Turkey’s Arkem aims to become major regional player in chemical distribution

I recently interviewed the CEO of Turkey’s Arkem, a major chemical distributor domestically with ambitious plans to become a major regional player in chemical distribution. 

This was the first media interview ever for the company’s CEO and chairman, Levand Kokuludag but he seemed more relaxed than many old hands who have undergone so much “media training” that they have become terrified of journalists.

Kokuludag said he aims to double revenues from its chemical operations to $600m by 2016 by pursuing an ambitious expansion programme which could eventually see it emerge as a global player in chemical distribution.
He plans to transform the company into a truly international business by setting up terminals and expanding a network of sales offices across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Kokuludag revealed plans to open offices in Shanghai, Beirut, Moscow and Dubai during 2011. There are also plans to open a shipping terminal in Temryuk, Russia over the next 1-2 years.

“We want to buy and sell chemicals internationally so that we can become a global company within the next 10 years,” said Kokuludag, adding: “The Beirut office will help us serve customers in Lebanon and Syria. It is time for us to be present there and our suppliers want us to go to countries where we understand the culture.”

Over the next 4-5 years, Kokuludag would also like to start buying shares in supplier companies: “As a shareholder we can sell their products and also share the financial risks of production.

On the domestic market, Kokuludag would like to expand Arkem into electronic chemicals, cosmetics, food ingredients and possibly fertilizers.

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