23 June, 2015
A criticism often levelled at Turkish businesses is that they are not sufficiently international in scope. We surveyed international press mentions of the largest listed Turkish companies between 1 March and 31 May 2015 in two of the world’s most significant business publications, The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. This time period was chosen as this is the usual time for the publication of annual reports, when companies come under increased scrutiny. The results were sadly not surprising. Of the ten largest companies, only four had a mention in The Financial Times and three in The Wall Street Journal. Out of the BIST 30, only seven had a mention in The Wall Street Journal and eight in The Financial Times. The only companies to feature multiple times in the publications were Akbank, Turkcell, Koç, Turkish Airlines and TAV.
The amount of editorial mentions companies received in The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal according to sector and the proportion of the BIST 30 represented.
Banking makes up 38.46% of the BIST 30 and yet only Akbank and two other banks received a mention during the period in question. Turkey’s largest publicly listed bank in terms of market capitalization (according to Forbes’ list of the world’s largest public companies) received only one mention in The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal in the period we examined. By comparison, ranking just below this bank on the Forbes list was CK Hutchinson (ranking much lower in terms of total assets), which received three mentions in each publication during this same period. While this small overview is not particularly scientific, it should resonate with stakeholders interested in Turkey, both domestically and internationally. If Turkey’s banks hope to benefit from the plan to turn Istanbul into an international financial center, then they will surely have to work harder to increase their profiles.
With increasingly gloomy predictions for Turkey’s economic outlook, Turkish businesses need to be working harder to convince shareholders that they have potential for growth. One obvious strategy for this would be to engage more directly with international press in order to remind existing stakeholders of their relevance and convince prospective stakeholders of their worthiness.
George Dyson, Michael Wyatt