The Kılıç Group wants to go global
Kılıç has 34 fish growing units
The Kılıç Group is planning to expand in Turkey – along with conquering the US
THE Kılıç Group based in Milas, Mugla, is Turkey’s biggest producer of seabass and seabream and it also has a large trout processing facility, producing in total 30,000 tonnes of fish per year. It had a gross profit of TRK118,912 in 2011.
It is recognised as one of Turkey’s most valued brands, but as you would expect from a forward thinking company, it has its eye on the bigger picture, taking the Turkish aquaculture industry across the globe. As of 2011, 64% of harvested fish volume was sold to export markets through Kılıç’s subsidiaries KLC Gıda and Spador SRL (founded in Italy in 2003).
Founded in 1993, Kılıç has become the leading Turkish aquaculture company in terms of juvenile production with an annual production capacity of 320.5 million juvenile fish (as of 2011, seafish and trout included).
Kılıç’s facilities are composed of 34 fish growing units (including three trout farm sites in Kahramamaras, Kayseri and Gazantiep), five juvenile fish hatcheries, two adaptation units, two fish feed production sites with a capacity of 80,000 tonnes per year (in Mugla and Aydin), two processing facilities (seabass and seabream in Milas, trout in Kahramamaras) and various packaging facilities.
The processing plants process raw material into fresh whole round, or gutted fish, fresh fillets and smoked trout fillets. Both plants are certified to various international standards
including ISO, British Retail Consortium (BRC), International Food Standard (IFS) and GLOBALG.A.P. It houses its own laboratories and offices at the plants – so it maintains its own strict quality controls.
Kılıç’s trout farming and processing facility are of significant impact to the local economy – but it’s in seabass and seabream production where the company really stands out because it produces 24,000 tonnes annually (27,000 is expected for 2012). It’s not only Turkey’s largest producer for these species, but also one of the largest in the world.
It has Turkey’s largest production in seabass and seabream juveniles (270 million annually) spread out over four hatcheries, a feed mill, processing and packaging facilities and sales and marketing for domestic and international distribution. Together the four hatcheries supply around 60% of Turkey’s demand for seabass and seabream fry.
At the Kılıç Guvercinlik hatchery near Mugla, R&D activities are carried out and this is where it also carries out research on new species to see if there is potential for the commercial market.
But its main business is in producing 20 million seabass and seabream fry for Kılıç’s own production (40%), but also for other farms around Turkey (30%) and internationally in Greece, Tunisia, Dubai and Egypt. In fact, 30% is now exported thanks to the economic crisis increasing demand abroad.
Greece always had the monopoly in juvenile production, but since its economic troubles, Turkey has taken advantage of the gap in the market. Mr Alp Oyman, business development
manager and strategic planning manager, believes that when it comes to juvenile production, Turkey may well have overtaken Greece. The performance of the Turkish Lira (TRK) in 2011 compared to the Euro provided a price advantage for Kılıç over its Greek competitors.
As a company, Kılıç is no stranger to pioneering new ideas – Mr Oyman told World Fishing & Aquaculture that Kılıç is the only fish producer in Turkey using a SAP system which took a year and a half to set up – the system will enable the traceability of fish to be tracked from the hatchery right through to the retailer.
He attributes much of Kılıç’s success to managing its own processes, keeping its facilities in close proximity and taking risks with the market – not to mention making huge investments.
One such move is demonstrated in a new growing facility Kılıç is opening in Tunisia – it has just started shipping 13 million juveniles from Turkey to the facility.
There are also plans for a new facility in Morocco which will produce 2,000 tonnes of seabass and 1,500 tonnes of seabream per year – a kind of second base to Turkey, and it will be used for shipping fish in quicker transit times to Europe.
Kılıç is also working on starting a new company in Panama which will be geared towards the American markets – it’s a strategic move by the company because of the free trade agreement that exists between Panama and the US. It will be used to farm 1,500 tonnes
of Mediterranean seabream, pompano and cobia varieties initially. “If we are going to survive we have to be in America. In Europe the market has stagnated and in Turkey there are few farming licenses still available. If we want new sales we have to go to the US and Russia”, Mr Murat Bakirci, chief executive officer, said to World Fishing & Aquaculture.
Of course, it helps if you’re a large company like Kılıç because you are best placed to test the global market. But the company hasn’t discounted the Turkish domestic market completely – in five years time it aims to open another facility in Turkey, it’s already looking for a new site.
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