber optic cable network crossing the entire Albania, as well as with its technologic infrastructure and service quality offered.
The Group's mining Company; Lidya Madencilik brings the level of its success higher every day since its establishment. In 2013, we increased our share in Polimetal Madencilik in which we are partners with Alacer Gold to 80 percent from the previous rate of 50 percent. Polimetal successfully continues its gold and copper exploration operations across various cities in Turkey. Furthermore, the gold production in the Çöpler Gold Mine owned by Anagold, in which Lidya Madencilik is a partner, was increased by 43 percent, making up 27 percent of the national gold production.
We march towards future through respect for nature, cultural heritages and human values
The only way out to a real and permanent integration is to unite with the global economy and global life by following the global developments. Over the next period, we will continue to focus on the industrial, commercial, construction and service sectors as our areas of operation through a sustainable innovation approach. In 2013, our employees, the most valuable assets of our organization, helped and gave their full support to achieve our strategic targets shaped by global developments, and have demonstrated once again how deeply they adopted the corporate values of this family. Wherever we operate in the world, the value we give to human life and dignity in our business processes will hold its place at the heart of our corporate culture.
We will remain committed to our principle of being the best and offering our customers the best with the services and products we supply through great achievements in Turkey, Central Asia, Balkans, Middle East, and Africa. All of our stakeholders with whom we do business with will always be assured that we will faithfully abide by our promises. We will always establish a sincere communication with anyone engaged and never violate our respectful attitude towards different cultures in the knowledge that we are an international Group. We will never comprise transparency as a Group generating value through integrity for a better future. We will remain committed to further improve our entrepreneurial spirit, competitive strength and skills through maximum support for training and professional development.
I firmly believe that we will always work towards success with the strength of our loyal ties as the members of Çalık Group, remaining true to our core values, through solidarity and unity without comprising our reputation.