Esteemed Shareholders, Business Partners and Distinguished Employees,
2018 was a year of slow growth in the global economy, while optimism for the future diminished. Increases in tension due to inter-country mercantile problems, in particular the enmity between the United States and China, the high borrowing rates set by developing countries and also the developments in the United Kingdom related to Brexit are all important for Turkey.
In addition to the economic shrinkage and the impacts of uncertainty in the wake of the decreasing trend in growth rates on a global scale, coupled with the fluctuations in currency in recent months in Turkey, have lead to perceptions that 2019 will also be a difficult year. The growth rate in the construction sector that for many years was the impetus behind the development of Turkish economy has reduced almost to a standstill when compared to the past due to the incremental changes in currency and interest rates and fiscal discipline policies. Another adverse situation that has hit the sector is in the housing segment, with sales of housing in Turkey decreasing by 2.4 percent in 2018 when compared to the previous year. In the upcoming period, it is expected that investments will decrease in number due to the increasing costs of financing, the difficult lending terms, geopolitical risks and the global slowdown.
Inflation and currency fluctuations, as the most important item on the agenda at the moment in Turkey, are at the top of the list of the most worrying factors. It is expected that economic growth will be around 1 percent this year, compared to the 2.6 percent seen last year. The steps taken under the new economic program announced just after the local elections are vital for the balancing of the economy.
In brief, 2019 is looking to be a year of both risks and opportunities.
As Nurol Holding, our primary objective is to manage the risks by maintaining a balanced portfolio, and by utilizing the full capacity of our company. We are continuing our product development and diversification activities, and have established a considerable R&D structure in the technology field. We are now working to maximize on quality while reducing costs in existing products, backed by a search for new products. We are seeking to increase the brand recognition of the Nurol Group not only in Turkey but also in the global markets, believing that we can achieve this together with our shareholders, and with the efforts and support of our business partners and associates, as always.
NUROL continues to operate with around 40 subsidiaries, affiliate companies, branches and project partnerships, established both at home and abroad, primarily in the defense sectors, but also in such industries as technology, real estate investment, energy, tourism, mining, finance, trade and services, and particularly, construction and contracting. As of December 31, 2018, the Group has consolidated assets amounting to TRY 20.3 billion and we have set a 2019 year-end target of TRY 21.2 billion. Planning, coordinating and executing its operations in line with the goal of sustainable growth in parallel to developing markets and economic changes, the NUROL GROUP OF COMPANIES has today a workforce numbering over 10,000, a turnover of TRY 7.2 billion and, by the end of 2019, an increased budget of TRY 11.1 billion, representing an increase of 54 percent.
NUROL CONSTRUCTION, which maintains a very large share in our total financial turnover, has been continuing operations both in Turkey, ands is carrying out works in countries spread over a wide geographical area, from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Qatar to Georgia, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. Our researches in the Middle and Far East, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and South America are ongoing, and the potentials in Africa, mainly in the Sub-Saharan African nations, are being closely monitored.
Serving toward the fulfillment of the needs of the Turkish defense sector, NUROL MAKİNA, NUROL TEKNOLOJİ and FNSS are continuing their efforts in production, design and engineering, offering integrated solution packages that are tailor-made for user requirements. By generating employment, establishing a supply chain and transferring technology, our companies continue to create economic added value not only in Turkey, but also in other countries where they have undersigned many important projects.
NUROL Holding keeps contributing the Turkish economy in Mining with its company titled TÜMAD Madencilik and with the slogan “mine for human” it produces in line with the sustainability principles based on the element of respect for human and environment in its firms. Being in compliance with the performance requirements of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), TÜMAD Madencilik has become one of the pioneering companies as the new power of the country in gold production with its projects based on the “Best Practicable Technologies”.
While focusing on the commercial successes of our companies, we strive to fulfill our social responsibility with projects that bring social benefit to many fields, including education, culture, the arts and sports, through the work of NURLOL VAKFI (Nurol Foundation). To protect Turkey’s natural and cultural heritage, we have launched various social activities around the country, and particularly in the regions in which we have invested.
Through our investments in support of national development for more than half century, we strive to provide better and more qualified services through our contributions to the national economy and to employment, and through the inflows of foreign currency we bring. We will continue to be involved in successful projects in such a way that is worthy of the NUROL name, and to represent our country in the best manner, without compromise to universal values while moving towards our goal of profitable growth abroad.
I offer my thanks to the members of the NUROL FAMILY, particularly to our Founding Partners, who have worked with devotion toward a single objective, from the past to the present, without sacrifice to our ethical values, for their contributions to our unity and solidarity, and stress my hope for days full of peace, health and welfare, both for our nation, and the world as a whole.
Chairman of Board