Italian confectionery giant Ferrero, which was responsible for the majority of Turkey's hazelnut and hazelnut product exports last year, will continue making investments in the country.
The company earlier this week won the Turkish Exporters Assembly's (TİM) Champions of Exports Awards for 2018 in its category, handed out by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Ferrero currently runs six production facilities in Turkey, three in Trabzon and one each in Düzce, İzmit and Manisa. It also runs eight warehouses, five collection centers and five Ferrero Farming Values offices, while employing some 1,500 people.
Ferrero Turkey Chairman Aldo Kazlowski said Turkey is a country of opportunities compared to many other countries. "We see Turkey as our long-term strategic partner and in this context, we increase our investments here every year. Ferrero sets a high investment target of TL 150 million in 2019," he added.
Kazlowski noted that Turkey would continue to be the leader in the hazelnut market in the coming years, adding investors did not flee from Turkey, which would attract more investments in the no-election period. He pointed out that they had not seen a market as lively as Turkey in Europe. "Europe is getting older, but half of the Turkish people are under 30, and Turkey is a country of high consumption," he said.
Azmi Gümüşlüoğlu, general manager and regional director of Ferrero Chocolate, noted that the company opened factories in very rapid integration, even though the company invested late in Turkey. "We make our investment decisions with long-term planning," he continued. "Turkey is a significant country integrated into both Europe and the world. It is an important investment country for international companies like us in terms of access to the quality labor force. We are determined to make important investments every year."
Ferrero Hazelnut General Manager Bamsı Akın, on the other hand, said that hazelnut harvest looked better than the previous year. "If July goes like this, it will be a very productive year," he added.
Akın said their most important aim was to strengthen the position of hazelnuts and make investments sustainable. "For us, the manufacturer's gain is essential in price," Akın further stressed.
Ferrero Group is one of the largest companies in the global confectionery and chocolate markets, with a total business volume of over 10 billion euros ($11.30 billion). The group has 22 production facilities and nine agricultural companies worldwide.
Turkey, the world's largest hazelnut exporter, earned $1.78 billion, exporting 287,000 tons of hazelnut last season, between September 2017 and the end of August 2018. It sold over 189,000 tons of hazelnuts abroad in the first seven months of the export season, according to the Black Sea Exporters Association.
The hazelnut export volume between last September and this March fell 0.95 percent compared to the same period last year. Turkey earned $1.09 billion in revenue from hazelnut exports during the same period, down 10 percent.
The EU countries remain the top export market for Turkish hazelnuts, buying over 76 percent, or around 144,000 tons, of Turkey's total hazelnut exports over the seven months.
"Italy has always worked with Turkey on EU issue," Ferrero Turkey Honorary President Carlo Marsili said. "We also want the Customs Union to be updated. Modernization of the Customs Union, an issue that can be addressed promptly, will be beneficial for both Turkey and the EU."