The Kaptan turned the course high

FORTUNE Şubat 2008. Özgür Gözler’in Ahmet ÇEBİ röportajı

FORTUNE February 2008. Ahmet ÇEBI interview with Özgür Gözler

Captain Demir Çelik, who is among the top five in the sector, has Decertified his route. The new goal is to launch a $ 300-400 million investment in blast furnaces in 2009.
Year 2000… Today, Captain Demir Çelik, one of the five largest players in the iron and steel sector, is taking the first steps to establish a steel mill in Marmara Ereğli. This step is very important for the Çebi family, which has been in the iron and steel business for many years, because thanks to this investment of about 100 million dollars, the company will reach the top league. With great excitement, orders are being placed for machinery and equipment. But luck is not going very well. The crisis erupts in 2001, when the machines are loaded, payments begin. At a time when almost all investment decisions in Turkey are suspended, credit channels are blocked, the domestic Sunday is shrinking, the Chebi family is on the verge of a critical decision. Ahmet Çebi, CEO of Kaptan Demir Çelik, explains how they made that decision:”We did it out of desperation, not out of courage, there was no going back.We started swimming, we were in the middle of the creek. Instead of going back, we went to the other side. It could have been very bad. We tried a little, and our luck helped a little. Otherwise, I don’t even want to remember those days. There were days when I thought I couldn’t finish it.”

During the crisis, Yaşar Kaptan Çebi, who transferred things to his sons many years ago, is also returning to management again and the whole family is overcoming the troubles by joining hands. in 2002, the steel mill with a capacity of 1.2 million tons comes into operation. Kaptan Demir Çelik is ranked 78th in the list of the “500 Largest Industrial Enterprises” of the Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO), where it was ranked 149th in 2001, and it is ranked 71st in 2002. In short, it doesn’t take them too long to see the scene of the shooting.

With the help of rising prices of iron and steel all over the world, Kaptan carries its growth success further in the following years. the company’s turnover reached 650 million dollars in 2007 and has risen to 38th place in the latest ISO list. And he doesn’t think much of stopping after that. Ahmet Çebi, while excitedly describing the investments they are planning, said,”We are not in a position to take what we have won with us. Of course we will invest. Our age is younger, we need to work,” he says.

Kaptan, which launched in 1964 with a production of 10 thousand tons, is a family-owned company. The founder of the company, Yaşar Kaptan Çebi, is a member of one of the extended families of Turkey. in the 1950s, Yaşar Kaptan Çebi’s father was engaged in iron and steel trade opposite the Trabzon port. Yaşar Kaptan Çebi, who took iron from Karabük at that time and brought it to Trabzon and sold it with his father, takes over the business after his father’s death in 1958, comes to Karabük in 1964 and takes his first step into the iron and steel sector as an industrialist. They start their business with a rolling mill that produces 10 thousand tons in these years, when the private sector has not really entered the iron and steel business. by 1975, the capacity is being increased to 70 thousand tons.

Yaşar Kaptan Çebi, who lived in Karabük in the first half of the 1970s, is opening an office in Thursday Market for her sons who are studying in Istanbul. His eldest son Ahmet Çebi, who was a student at the Faculty of Economics of Marmara University at the time, and Tayfun Çebi, who studied at the Faculty of Economics of Istanbul University, go here every day after school and warm up their working lives. Yaşar Kaptan Çebi, who is very confident in her sons who work at the factory for three months by returning to their father’s side in the summers, transfers all the jobs to them after a few years.

Captain Demir Çelik, under the direction of his sons, makes a decision to establish a rolling mill and a steel mill in Corlu in the early 90s. In the first place, a rolling mill producing rebar is being put into operation in Corlu with a capacity of 150 thousand tons. However, due to the distance of its location to the port, the steel mill facility, which is planned to be built next to this rolling mill, is being abandoned immediately. After that, Martaş port, an indispensable part of the iron and steel business, was established by them in the Marmara Ereğli in 1993. Together with the port, the steel mill investment, which was previously postponed, is also back on the agenda and production begins in 2002.

