Ahmet Şişman – Hassan Tekstil Interview

Our textile sector is one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic on a global scale. Although Turkey’s exports of textiles and raw materials have contracted as a result of global demand contraction, this is also true in our rival countries.

Can we get to know Hassan Tekstil, one of the long-established companies of our country, which started its adventure with quilting production by handling cotton by hand?

“Hassan Group begins its journey in Turkish industry in 1939 by making quilting. The fate of the company, which manufactures quilts by hand, is being renewed by World War II, and when imports of Italian shoulder pads are disrupted due to war, the path of shoulder pad traders intersects with the Şişman brothers. Hasan Şişman, the first generation representative of the group, which started to produce shoulder pads completely with manual labor under the conditions of the period, took the first step in the name of industrialization by purchasing the first carding machine in 1945. By 1965, the number of cards reaches 4 and the production capacity reaches 500 kg per day. In 1985, the company is building its new factory in Hadımköy under the name Hassan Tekstil and expanding its product range by inging into the shoe and artificial leather sectors alongside the synthetic shoulder pad. With this experience and knowledge, it is among the important manufacturers of the market in Automotive, Cleaning, Building & Construction and Industrial areas. “

Before pandemic, Hassan Tekstil was also an important manufacturer and exporter of textiles, especially for the health, hygiene and medical sectors. Could you evaluate before the Covid-19 process and the post-pandemic situation with your production and exports?

As Hassan Tekstil, which produces nonwoven products for the Automotive, Cleaning, Building & Construction and industrial sectors before pandemic, we started to produce nonwoven fabrics used in hygienic products such as masks, aprons, overalls etc. and wet wipes in order to meet the growing demand with the Covid-19 outbreak. As Hassan Tekstil, we can say that we maintain our product portfolio, where we expand our production and exports during the pandemic process.

Can we get some detailed information about your product range and specifications?

Floor carpets, hat carpets and nonwovens used in the passenger compartment. Hassan Textile offers a wide range of home cleaning cloths, industrial cleaning cloths and ground cloth products. Hassan Tekstil also produces geotextile products using polyester and/or polypropylene fibers with HasGeo brand.

With the outbreak of pandemic, nonwoven fabrics used in protective equipment such as masks, aprons, overalls and hygienic products such as wet wipes have started to be produced in order to ensure increased demand. Alternative products to spunbond & melt blown technology have been developed with needlepunch technology. Nonwoven fabrics used in protective aprons and overalls are produced by laminating normal or breathable polyethylene film into the nonwoven layer. Developed fabrics have features such as liquid repulsion, flexibility, ease of planting, conformity to medical colors (blue/green) and ultrasonic source.

How is the situation in the world, especially in countries where we compete in textile exports? Do you think the Turkish textile sector has furthered its position by showing a strong reflex in the pandemic process?

Our textile sector is one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic on a global scale. Although Turkey’s exports of textiles and raw materials have contracted as a result of global demand contraction, this is also true in our rival countries. Another important issue as important as our exports is that we do not lose our share on a global scale. We are the 6th largest supplier of textiles and raw materials in Turkey and the 2nd largest supplier in the EU. We get a 3% share of global exports. Our top priority in 2020 is to maintain this share.

In its latest report, the World Trade Organization said that global trade could shrink by between 13 per cent and 32 per cent this year compared to the previous year. In this context, we expect a contraction in the foreign trade of all our global competitors. Considering the foreign trade data of China’s textile and raw materials sector, which alone realizes one third of the world textile and raw materials exports; Although there is a decline in product groups such as fabric, home textile and yarn to the European Union, our biggest export market, it is noteworthy that China has made a great breakthrough in the export of personal protective equipment products in the last few months. While imports of all other textile products have declined, EU imports of personal protective equipment from China exceeded €10 billion in January to May. In particular, Turkey’s export requirement for grants on personal protective equipment products negatively affects the competitiveness of our sector. Our textile and apparel sectors launched a production mobilization under the leadership of our Turkish Exporters’ Assembly in order to meet Turkey’s need for masks and protective overalls with great sacrifices during the pandemic period. We have the production of masks and overalls far beyond the need, and the warehouses of the State Supply Office are full. We also have the capacity and adaptability to go to new capacity increases if needed. In this context, the abolition of the grant requirement in exports as quickly as possible will allow our sectors to export at more competitive prices.

Our sector started 2020 with a strong export attack. Our sector, which closed January and February with an increase in exports, continued to increase its exports until late March compared to the previous year, but our exports began to decline as a result of the global pandemic. In April and May, we experienced losses of over 50% in our exports. However, our sector recovered rapidly in June, and our upward trend in our exports continues in September. Within this framework, our most important goal in 2020 is to compensate for our losses in April and May with our strong exports. Our driving force, which is the biggest factor in the recovery in our textile and raw materials sector, was our technical textile sector during this period. During the pandemic process, our technical textile sector showed a huge breakthrough both at the point of meeting Turkey’s need for medical textile products and in exports. In January – August 2020 period, our technical textile sector reached the highest level in the history of the republic, exceeding our annual exports with exports worth approximately $1.8 billion. By the end of 2020, we predict that our technical textile exports will easily increase to over $2 billion.

What kind of world awaits us globally in relation to the coming period? What kind of path do you want to follow in your production and export strategies?

It is predicted that the effects of the global epidemic will not be erased in the next few years. We predict that global trade will move away from a single market-oriented understanding, as China’s halt to its entire economy by the beginning of 2020 has caused huge losses to global brands. Within this framework, we predict that the importance of market diversity will increase further and as an alternative to China, Turkey will be one of the priority countries with strong production capacity, young and qualified employment resources.

The importance of digitalization and technical textiles within our production and export strategy as textile and raw materials sector was something that we have been working on and producing projects on for the past few years. We predicted that smart fabrics (non-permeable and non-polluting, used in construction and agriculture), which give functionality to textile products, would increase the importance of technical textiles, but the global pandemic had an impact on the importance of these products. Therefore, we think that the importance of value-added technical textiles will increase further in the coming period, and that digitalization should be on the main agendas of all sectors without distinguishing any sector.