The past year has witnessed many important developments in Turkey and in the world. Our 2019 agenda included the ongoing trade wars between the US and China, uncertainties around Brexit, concerns over the global economy and the Amazon forest fires that broke out in Brazil which deeply saddened all of us. When we take a look at the global economic outlook, we see that central banks including the Fed and the European Central Bank in particular began to reduce interest rates due to various geopolitical risks and volatilities in the financial markets. The Turkish economy, on the other hand, felt the aftershocks of the financial volatilities of 2018 into the first half of 2019. Fortunately, the second half of the year after the local elections witnessed a recovery thanks to the base effect in inflation and a balance in the other main economic criteria.
As for our sector, we observed a highly important event concerning the security of our energy supply with the TurkStream Natural Gas Pipeline made ready for gas flow in late 2019. The energy sector remained as the “strategic sector” in the management of our economy, and energy safety, energy efficiency and the use of local and national resources in renewable energy made up the most important agenda items for the sector last year. Our country exhibits a willingness to become an energy commercial center and in this sense I believe that there is a bright future awaiting us.
All these developments together tell me that we are switching to a new global order in which we will need to adapt to socio-economic transformations much more quickly and re-shape our management processes in response to uncertainties. At Turcas, we have always been focused on creating value for our nation throughout our rich 89 year history thanks to our lean and agile organization that has rapidly adapted to change, as well as to our experience gained through international collaborations. I believe we successfully managed the 2019 year as a result of the solid risk management policies of our subsidiaries and with support from our professional team in whom I have always had great trust. In addition, I would also like to highlight that I am particularly proud of having a differentiated understanding of corporate governance and being the energy company that has the highest corporate governance rating within the energy sector.
Our subsidiary Shell & Turcas Petrol in the fuel retail and lubricants sector, the flagship industry of our investment portfolio, not only pursues top quality service mentality in offering services to over one million customers a day but also makes its mark through highly valuable corporate social responsibility projects by taking into account the needs of the society. The company also continues to lead the fuel sector with its innovative and environment-friendly investments by increasing the number of solar-powered gas stations or opening Turkey’s first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) station with an awareness of the importance of the use of clean and eco-friendly alternative fuels.
In the field of Conventional Energy, we continue to strengthen our financial standing and observe technical excellence at the 800 MW Denizli Natural Gas-Fired Combined-Cycle Power Plant operated by our other subsidiary RWE & Turcas.
We will continue to create social benefits in line with our business approach to ensure efficient and continuous improvement in all our activities. I believe sustainable development can only be secured by gathering together under common values, embracing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and ensuring a collaboration among the private and public sector, the world of academia and society.
Finally, the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic that began in China and quickly spread around the world has begun to have broad impacts in our country as well. We took our measures at the highest level in all our subsidiaries to protect the health of our stakeholders including in particular our employees, customers and suppliers. I believe we will overcome these challenging days by acting with common sense, solidarity, unity, and cooperation. I extend my most sincere thanks to our stakeholders, shareholders, employees as well as our esteemed Board of Directors for their efforts in defeating all these challenges by following every development in our country and around the world perfectly, and by generating solutions thanks to their ability to not only analyze today’s conditions but also to envisage the future.
Chairman of the Board of Directors