Today, Kaptan Demir Çelik has a rolling mill of 70 thousand tons where it was first established in Karabük, which is engaged in boutique production by renovation and exports profiles to countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. After the port investment made in Marmara Ereğli, a steel plant and an integrated rolling mill are being built near it. The construction of these facilities is being completed in 2006. With all these investments, the production capacity increases to 1.5 million tons.

Today, Ahmet Çebi from the third generation, who is more interested in investment decisions, is the CEO of the company. His brother, Tayfun Çebi, is engaged in foreign trade issues. Their sister Arzu Efe, who is actually a ceramic artist, started working as a board member in the family company a few years ago. Yaşar Kaptan Çebi, who is known for her support to education and sports, especially in Karabük, is working at an intense pace at the head of the facilities in Marmara Ereğlisi as the chairman of the board of directors.

Kaptan Demir Çelik closed the year 2007 with a turnover of about $ 750 million, of which $ 400 million were exports. Dec Sundays exports to countries such as the USA, Russia, EU countries, North Africa, Arab Countries, Romania and Bulgaria, the company’s target markets include countries such as Sudan, Nigeria, Chad. Ahmet Çebi, who said that production has now started in almost all other countries, said: “We have to knock on the doors of these countries now. Although it is quite difficult logistically, we will find a way to achieve it,” he says.

The company is making plans to bypass a new threshold in 2010. Ahmet Çebi, who said that they aim to grow by 40 percent in 2010, says that they plan to build a heavy profile production facility by this date and then a blast furnace iron and steel plant for this purpose. 2008-
a plant that will produce heavy profiles with a capacity of 300-400 thousand tons will be installed next to the steelworks in Ereğli with an investment of 70 million dollars between 2010 and Dec010.Ahmet Çebi, who stated that it is out of the question for them to enter the flat steel, said that they are considering producing a heavy profile, saying,”Especially in the H, E profile, Turkey has a deficit. This is a profile system, the use of which is encouraged in construction around the world. We have accelerated a little bit in this regard,” he says.
the targets for 2010 will be achieved not only by new investments, but also by increasing productivity by making technological investments in existing facilities. Ahmet Çebi, who stated that continuous investments should be made in technology to increase competitiveness in the iron and steel sector, explains that the tools and equipment they use in the facilities are constantly changing. In order to compete in this sector, developments that will save money on January, electrical transformers, materials used in castings should be followed, he continues:”You will spend the money on investment instead of putting interest in the bank. The technology is constantly improving. You can’t wait more than five years for a new investment. Two years ago, we found a way to increase the January’s capacity and diameter by using two instead of three charges and three instead of four charges. Although the scrap has deteriorated, we have not increased the number of charges. We have enlarged our transformers. Thus, we achieved an increase in efficiency. Now we are consolidating and growing our cranes. We are looking for various alternatives to make quality steel in casting machine. We will implement them in two years. We are planning to make medium-sized, minor changes before making a complete new investment.”

But beyond all this, the biggest goal for Ahmet Decebi right now is to build an iron and steel plant with a blast furnace. Çebi said that the emerging Turkish Sunday affects foreigners,”The iron and steel sector is a very dangerous sector that you can survive if you play well; otherwise. Because you buy your raw materials from outside. I think that if Turkey continues with the current policy in rebar production, companies in this field will have a lot of problems in the future. But the players in the field of blast furnaces that are not dependent on heavy profile, flat steel or scrap will stay afloat. That’s why we intend to anyway,”he says.

Ahmet Çebi said that the dependence on imports of raw materials is a big problem for Turkey and that this problem will continue in the future,”Therefore, we want to put aside the scrap-based production format and produce in blast furnaces such as Kardemir, Isdemir, Erdemir. We want to try, knowing that we will be forced. Just as we survived the 2001 crisis, we will try it too,”he says. Çebi says that they will invest over 300-400 million dollars for this facility, which is expected to be completed in five years. The location of the facility is not yet clear, but it is certain that it will be located domestically. Ahmet Çebi, who stated that they also evaluate such opportunities when we ask if they are considering getting a foreign partner, says that the details about the project will become clear in the summer.