The President of Çalik Holding, Ahmet Çalik, tells the new plans for Albania “Interested for construction and energy areas”
Regardless of economical crises, "Çalik" Group will increase investments in Albania. In the interview given to the newspaper, the president of "Çalik Group", Ahmet Çalik, tells the new investment plans. As one of the biggest actors in energy, construction, and textile areas in Turkey, Ahmet Çalik stresses out that "Calik Group ", besides investments in telecommunication areas is considering the possibility for investments in other areas as well.”Under our expertise in construction and energy areas, we are studying the possibilities to offer to Albania a valuable development". According to him, the investments of "Grupit Çalik" in the telecommunication sector and banking system are on the right track and Çalik promises other investments in these sectors. "Calik Group" has the controlling package of 76% of ALBtelecom, "Eagle Mobile" and 60% of National Commercial Bank shares.
The world economic crises have affected the investors to review the plans and projects. Your Group has invested in strategic areas of Albania. From this point of view, how much will affect the economical crises on the investments of "Çalik Holding" in Albania?
We are studying closely and in details the economical global crises and the expected consequences as well as the economical slowing. One of the main and most important features of of our group besides the investments, is the risk covering. As a result of that we have undertaken measures to face the world economical crises. The investments that “Çalik Group” did in Albania are of a special importance and strategic ones. For this reason, this beautiful place must be seen as a gate for hope which will offer new opportunities values to Europe. Our group pays a special attention to financial and telecommunication areas and because of that we will continue investing in these two important sectors. There is no reason to think that we will delay the terms of investments in these two areas. We consider as important and we are concentrated on technology and human resources investments in order that Albanians will have a quality service.
Watching from a broader perspective, which is the effect of crises in foreign investments in Albania. According to you what are the steps to be undertaken by Albanian government?
Firstly, it is the background created for the foreign investors. If we overlook and analyse what are the parameters in creating the opportunities for investments and foreign investors, we will see that it has to do with legislation, economical situation, avoid of byrocratic procedures and parallel to this the economical and political stability. In other words, the result and implementation of these criteria, viewed from an investor, are the basic criteria to avoid the unexpected risks. The more anticipated the risk is in those elements, the more appropriate is the background for the investors in that place. Albania has made important steps to improve the business circumstances for the investors in recent years and it is also stepping forward in this direction. Those improvements, with the time passing, will give more fruits of success. I order that foreign investments to be easy fulfilled and to attract as much as possible foreign investments, all the institutions must to operate in coordination. In this way the undertaken reforms give the expected results. The application of different practices or no coordination of institutions concerning the demands of investors, drives the latter toward an indeterminable burocratic chain. The worldwide economies enable the dynamism and economical growth based on three types of expenses; Daily consume, expenses for private investors and governmental expanses or public investments. The slowing of economical growth and economical obscurity in many countries of the world causes the consumption and expenses dropping that private investors make. In such a situation the only remaining pushing force is the increase of governmental expenses or public investments, in such a way the governments are trying to find ways of regaining the vitality of their economies. Managing precisely the governmental investments, (proper areas) enables the regaining of economy and fulfils important services for citizens. In this context, in order that provided services be fast and high quality ones for Albanian citizens, we consider as very important the projects which enable the governmental administration and institution modernization, giving importance to projects which prepare our children and youth for the era of knowledge. Those investments are precisely the investments which will build the future of Albania.
What is your anticipation if the crises will affect BKT as part of your group as well as the second bank in Albania?
BKT is the first commercial bank of Albania with a history of dating roots since 1920. The history and extraordinary quality of BKT service both in Albania and outside have created a strong clientele. BKT also did it`s activity in years in the framework of sensitive policies toward risk. Because of these policies, BKT is on of the highest liquidated bank in Albania. The crises caused by the financial institutions in developed countries, has generally affected other countries dropping sensitively or cutting off the financial resources by those developed countries. But BKT has not used the foreign resources for activity financing, using the total inside resources for this purpose. As all BKT resources are made of inside deposits, it is not possible at all that the outside financial crises affects BKT concerning financial resources. If we analyze the active structure of Bank we notice that that it composes 31% from sub bank deposit and liquid assets, and 35% from treasury bono and governmental dues (referred to the data of November 2008). Basing on the fact that credits represent only 32% of actives and they are given in accordance with principles of insurance and liquidation as well as because of best international practices application, and the risk of BKT credits is at a administrating level compared to the sector in general. As the BKT actives are composed of simple financial products as the governmental credits and dues are, complex financial products are not found which have caused losses to foreign banks. The BKT shareholders, especially in such a situation give big trust. Our Group as the main shareholder is a group which operates in energy, telecommunication, medias, construction, textile and banking sector areas in 12 countries having more than 18.500 employees, meanwhile the active states is 5.2 milliard USD and the annual turnover is 800 million USD till 30/06/2008. In the meantime BKT is supported at any time by another part of our Group in Turkey, Aktif Bank, which is one of the most liquid bank operating in this sector. Leaving behind a successful year, the capital of Aktif Bank in year 2008 is increased 146%, whiles the credits are increased 60%. The sufficient capital of 37% and low debt norm toward the capital, Aktif Bank is one of the most protected bank toward the risks in Turkish bank sector. In this framework, it is clear that BKT has a balance structure turning this financial swelling into a chance. Both the managing staff and us as shareholders believe that our bank will overcome this situation through becoming stronger and we think that our strength and support that BKT gives to Albanian economy is very important
Do you have any plan for other investments in Albania? Are interested for investments in other areas?
