An international food and beverages group founded on one variety of biscuit...
Establishment of the company: One type of biscuit.
The history of Yıldız Holding began in 1944 with the manufacture of the first Ülker brand Pötibör biscuits.
These first biscuits produced in Eminönü’s Nohutçu Han factory by Sabri Ülker, his brother Asım and three other work colleagues, were the first products ever produced in the history of the organization. The biscuit that was first manufactured, Pötibör, is still the biscuit which is best-loved by consumers.
Manufacturing moved from the small facility to a modern biscuit factory. A biscuit factory was established in Topkapı’s Takkeci District, in the village of Sağmacılar. With the move to this factory, production capacity increased.
The factory moved to Topkapı. Taking advantage of the new foreign currency policy, a factory with modern production equipment was established in Topkapı Davutpaşa. Biscuit production increased and new varieties were added to its range of products; it became necessary to organize a more efficient distribution system. Orders for products placed by retailers in Anatolia were shipped to them at factory prices, without any charge for transport.
First investment outside the city of Istanbul. For the first time the company established a production facility outside of the city of Istanbul, at the Anadolu Gıda Company factory located in Ankara. Anadolu Gıda was established as a public company, to be the first of its kind.
A modern chocolate factory. Next to the Topkapı Davutpaşa biscuit factory, the company constructed the Ülker Chocolate factory. The range of products offered to consumers expanded to include varieties of chocolate products, in addition to different types of biscuits.
The first R&D Department. With an eye to becoming more competitive on an international level, a Research and Development Department was formed.
First exports. By exporting an order for US$200,000 worth of biscuits to Middle Eastern markets, the company took the first step into the global business world.
Introduction to basketball. Investment in basketball was made within the organization. A basketball court was built on the grounds of the Topkapı factory.
Investment in flour. To guarantee the quality of the basic ingredient necessary in the production of biscuits and cakes, in 1978, the company invested in flour production facilities.
Investment in packaging. A significant turn of events occurred with the group’s investment in cellophane packaging technology. Ülker branded products entered the market with their cellophane packaging technique. This investment was followed in 1983 by other investments in the modern packaging material known as BOPP and corrugated cardboard. These investments formed the nucleus of Yıldız Holding’s future large, modern packaging group.
Topkapı Makina is established. With the establishment of the company called Topkapı Makina, the group invested in a factory to produce the machinery necessary for the manufacture of biscuits and chocolate. Companies that were combined to form Topkapı Makina took on the job of manufacturing the machinery necessary for the factory’s production lines, utilizing the latest mechanical technology.
Entry into the paper sector. With the participation of Bomsaş, a well-respected manufacturer of top quality corrugated cardboard; the organization took its first step into the paper manufacturing sector in 1985.
Investment in the information technologies sector. When the computer age was still in its infancy, the group took a visionary approach and established the Datateknik Company, thus securing a step into the information technologies sector and moving the group into the world of information and technology.
Yıldız Holding established. On November 13, 1989 with the establishment of "Yıldız Holding", all of the companies which had been subsidiaries of the group were united.
Investment in the edible oil sector. The most important link in the vertical integration growth process of the company, Besler Gıda, was established and the company entered the margarine, vegetable oil and industrial oil sector.
Partnership with a world giant. As the result of an agreement with the Cerestar Group, Europe’s largest manufacturer of corn starch, Pendik Nişasta was established. The investment which cemented a strong foreign partnership was another significant step in the group’s continuing vertical integration process. Ülkerspor was founded. With the acquisition of Naşaş in 1993, the Ülkerspor Football Club elite team was formed and began its fight in the leagues.
Cake production begins. The company produced the first bar cakes and filled cakes manufactured in Turkey.
Investment in the dairy products industry. By establishing the Ak Gıda factory, the company entered the dairy sector and began production of “Ülker Içim” brand of milk products.
Distribution system restructuring. Up until 1996, the distribution system had relied heavily on wholesale channels. After this period, a new distribution and sales structure was developed.
Foreign Investment begins. Important steps were taken in both domestic and foreign development. A domestic biscuit factory was acquired in Karaman, while, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a chocolate factory was purchased. This purchase marked the beginning of foreign investment for Yıldız Holding.
Partnership with Tire Kutsan. A partnership was formed by Yıldız Holding with Turkey’s most important manufacturer of paper and boxes, Tire Kutsan.
Projects for training parents and conversations with teachers started. The “Parents School” project was begun to provide training in parenting skills as well as childhood education and development within the family. The “Conversations with Teachers” project was aimed at promoting communication between expert academicians and teachers.
Restructuring management. In 2000, a restructuring of the company’s management was undertaken. The founder, Sabri Ülker stepped down from active duty in the group and became its “Honorary President”. The organization was structured around 6 presidential and an executive-board was formed. Under the management of the Holding’s Chairman of the Executive Board, Murat Ülker, a new era for the group began.
