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Cohort 9 visits Koc Holding on the Asian side of Istanbul.

After two business visits earlier today at GE and Pozitron, members of Stetson University Executive MBA program’s Cohort 9 crossed the bridge in Istanbul to the Asia side to visit Koc Holding.

Ms. Funda Gungor, investor relations coordinator for Koc Holding, presented. Koc Holding is a large industrial group in terms of revenue, exports, share in the Istanbul Stock Exchange and number of employees. Koc Holding is in the Top 50 companies in Europe and Top 200 in the World. It has an 85-year history with a very large presence in Turkey and has 9% of the total sales/GDP, controls 11% of the Turkey Exports, and has 15 companies listed publicly.

Koc Holding has grown by an average of 31% in dollars in the last five years. Its focus is energy, automotive, durable goods and finance, which all have high growth potential.

Gungor stressed the importance of balancing risk and return in a portfolio and explained why Koc Holding has diversified its portfolio so that different sectors can thrive at different times within the global economy. She said that Koc Holding differentiates itself by quality and service, not just dollars. It also has the largest distribution network, customer database, leading brands with strong recognition and a diversified portfolio. It has strong net cash of $641 million.

Koc Holding is a third-generation holding company; however, family is only involved at board meetings, not in the day-to-day business dealings.

Cohort 9 students spend time together at Koc Holding.

Koc Holding is looking to export Fiat products to the United States. Cohort 9 student Brian Smith asked how Koc deals with the automotive industry. Gungor answered that the company is very dependent on its partner here and that Koc Holding just acts as the distribution and manufacturing hub, where in the other sectors it has much more control.

Cohort 9 student Gwen Schaefer asked about the company’s database. Gungor confirmed that it contains more than 11 million contacts that Koc tries to upsell and cross-sell to.

Danielle VanCola, Cohort 9 student, was interested in how Koc brands its companies. Many times, said Gungor, Koc uses its logo, and depending on the situation, it may combine that with the existing company name. For instance, when Koc Holding purchased Yapkikredi Bank. Koc uses its logo with the original bank name because of long-standing name recognition.

Members of the Koc Holding Business Team said they were impressed with the company's strategy.

Members of the Koc Holding Business Team (Dianne Honel, Valerie Baker, Maria Chalmers, Rebecca Potter, and VanCola) were impressed with how Koc Holding responded to the oil crises and the contraction in the market of 25% to 30%, as well as how strategic this company is in responding to future growth.

The entire cohort learned that Koc Holding not only has a dominant position in Turkey, but it is also socially responsible through various philanthropic efforts in education, healthcare, and culture and arts through the first private foundation created. In 2011, Koc Holding committed $203.5 Turkish Lira to reduce the impact of operations to improve the environment, showing that the company is here to stay.

“The cohort crossed the bridge and returned to the European side of Istanbul,” said Wendy Lowe, Executive MBA program coordinator, “but we can say we were in Asia!”

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