Turkish White Goods: Cleaning Up
Arcelik is a rare bight spot incorporate Turkey.
Forgive a maker of washing machines a fondness for spin.
Hakan Bulgurlu, who manages Arcelik, the biggest producer and seller of white goods in Turkey, claims a “strong mood” has returned to his domestic market.
Sales there leapt by 35% in the first quarter compared with the same time last year.
His forecast is upbeat.
“Turkey is more resilient than it looks from the outside,” he says, citing cheery reports from dealers who run his 3,000 own-brand shops.
Reality is less whiter than white.
Many investors and traders remain spooked by political dramas, a coup plot last year and by an authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The IMF gave warning in February that low business profits, a lack of credit and political uncertainty all bode ill for Turkey's economy.
A splurge of public spending and stimulus measures—a special tax on appliances has been suspended for a few months—have brought forward sales of appliances to before the usual, summer, shopping season.
Firms cannot trust in a domestic recovery just yet.
Arcelik's prospects, however, depend more on tapping distant markets than on rebounding local ones.
It wisely branched out after the mid-1990s (when Turkey joined Europe's customs union) and today has 18 factories, with nearly 30,000 staff, in seven countries.
Last year it generated global sales of 4.8bn euro ($5.4bn) , 60% outside of Turkey, and a decent 11% pre-tax profit.