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Update on Türkiye, March 2024

TürkÇimento revealed this week that cement production in Türkiye grew by 10.5% year-on-year to 81.5Mt in 2023. In a press release describing the progress of the local cement sector, the cement association reported that domestic sales rose by 19% to 65Mt but that exports fell by 28% to just under 20Mt. Fatih Yücelik, the chair of TürkÇimento, also said that his country was the second largest exporter of cement in the world in 2023 and that its most important target market was the US. He noted that the construction sector grew by 8% during 2023, that reconstruction projects were enacted following earthquakes in early 2023 but that no further growth in domestic sales of cement was anticipated in 2024.

As is standard for these kinds of occasions, Yücelik also raised the association’s sustainability ambitions, describing his sector as one “whose main goal is to provide low-carbon production.” He added that the Turkish cement industry supports the country’s net zero target of 2053. To this end the association has also released its first sustainability report, for 2022, covering 48 of the country’s 52 integrated plants. The Hürriyet Daily News newspaper offered one reason for this enthusiasm for sustainability: the US$30bn in investment required to meet that 2053 net-zero target. It also reported that Yücelik said that the industry needed to spend US$2bn towards meeting the incoming requirements of the European Union Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).

Graph 1: Domestic and export cement sales in Türkiye, January – October, 2017 – 2023. Source: TürkÇimento. 

Graph 1: Domestic and export cement sales in Türkiye, January – October, 2017 – 2023. Source: TürkÇimento.

TürkÇimento’s data for 2023 currently runs up to October 2023 but it supports Yücelik’s assessment. As can be seen in Graph 1, domestic sales of cement rose sharply in the first 10 months of 2023, by 20% year-on-year to 53.1Mt, yet exports fell almost as abruptly, by 18% to 13Mt. This is noteworthy, as exports had been rising steadily each year since 2018. Italy-based Cementir provided some context here in its annual report for 2023 saying that it had decided to focus on the domestic market due to greater profitability. Heidelberg Materials’ joint-venture Akçansa echoes these comments, blaming declining exports on “historically low freight rates increasing competitiveness of southeast Asian suppliers” while emphasising that the shift to the domestic market was made to meet increasing demand.

Graph 2: Revenue of selected large Turkish cement producers, 2022 - 2023. Source: Company reports. 

Graph 2: Revenue of selected large Turkish cement producers, 2022 – 2023. Source: Company reports.

Financial information from the larger Turkish cement producers that have released their results for 2023 follows the same pattern. Three of the four companies included in Graph 2 saw sales revenue grow in 2023. The one that saw its revenue fall, Nuh Çimento, is a major exporter. In 2022 for example it supplied 18% of the country’s total cement exports. All of these companies saw operating profit or earnings increase though.

The other big Türkiye-based news story this week was that Taiwan Cement Corporation (TCC) completed the latest increase to its stakes of Cimpor Global Holdings joint-ventures in Türkiye and Portugal. TCC now owns a 60% stake of the business in Türkiye and a 100% stake in Portugal. With respect to the business in Türkiye this means that TCC now has control of the country’s largest cement producer, OYAK Çimento. Once again the CBAM received a mention, with TCC saying in its valedictory statement that it believed that, “whether it’s domestic or imported cement, low-carbon cement will become the main competitive advantage for the cement companies entering the European market.”

The domestic market in Türkiye may have seen a bounce in 2023 but the attention of both TürkÇimento, TCC and others are firmly set on the wider market in the region. TürkÇimento’s Fatih Yücelik said that the country’s cement production capacity was 120Mt/yr and that the population would have to be 150m to eliminate the need for exports. Its population is currently just under 85m. Yücelik set a value of US$2bn for his sector to adjust to CBAM but he also remarked that the income from exports in 2023 was around US$1.3bn. This is not an easy investment ‘pill’ to swallow but one that the country will have to digest if it wants to keep its export levels up.

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