"Çalik Group" is one the biggest sectors in energy, construction, media, and textile in Turkey. For this reason, besides the telecommunication and financial sectors, we estimate the possibility for investments in other sectors as well. Considering the fact that Albania is one of the key countries in Balkan and Eastern Europe, which is in a fast developing process in recent years, we are looking for the possibility to offer to Albania a valuable development with our expertise on construction and energy areas. Besides that we will continue our attempts to offer to this beautiful place a better living and services according to standards.
The telecommunication sector in Albania is a developing sector. "Eagle Mobile" is the newest actor in this sector. Are you satisfied by this market and how do you estimate the competition?
Eagle Mobile, as the newest mobile phone operator in Albania, finished the within a short time of 6 months the network investment covering with signal all Albania. The speed with which “Eagle Mobile” invested and entered into market makes a record in Europe and this makes us to be proud of that as we received as well the appreciations by all GSM operators sector. We have dynamic staffs which have given a very good example of the work done and it will be an inseparable part of Albanians. Our Group has invested up to now 50 million euro for Eagle Mobile only and will continue to invest in the future as well. Our goal is to make Eagle Mobile the most desired and popular operator for Albanians. I want to emphasise that we are firm to provide the top quality service of acceptable prices in the telecommunication field for Albanians. The market bids and campaign have had a very positive reaction by the clients and the number of subscribers is enhancing so fast. I am deeply certain that Albanian people deserve the best.
One of the main priorities of Albanian Government is the expanding of internet service all around Albania. Besides other private operators, ALBtelecom is the largest operator providing internet service. Lately, there is a competition on provided tariffs, but we notice that those tariffs continue to be high. What is your strategy for this issue?
As above said, ALBtelecom is the leader on internet service provider. ALBtelecom with its quality service provides the best speed for this service as well as technical infrastructure, special offers into market, has sensitively increased the market effect of individual and business subscribers through enlarging the territory. The ALBtelecom strategy for internet service in year 2009 consists into providing a more quality, economical, and worth service (added value). I believe that the existing ALBtelecom subscribers and potential ones will benefit in year 2009 from the implementation of this strategy and they will be satisfied. A special importance will be given in year 2009 to the internet service pacts which will be provided to different groups with special possibilities and prices.
During the ALBtelecom privatization period, Çalik was one of the entities mostly talked about and debated. What are the actual relations with the government and other official institutions?
Calik Group has build relations with the governments and other official institutions in countries where it operates and invests basing on the philosophy of respecting the law, reciprocity trust and good understanding. Our company in all it`s countries of investments and project developments, has been very careful in precisely respecting and without equivoque all the legislations and our legal responsibilities toward official institutions. Our presence in Albania has the same philosophy. Out two companies ALBtelecom and "Eagle Mobile" have good relations in areas of their activities, mentioning here AKEP, the Competing Authority and all regulating authorities and other official institutions. It was talked a lot for our group in Albania during the privatization process and it became understandable how serious and important we were as investors. From the very start of privatization process, during the process up to now "Calik Group" has established a very serious cooperation and good mutual understanding with Albanian government and other state institutions. This was also affected by the liberal policies that Albania has applied toward foreign investors. Our group has given an important contribution in Albania through our investments. We provided new services to Albanians through National Commercial Bank, ALBtelecom and “Eagle Mobile”. We have given in this way an important contribution to create a competing market and we will do the same in the future. Our contribution is touchable by people as well as by the Albanian government.
“Panorama” newspaper 17 January 2009