Yahya Kığılı, Chairman of Hayat Kimya

Apr 25, 2017

In 2006, Hayat Kimya started their first tissue machine. Ten years later, the fast-growing company will operate six tissue machines, in four countries, with an annual capacity of 420,000 tonnes of tissue paper and a capacity to convert 290,000 tonnes of consumer products. This makes them number one in terms of production capacity – and also market share – in Turkey. A remarkable performance built on the cornerstones of entrepreneurship, endurance and courage.



Hayat Holding established as a textile business in Turkey 1937. Thirty years
later, Yahya Kiğılı joined the business and introduced panelboard products to
the market, a business that still counts for 50% of the Hayat group’s income. In 1987, detergents and diapers were added to the company’s portfolio, and ten
years ago they entered the tissue business.
Today Hayat Holding is a global enterprise with nearly 14,000 people, supplying products to around 100 countries on five continents. The company reached a turnover of USD 2.5 billion in 2015. Yahya Kığılı has been leading the company into new markets and challenges for nearly 50 years, and still does.

Hayat Kimya Head office in Istanbul

“In the beginning, we aimed to manufacture consumer goods under our own brands, mainly to the Turkish market. We decided to invest in the tissue business in 2004 and started up the production in Izmit, Yeniköy in
January 2006. In only three months, we had the full range of tissue products on the shelves in Turkey.”
The products were well received and the company reached second position in the market during their first year in the business. Two years later the production hit the upper limit and they took the decision to invest in a
high speed machine from Valmet to be installed in the Izmit plant. Hayat also holds the speed record in tissue production since 2012.

Five Valmet tissue machines
Soon Hayat will be operating five Valmet tissue machines and it has, of course, been very important to know that the technology as well as the supplier would meet the company needs.

“Technical issues is one side of the coin. The other is runnability, company experience and number of projects. But it is also important to set up common targets, to believe in them, trust each other and work as a team in an honest and open atmosphere. We found that in Valmet.”

“Continuous work and repeat projects also build technical reciprocal learnings, increased competence and cost benefit advantages.” 

“The land, climate and other conditions may differ, but there have been cases where we reapplied similar projects. As a result of accumulated learnings on installations, we managed to achieve very efficient start-ups. And there is
also a cost benefit, of course.”

“We feel very comfortable with Valmet by our side and are convinced that we can be successful together. We also feel that Valmet have trust in our technical people and our company. That is a good base for future cooperation”

The journey continues
Hayat continues its investments, in line with its globalization vision. Hayat’s greenfield plants are all designed spacious enough to realize this growth.
But at the moment they are turning their eyes to new markets.

“We are already in Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Algeria with various tissue, detergent and diaper investments. Just 1.5 years ago, we invested in Russia and Nigeria. In Russia, we succeeded in becoming the second player on
the market already. And we are observing the potential in Nigeria, another immature market. Besides strengthening on existing markets and expanding in North and Central Africa and Middle East, we also consider expansion into
the mature western markets. We will ignite our strengths, explore the opportunities, and when it is the right time, we will grasp it,” Yahya Kığılı concludes.