Interview with Mr.FERHAT KONDUR – AREA MANAGER – Middle East, Africa, APEC / ANTEX
By: Mahboobeh Ghayedi – Kohan Textile Journal
1. Could you please let us know more about your company and products, goals and success story?
Anadolu Kimya is a leading manufacturing company in Turkey, supplying %100 ecological waterbased and phthalate-free plastisol inks to the textile printing industry. We deliver inks and service solutions for the printing sector to the world with our sales network in 55 countries under the ’ANTEX’ brand.
There has been a great success and breakout by introducing polyurethane-based inks for the first time in Turkey and this success continues with the investments in R & D over the decades. We campaign to offer premium quality textile inks by analyzing accurately and timely the needs of the printing industry and requirements of global retail brands. Within the framework of this mindset, it is indispensable for ANTEX to protect our world, oceans and living diversity by producing in the awareness of our responsibilities towards nature and natural life.
2. What do you think about the Middle East and Africa textile market and it’s potentials?
There are 3 major elements for the textile industry to maintain its growth: labour force, infrastructure technology for sustainable quality and accessible water sources suitable for industrial use. When we look at today’s situation, since the Asia-Pacific countries mostly meet these three criteria, a huge pie of the global production volume is fulfilled by this geography and it seems that this global demand will be met from this geography for a while. At the same time, increasing production costs in Asia have led the textile industry to seek production in different regions. At this point, the Middle East and Africa come to the fore.
Although the Middle East offers great potential thanks to its very important trading ports and qualified labour force, it will take some time for political risks to be eliminated. In this context, Africa is more advantageous than the Middle East. We observe that China provides dynamism to the region by supporting state funds, infrastructure and logistics investments.
However, in order to compete with Asia in the medium term, it needs to accelerate its investments in technology and infrastructure, especially in industrial water resources. By providing these, it will capture the momentum in a much shorter time that Asia has achieved in the past. Moreover, many African countries’ cultural and commercial ties with Europe are more developed and logistically more advantageous than Asian countries. That’s why we can say that the future is on the African continent with the right investment moves.
3. Do you have export? Which countries in the Middle East and Africa is your main destination?
We export to 6 continents including Australia. For that in Africa we have; Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius… and we have Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and UAE markets in the MiddleEast. Before 2012, we had a strong trade volume with Syria as well.
4. How do you evaluate textile and garment industry in Turkey? What kind of government aids can boost this sector?
Current governmental supports and incentives to the textile industry are not foreground amongst today’s economic policies of the Turkish government. However, it is still the 3rd largest textile manufacturer and exporter in the world. We are talking about an industry that has a trade surplus of $ 16 billion, excluding home textiles. In 2019, only apparel exports reached $ 15 billion.
It is an industry that has managed to maintain this trend even in such an unstable economic environment. Of course, the quality of production processes can be increased and new global retail brands can appear in global markets with the helping hand of sectoral institutions, collaboration of marketing agencies and financial supports provided by the government if only used efficiently by the entrepreneurs. LC Waikiki is a very significant example of success in this respect.
Imagine a Turkey with backing power of manufacturing and brand can literally dominate the global textile industry. We have such potential. In addition to this, many Turkish professionals work as an expat in many countries around the world in managerial positions such as; consultancy, management and production supervision. They are authorities in many areas and this brings a huge network. We should let them to connect each other fluently. This network delivers innovations and accessible knowledge model If we can manage it.
5. How big is the market for the textile and clothing industry in the Middle East and Africa?
Although there are limited water resources in Africa and considerable political risks in the Middle East, we observe that the many US and EU based retail brands have entered into production agreements during our area visits. Egypt is in the forefront among these, but Jordan, Tunisia and Ethiopia come to the fore with their potentials. Just recently, a giant Turkish textile group established the largest integrated textile factory in Algeria.
It is said to be Africa’s largest investment in production capacity and employment size. We are also watching these developments with full interest. When we consider the market size share of the Middle East and Africa to the global production (it was $ 480.50 billion according to all import figures in 2018, based on the WTO data of the world imports) these 2 regions can cover only 4-5% of this global demand for now… I would like to emphasize that, Turkey is not considered in this region and excluded from the calculation. Therefore, there is a great potential ahead!
6. What are the major barriers in the textile and garment trade in the region?
First of all, the most visible uncertainty in front of global trade is; the trade wars between the US and China, no one can predict where it will evolve next. At this point, of course, international investments may be delayed or have to be postponed. For the time being, there is no specific case to be considered as a barrier in regional textile and garment sector. Because, population is increasing, demands are increasing and moreover, these demands are directed towards customization.
In terms of our industry, digital printing has become very demanding in ready-to-wear garments, and the costs of digital printing in large-scale productions are progressing slightly lower each year. As a global ink supplier of the sector, ANTEX follows developments closely and continues R & D investments in this direction by maintaining our position of bringing innovations but not following only.
7. Normally how many exhibitions you participate. Annually and which ones?
ANTEX has been the center of attention with its innovative products and solutions that have attracted attention in every trade fairs it has participated and has gathered important feedbacks. On average, we can say that we have practices of attending 1 global fair every year in the last 10 years. In addition, we continuously develop our products and services in cooperation with machinery and equipment suppliers, apparel brands, R & D institutions, laboratories and universities.
We introduced our new products; waterbased PS Super Elastic Serie, in FESPA Berlin 2018. We meet the requirements of almost all global sportswear brands with this series that we developed in a very short time after increase in product quality demands from printing inks in sportswear. We do not only offer a certain quality standard, but also simplify printing processes and minimize the share of rejected production in printing units.
PS 07 Super Elastic White and PS 05 Matt Clear are one of Europe’s ambitious waterbased inks for printing on sportswear. In the beginning of 2019, we worked together with Japan’s leading screening technology company RISO and Polish printing machine manufacturer ANATOL in VISCOM Dusseldorf.
We presented our plastisol inks for promotional wearable items printing market with real-time demonstrations. In this way, we have achieved a very strong position in the Eastern European market especially in Poland, where supply Europe’s demand for promotional printing. We will continue such similar collaborations. We would also like to announce that we are ready for joint-study activities with all sector professionals who wish to cooperate with our team of 10 engineers in our Istanbul R & D centre.
8. You are free to add any extra information, Figures, Table, picture … to this interview if it is necessary.
We added new markets to our portfolio from Africa and the Middle East in 2018 and 2019, establishing a sales network in Kenya and Uganda. We increased our sales volume with Algeria by 100%. We keep maintaining a strong relationship with factories in Jordan. We are the market leader in Morocco in real sales and second in Tunisia.
We increased our market share in Egypt by 35% compared to last year. We are in talks with a very strong chemical distributor in West Africa on the Ivory Coast and completed the structure of our distributor network in Central America last year. Our monthly sales of special effect inks such as SP 234 Glitter Base and SP 236 Foil Adhesive reached 30 tons in India. In addition, last year we conducted technical visits to 15 different countries and commercial visits to all countries where we have existing distributors.
This year, we made very important investments in our R & D centre and expanded our staff. Our export sales grew by 32% compared to last year while the local economy was experiencing economic shrinkage in Turkey. This success stems from our corporate culture, which does not give up supplying premium quality products. As ANTEX, we have a mission to be visible wherever there is garment production and printing in the world. We are constantly working, observing, analyzing and improving our product and services to deliver this mission to the next generations.
We invite all professionals in the printing industry to our booth at HALL2 at the 22nd Textile Asia Exhibition to be held in Lahore, Pakistan on September 20-22, 2019.
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