France's mega eyeglasses manufacturer is joining the ranks of other major foreign firms attributing their growth to Turkey. The world's biggest ophthalmic optics manufacturer Essilor is embarking on a fast return to Turkey after abandoning the nation during the 2001 crisis. Essilor, which employs 43,000, will not only be signing on to a new investment in Turkey but also plans on using the country as a base of operations for regional nations. The French giant returned to Turkey at the start of the year by purchasing 70 percent of Yeda Tora Optik. Then last month, Essilor also reached an agreement with one of the fastest growing manufacturers in the sector Opak Optik. According to Opak Optik General Manager and Essilor's Turkey director Vedat Yılmaz, the French firm purchased a 51 percent share.
A brand new facility in the Mediterranean
Mentioning that Turkey's economic growth is what is allowing investments to gain momentum; Yılmaz states that Essilor will soon be building a facility from the ground up. The facility, which will produce 1,000 glasses lens daily, will be situated in the Mediterranean region. Yılmaz explains that the facility will be producing the 'progressive' lens, an Essilor creation, which has the capability of showing both close and long distances and will employ 50 staff members at the first stage.
Regional operations to be run from Istanbul
Essilor, which has a history spanning back to 1849, trades in the Paris Stock Exchange. The firm has operations in 100 different nations and employs 43,000. Essilor maintains 46 percent of the European market and 43 percent of the market in the U.S.
Essilor, which closed out the year with a 3.8 billion Euro turnover, also plans on running operations in the region from Istanbul. The first step will involve sending products to the Balkans, Central Aisa and Middle East markets, from their facilities in Turkey. Yılmaz states that Essilor will be entering a number of markets in this geography where Turkey's presence is strong in and which covers 30 nations, for the first time with Turks.
Turkey's economy continues to strengthenTurkey surpassed its 100 billion dollar currency reserves target in the first half of the year. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that the Central Bank's currency reserves have surpassed 103 billion dollars. "While we were trying to account for 100 billion dollars at the start of the year, as of now our currency reserves have already reached 103 billion, 104 million dollars," states Erdoğan. The Prime Minister also said that in the first half of 2013, and most likely by April, Turkey will have zeroed out its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). "We are now building a new debt structure with the IMF, instead of being a nation that borrows, we are now rising to become one that loans to the IMF," says Erdoğan.
This is a translation of an article originally written by Kerim Ülker.