Esteemed shareholders and stakeholders,
It has been our mission since the day we were founded to meet the expectations of our customers to the best of our abilities. We believed we could achieve what has not been done before, the unthinkable; and we accomplished many firsts. Meeting the demands and expectations required research and development. So we invested in this area, developed our engineering capabilities and established our test centre, one of the few facilities of its kind in Turkey and Europe. We were rewarded for these efforts in 2014, and our R&D Centre was named the “Most Successful R&D Centre” in the automotive industry. Crowning this accomplishment was the accreditation of our “Electromagnetic Compatibility Test Centre”; we are now able to both offer our capabilities to the service of other industries, and to certify the tests. I am confident that these positive developments will create new opportunities for our company in the coming years.
Looking at our financial results, our revenues in 2014 totalled TL1.2 billion; we sold 4,744 products and our export revenues reached USD 108 million. We continued to contribute to the economy, employing 2,054 people, and paying TL69.5 million in taxes and social security premiums.
As you are aware, we had closed 2013 with a record 40 per cent growth, but had anticipated a decrease in our growth rate due to the return to normaliza tion in the bus market. Despite the decline in our revenues compared to the previous year as reported, our annual growth rate in the last decade averaged 16 percent.
We maintained our sustainable growth, which is always a matter of importance and our priority as Otokar.
I am glad to report that we maintained our profitability, thanks in part to our strategic management and efficiency efforts, and posted a net profit of TL73 million in 2014.
Our customer-focused approach was the most important factor in achieving this success. I am proud to inform that we have become the best selling bus brand in Turkey for the fifth consecutive year, thanks to the product development activities guided by the needs of our customers, and to the customersatisfaction improvement efforts in the bus segment where the market shrank by 66 percent.
2014 was another year when we leveraged the advantages of operating in niche markets. While the bus segment shrank, the growth in the trailer segment and our success in the light truck segment that we recently entered, as well as our on-going and newly developing activities in the defence industry had a positive impact on our results. Some of the highlights of this year were our young armoured vehicles that are not even one year old being included in Turkey’s inventory, and adding new countries to our clientele.
Tests within the frame of Altay main battle tank project continued as scheduled, and the production of the last two prototypes was completed. I have utmost faith that through this project we will provide excellent service to our country in the coming years, and contribute to placing Turkey among the countries that design and develop their own main battle tanks.
With general elections coming up and the Euro 6 regulations due to come into effect soon, we are anticipating more dynamic domestic market conditions in the commercial vehicles segment than last year.
Among our export markets, Europe as our main target continues to recover, and we aim at enhancing our strength in those markets. We are expanding to different markets in the defence industry, introducing our capabilities and the Otokar brand to new clients.
With longer processes involved compared to commercial vehicles, our activities in the defence industry continue, as we develop products to meet the needs and demands of our clients. The fact that the products we develop become part of the clients’ inventories in a short time shows that we are on the right path; the success of our vehicles in United Nations missions is one of our greatest advantages. I believe that 2015 will be a year of new opportunities, and we will not only continue to serve the armed and security forces of 30 countries across the world, but also as Turkey’s land defence systems manufacturer we will successfully fulfil our share of the task in any project carried out in our country.
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our shareholders, customers, employees, business partners and suppliers for their continued support, and wish the very best in 2015.