Turkish MDF producer set for further growth29 March 2023
Growth and investment plans by Turkish wood-based panels producer Çamsan Ordu have been extremely active in recent years, reports WBPI correspondent Jaroslaw Adamowski
Turkish wood-based panel manufacturer Çamsan Ordu A.S is investing more in MDF facilities, this time some €15m (£13.2m) in early 2023 to upgrade its capacities and increase the share of high value-added products in the company’s revenues.
The company of course has a long background in MDF production, having been the first Turkish producer of MDF back in 1984 and the fourth in Europe. It has established several coating facilities and in 1997 it opened Turkey’s first laminate flooring plant.
Despite the Turkish economy having some challenges, investment in the wood-based panels industry in the country has been active.
Following several years of heavy investment by Çamsan Ordu, there is yet more activity continuing, the company recently confirmed to local Turkish magazine Laminart Dergisi.
A new paper impregnation and coating facility is planned to be commissioned at the end of the first quarter of 2023.
The company is also planning a panel and parquet production line investment, while later this year the company will conclude agreements for investments planned for 2023-2024.
A Dieffenbacher short-cycle press is another facet of its current investments. A 2,550 x 5,800mm press with 200 cycles per hour features.
“We plan to complete an investment of approximately €15m in the first quarter of 2023 and to put our new lines into operation,” Oguzhan Öztürk, the assistant technical general manager of Çamsan Ordu, told Laminart Dergisi.
In the interview he admitted that Russia’s war against Ukraine and the gloomy outlook for the European economies in the coming year are impacting on the industry’s performance. However, he also said that Çamsan Ordu has positive expectations for 2023, and is reporting strong sales in some of the company’s product categories.
He said more focus would be put on export sales, with attention on gaining certificates for the European and American markets.
Meanwhile, other investments by the Turkish company are related to increasing Çamsan Ordu’s reliance on renewable energy sources in line with the producer’s declared embrace of the principle of environmental awareness and energy efficiency. Owing to its projects in this field, the business produces about 10% of the electricity it consumes, using the photovoltaic (PV) panels it has installed on a total roof surface of 35,000m2. The PV installation is enabled with an aggregate capacity of 6.8MWh.
The producer is based in Ordu, a city with a population of about 200,000 inhabitants that is located on the Turkish Black Sea shore, in the country’s north-eastern region. The company says it was the first MDF producer from Turkey (or, as the country officially renamed itself in the English language last year, Türkiye) to carry out activities in the Middle East region and the Balkan countries.
Çamsan Ordu launched production activities at its first MDF facility in 1984 with a multi-opening line. A second line, this time with continuous press technology, opened the second facility of this type, MDF 2, in 1995.
Currently, the company’s facilities are operated by a total workforce of more than 640 employees.
Of these, some 500 are factory workers, and a further 140 employees work at Çamsan Ordu’s offices. Production activities in Ordu are carried out on three shifts, allowing the manufacturer to produce its output 24 hours a day.
The latest investments follow the completion of last year’s €70m investment to boost the manufacturer’s output capacity in the Turkish market.
In 2021, Çamsan Ordu finalised an expansion project in Ordu to boost the company’s output capacity to about 600,000m3 of MDF per year.
This took the form of a third MDF production facility provided by German wood-based panels plant specialist Dieffenbacher.
The investment the business completed in 2022, dubbed the MDF 3 project, was designed to bolster Çamsan Ordu’s position in its domestic market, but also abroad. The company says it is the largest producer of MDF in its domestic market, but also in the Middle East and the Balkan region, as well as the fourth largest MDF producer in Europe.
The Dieffenbacher MDF 3 line has a capacity of 325,050m3 per year, enabling the Turkish company to make boards fitted with a thickness of between 2.5 – 30mm, and a width ranging between 2100 – 2500mm.
The new production line allowed Çamsan Ordu to add new products to its portfolio, including more variants and value-added products.
Unlike Çamsan Ordu’s older facilities, the Dieffenbacher line makes 8ft-wide boards that are highly sought by lacquering companies.
The continuous panel system (CPS+) has enabled the Ordu-based business to significantly modernise its production activities, but also establish itself as the first player from the country’s wood-based panel industry to run a factory fitted with a CPS+ to make MDF.
Çamsan Ordu says it hopes the technology’s reliability will allow it to attract even larger number of customers from the Turkish market.
The investment brought the area covered by Çamsan Ordu’s three factories in Ordu to a total of 250,000m2, according to data from the Turkish group.
TURKISH ECONOMY STRUGGLES AGAINST ACCELERATING INFLATION
Meanwhile, the company’s aim to advance further investments in its capacities comes as Turkey’s economy continues to struggle against surging inflation and an uncertain economic outlook for the coming year.
Data collected by the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) indicates that, in December 2022, the country’s consumer prices rose by close to 64% year-on-year. Turkey’s unemployment rate stood at 10.2% that month, maintaining its level from November 2022.
The country’s government expects economic growth to remain at a relatively high level, compared with many European Union member states, at 5% in 2023, and 5.5% the following year. This forecast, however, is not shared by a panel of 28 economists polled by Reuters in January 2023.
The expert panel predicts that the Turkish gross domestic product (GDP) will increase by 3% both in 2023 and 2024.
At the end of 2023, a different panel of 12 economists predicted Turkey’s inflation rate could decrease to 42.5% which would represent a decline compared with the rate reported for 2023, but constitute a high, two-digit level nevertheless. The following year, those economists forecast that inflation could drop to 26.4%.
The Turkish government has released a significantly more optimistic estimate, according to which inflation is expected to fall to 24.9% this year, and drop to 13.8% in 2024.
“GDP growth will moderate from 5.3% in 2022 to around 3% over the projection period. Inflation will decline but remain above 40%,” the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in a report released in late 2022.
“This will dent household purchasing power while heightened uncertainty will hold back investment. Export growth will slow as external demand weakens. The unemployment rate is projected to stay above 10% in 2023. Large external financing needs and low reserve buffers leave the economy highly vulnerable to shocks.”
At the same time, the nation’s economic growth is expected to slow to around 3% per year on average in the years 2023 to 2024, according to the OECD.
“Weak external demand and persistent geopolitical uncertainties will weigh on investment and limit export growth,” the OECD report continued.
“At the same time, household consumption will slow considerably as persistently high inflation will dent household purchasing power.
“Inflation is projected to decline, in part due to base effects, but remain above 40% over the projection period, reflecting a gradual pass-through of the recent lira depreciation and wage increases to consumer prices.”