New products in the foods sector. The decision by Yıldız Holding to increase the volume of new products and introduce new categories on to the market began to yield results. Chewing gum, ready made soups and cooking aid products were introduced to the market. The brand of “Bizim Mutfak” (Our Kitchen) gained popularity.
Investment in chewing gum. An important number of shares in the largest chewing gum manufacturer of the time, Baycan, were purchased.
Acquisition of Çamlıca. The group began participation in the beverages sector in 2001 with the acquisition of Link. In 2002, the purchase of Çamlıca, Turkey’s traditional soft drink brand, fortified the group’s position in the market. Also in 2002, Della Gıda began to produce beverages.
Bomsaş and Tire Kutsan merged. To form a larger more powerful company, Tire Kutsan and Bomsaş merged under the company name of Tire Kutsan.
Launch of Cola Turka. Della Gıda, manufacturer of Cola Turka, won over consumers with a combination of a high quality product and its great marketing strategy. The launch of the product drew a lot of attention on both local and international levels.
Partnership with Hero and the production of baby food. In partnership with the Swiss company Hero A.G., the first domestic baby food began to be produced at the company’s Ankara manufacturing facilities.
Entry into the ice cream sector. Natura Gıda was established and ice cream began to be manufactured under the Golf brand.
Ülker Bisküvi merged under its own title with Anadolu Gıda, whose shares have been quoted on Istanbul Stock Exchange since 1996.
Investment in the instant coffee sector. In 2003, Yıldız Holding had expanded its range of products to include a specially flavored Turkish coffee. Nearly a year later, it entered the instant coffee sector with its own brand of instant coffee, Café Crown. The new range of Café Crown products, especially the 3-in-1 variety, was met with serious interest by consumers.
Partnership with Kellogg's. A formal partnership agreement was signed between Yıldız Holding and Kellogg’s, the world’s largest manufacturer, marketer and exporter of breakfast cereal. As part of the agreement, for the first time, another brand name was allowed to appear on the label alongside the Kellogg’s name.
A first in Turkey. In Turkey, the Kalbim Benecol brand name of functional foods was marketed after the company had observed trends in the field of functional foods. The brand’s range of products includes yogurt, yogurt drinks, milk and margarine, all aimed at reducing cholesterol.
Godiva and globalization. The acquisition of Godiva, the world’s foremost producer of super premium chocolate products, from the U.S.-based Campbell’s Soup Company was the single most important step in the course of action that solidified Yıldız Holding’s globalization process. Godiva is the strongest link in that process.
The Grassroots project, organized in cooperation with the Turkish Football Federation, was begun.
Investments in the bread, tea and frozen foods sectors. Ülker Biscuits, one of the companies of Yıldız Holding, announced its partnership agreement with Unmaş and Doruk Unlu, producers of UNO, the first packaged bread manufactured in Turkey. During the same year, the tea producers Doğa Çay and Oba Çay became subsidiaries of Yıldız Holding. With the addition of Kerevitaş to the group, the first frozen foods company in Turkey, Yıldız Holding entered that sector.
The Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation was established to monitor scientific studies, legislation and applications in the industry, and to provide the community with reliable information about healthy nutrition and the safety of various foods.
The first annual Ülker Children’s Cinema Festival named with Yıldız Holding’s oldest and best-known brand name Ülker was organized. The event was timed to take place in conjunction with the yearly April 23 International Sovereignty and Children’s Festival. In many provinces in Turkey, a free day at the cinema was arranged for children. The festival has become a traditional annual event.
The partnership between Yıldız Holding and Gumlink. The Continental Confectionery Company was established with a 50-50% partnership agreement forged between Gumlink and Yıldız Holding. The company opened the way for Turkey to become Europe’s center for the manufacture of chewing gum and candy products.
Ülker brand’s 65th Anniversary. Yıldız Holding’s first and foremost brand name, Ülker, celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2009. The main concept for the year of celebrations was conceived around happy moments related to memories of Ülker products, in short, “A Happy Moment Makes Life Beautiful”.
Partnership with Laurens Spethman Holding. In 2010, a partnership agreement was signed by the German company Laurens Spethman Holding and Yıldız Holding, to form the Milford-Yıldız company. Laurens Spethman Holding has 100 years of experience in the tea sector.
Partnership with the Eckes-Granini Group. Yıldız Holding formed a partnership agreement with Europe’s foremost producer of fruit juices, the Eckes-Granini Group. The partnership resulted in the establishment of a new fruit juice company, Yıldız Granini.
Partnership with McCormick. Yıldız Holding and the world’s leading spice producer, McCormick, reached a 50-50 partnership agreement to establish a new company in Turkey.
Nuroll SpA purchased. One of the largest companies company in the packaging industry, Italian-based Nuroll SpA, has been acquired.
A share purchase agreements has been signed by Gözde Finansal to acquire the shares of the Şok Discount Stores.
The Swedish paper and hygiene giant SCA has signed a partnership agreement with Komili Kağıt A.Ş.
Shares of Bizim Toptan, the cash and carry company, have begun to be traded publicly on the Istanbul Stock Exchange.