COVID19: EBRD helps Turkish Cypriot firm cope with sanitiser demand

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the EU’s indirect investment arm in developing markets, is helping a Turkish Cypriot detergents maker in the north cope with increasing demand, including spiralling demand for sanitisers because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When the demand for sanitising products suddenly increased, Dağlı Trading had to triple production of sanitisers and cleaning chemicals to fulfil it, while still maintaining their other line of work of supplying food products to supermarkets, the EBRD said in a report Wednesday.

A family-owned business in Famagusta operating in the cleaning product manufacture and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors, Dağlı Trading has been an EBRD client since 2017, when they received business advice enabling them to implement a warehouse management system.

With the help of a local IT consultant, this new system provided a speedy, accurate and efficient method of delivering goods to customers.

They now have better visibility of their inventory, which reduced warehouse-related errors with orders by 85%, the EBRD report said.

The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of manufacturing products locally rather than depending on imports for survival, explained Defne Dağlı, Marketing Director of the company.

The EBRD, which has helped  92 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises across the Cyprus divide, said it also extended its support when the company took part in an international advisory programme, funded by the European Union, to reshape the organisation, develop sales and distribution strategies, review the brand portfolio and implement a sales forecasting process.

Although they were not the only producers of sanitisers, Defne Dağlı said they had the advantage of having established their brand over many years.

They responded quickly, supplying companies and pharmacies with hand sanitisers, and becoming trusted suppliers of these essential products at this critical time.

The company now commands a 30% market share of household cleaners and personal care products on the Turkish Cypriot side.

Following the Covid-19 outbreak and as a precautionary measure since March this year, only supermarkets and pharmacies have been able to operate in the Turkish-occupied north.

The Republic of Cyprus asked the EBRD for help in 2014, a year after the banking crash and economic meltdown, with the bank helping in the bail-in of Bank of Cyprus in 2015, by pumping in €107.5 mln and taking a 5% stake in the Cypriot lender.

It also invested in the capital raising of the island’s second-biggest lender, Hellenic Bank, as well as other infrastructure projects in the energy and water resources sectors.

Of the small business it has supported, about a quarter were implemented with enterprises in the food and beverages sector, the EBRD said.

The bank has terminated its programme for new investments in Cyprus as of 2020.