Founded in 1966, SASA, Turkey’s leading polyester producer, has a long track record in responding to unexpected situations. During the COVID-19 crisis, it quickly adapted its production lines to meet increasing demand in the hygiene and healthcare sectors, implementing employee protection measures and digitising its operations.
The company, which produces a wide range of raw materials for the polyester industry, used its flexible production line to replace shrinking demand for textile raw materials with growing orders for personal protective equipment.
"We did not have any decrease in our sales during COVID-19 and our year-on-year sales have been even higher compared to 2019,” Şakir Yener, the firm’s CFO says.
With textile-related demand restored to normal levels in June and new plants coming online recently, SASA, which aims to become a polyester production base for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, expects a turnover of US$900 million this year.
SASA also capitalised on its past investments in digital transformation, which allowed some employees to work remotely from home during the pandemic.
"Our first action was to take necessary measures to protect the health and well-being of our employees,” says Şakir Yener. " This always comes first, before making profit and any other values."
Helping to minimise the pandemic impact, HSBC has been on hand for SASA’s large raw material imports, as well as new investments.
HSBC supported SASA with a 10-year, 232 million-Euro Hermes-backed loan back in 2019. The drawdowns continued during the COVID-19 crisis, despite the challenging environment globally.
With the financing provided by HSBC, SASA will double its production capacity and turnover as the company finalised its investment in September. HSBC’s support has also helped SASA further enhance its market share and leading position in Turkey, creating value for Turkish economy. The facility will also support’s SASA ambitions to become as one of the key global polyester producers.
During this period, the company witnessed the importance of flexibility in production processes. “We will keep up this flexibility going forward at our new facilities, established with new investments, that helped us to enhance our capacity to meet the demand from different sectors,” says Yener.
HSBC also supported SASA by providing trade finance to cover its increased raw material imports for the two sectors due to increased demand during COVID-19.
“HSBC has been a true partner for us during this period supporting our business and new investments. Despite global economic turmoil, HSBC supported our business especially for our raw material imports in high volumes due to increased capacity at home and abroad,” says Yener.
“We leveraged HSBC’s international network and expertise to offer the best banking services to SASA and our other clients during COVID-19. We will continue to support all those who wish to grow with Turkey, both domestically and internationally,” says Selim Kervancı, HSBC Turkey CEO.
The company has also increased the use of its online banking platform. "Digital banking usage increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling us to ease signature and approval processes and helping us minimise physical banking transactions during remote working,” says Yener.
Yener believes that for SASA, the importance of business flexibility was the key lesson learned from the pandemic.
"We believe that the future will bring new opportunities for the companies that have flexibility in production, sales and supply chain processes,” he concludes.
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