EBRD promotes higher standards in Turkey's acrylic fibre industry

By Olga Rosca

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€50 million to leading acrylic fibre producer Aksa
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is promoting higher standards and greater efficiency in Turkey’s fast-growing chemical industry, with a €50 million loan to Aksa, the world’s leading producer of acrylic fibre.
The loan will finance the company’s far-reaching 2015-17 capital expenditure programme, which includes a series of environmental, health and safety, and resource efficiency improvements as well as investments in the research and development of new high-value-added products. 
With the EBRD support, Aksa will implement new health and safety standards at its plant in Yalova, in north-western Turkey, which will go beyond the requirements of national regulations. It will become the country’s first chemical company committing itself to the best international practices in the industry.
In addition, the EBRD loan will finance the construction of a wastewater treatment facility. The facility, which will also be used by other companies nearby, will reduce wastewater discharge in the region and increase the amount of recycled water. This is particularly important given the firm’s proximity to the Sea of Marmara and the issue of water stress in the area.
Frederic Lucenet, EBRD Director for Manufacturing and Services, said: “The EBRD’s investment will help the company pioneer the highest international health and safety practices, raising the bar for Turkish industry.”
“With the new standards and greater efficiency, Aksa will use less energy and fewer resources while recycling more water. We are pleased to be able to support this leading producer in its commitment to developing and sharing innovative solutions which can make Turkish acrylic fibre production more efficient, more environmentally friendly and even more competitive on the global market.”
Cengiz Taş, General Manager of Aksa Akrilik, commented: “This significant investment demonstrates Aksa’s high corporate social-responsibility values and is a historic step for the entire Turkish chemical sector. We will upgrade health and safety standards at our plant in Yalova, the largest acrylic production facility in the world, and will build the biggest communal wastewater treatment plant in the region to increase water efficiency. The EBRD’s technical and financial support is critical for the process.”
Established in 1968 by Turkish textile manufacturers to meet the growing demand for acrylic fibre from the country’s textile industry, Aksa grew to become the global leader in the sector. The acrylic fibre it produces is used in textile industries worldwide.
Akkök Holding A.Ş. has 39.6 per cent stake in the company, while 37.2 per cent of shares are publicly traded on Borsa Istanbul.
The EBRD has previously provided a US$ 50 million loan to Aksa to finance energy efficiency improvements and product development aimed at boosting its operational efficiency.
Improving the competiveness of Turkish firms by investing in higher standards and innovation is one of the EBRD’s priorities in the country.
The Bank started investing in Turkey in 2009 and currently operates from offices in Istanbul, Ankara and Gaziantep. In 2014, Turkey became the Bank’s largest single recipient with new investments worth €1.4 billion. To date, the EBRD has invested over €5 billion in the country across more than 140 projects in infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, industry and finance.
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