Esteemed Shareholders, Business Partners and Employees,
2020 was one of the darkest years in history. The COVID-19 pandemic, which swiftly spread all over the world following its outbreak in China, caused the death of 2.48 million people. This pandemic adversely impacted the economies of both developed and developing countries. Many workplaces have been closed and therefore all countries have had to cope with rising unemployment. And meanwhile, due to the restriction on social mobility, ways of doing business have changed for good. In this process, technology-focused production, rather than traditional production models, has become crucial.
One of the most important developments in 2020 was the announcement that BioNTech company founded by two Turkish physicians in Germany had developed a successful vaccine against COVID-19. The other was the victory of Joe Biden in the Presidential Election held in the USA in November. The fact that a non-white woman had been nominated Vice President of the USA was an inspiring development for the entire world. This change in the White House also raised hopes that the USA would be in more harmonious cooperation with Europe and the rest of the world.
In 2020, the Turkish economy has gone through a troubled time. Due to the dramatic fall in tourism income as a result of pandemic, and residents continuing to buy foreign currency and gold, the Turkish Lira fell to a historically low level. The situation started to recover in the last quarter of the year. And following the elimination of practices that are not compliant with the global financial system, Turkey’s 2021 expectations became more positive. With monetary policy accompanied by a tight fiscal stance, Turkey is once again expected to attract foreign investors in 2021. In the event that tourism also steps up, these two components will be able to eliminate concerns over the budget deficit.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us which institutions were resilient. As a well-established group that has gone through many changes, survived numerous crises and weathered many testing times, we have given a solid performance in response to the pandemic. We adapted to change quickly and made decisions timely in 2020 and recorded a turnover of TL 10.8 billion. Our EBITDA reached TL 899 million with an increase of 32.4% compared to 2019.
For 61 years, Doğan Group has continued on its journey, giving back what it has earned by making investments in Turkey. Indeed, believing that “we will be strong as long as Turkey is strong,” we have continued to invest. In 2020, we spent TL 1.5 billion on new investments.
Within the scope of investing in value-added sectors that grow rapidly, we invested in Sesa Ambalaj in July. With the support of Şavul Family, our business partners, we achieved a first in the flexible packaging sector by developing self-soluble packaging. We contributed to the production of more environmentally-friendly packaging in Turkey and the world. With Sesa, we aim to become one of the key players in the packaging sector on an international scale.
We commissioned the Taşpınar WPP, despite the pandemic conditions and increased our installed capacity in the field of renewable energy to 269 MW. Established in 2020, our D Investment Bank is currently awaiting its license, and we aim to initiate banking operations by the second quarter of 2021. With our Investment Bank, we will strive to contribute to the national economy by supporting investors with technology.
We continued our activities while ensuring the health of our employees in all our companies by focusing on reducing the negative social effects of the pandemic. With the participation of all our companies, especially Doğan Holding and Aydın Doğan Foundation, we donated TL 20 million to the National Solidarity campaign, launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In this process, we provided fuel oil and transportation support to healthcare professionals with our group companies, Suzuki and Aytemiz. Reaching 12.5 million people in the Festtogether event held by Netd, we met the needs of 335 thousand, specified on the Needs Map. To support the food & beverage sector, which has been most affected by the pandemic, we published the “Restaurants At Home” book, prepared by Doğan Burda Dergi.
Apart from the contributions of our group, our corporate culture that rests on the ancient values of Anatolia has shown itself in the individual efforts of our employees. Standing by those in need, all members of the Doğan Group supported social solidarity. In the most challenging year for generations, we embraced the values that guide our companies: appreciation, acting responsibly, embracing with passion, innovation, and achieving together.
As a group that adopts a value-oriented management approach with the aim of providing sustainable benefit to our planet, our country and our community, we have prepared the Doğan Impact Plan in response to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. We invest in an inclusive future with the Doğan Impact Plan, which will guide us in improving and monitoring our environmental, social and governance performance for a sustainable world.
With the Doğan Impact Plan, we aim to generate our energy exclusively from sustainable resources, adopt an innovative business model and invest in innovative technologies. Our goal is to restore all the water we use to nature, and to engage in waste-free production by 2030. In line with this plan, we focus on gender equality in recruitment and promotion in all of our Group companies. We strive to empower women in our value chain, support gender equality, and combat all kinds of discrimination and violence.
Driven by our values, we will continue working in 2021 to contribute to the building of a prosperous and peaceful society in a better and safer future.
Y. Begümhan DOĞAN FARALYALI