Turkish construction company ONUR Group stands out as a success story about what can happen when an international firm enters the Ukrainian market
In 2004, when ONUR Group first entered the Ukrainian market to build a difficult section of the Kiev-Odessa highway, it was a trial in internationalization for the company that had built up the majority of its experience in the 1980s and 1990s during Turkey’s infrastructure boom.
“When we arrived, this was a completely new market for us, with a new system, culture and different people. In the beginning, we just had to concentrate on the job in hand to show our quality and establish ourselves,” said Emre Karaahmetoglu, ONUR Group’s head of delegation and general coordinator in Ukraine, who added that the highway was completed successfully, professionally and on time.
From there, the company started winning more tenders in Ukraine and working on projects financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank. Over the years, ONUR has grown strong community roots, and of its 3,500 employees in the country today, 95 percent are Ukrainian. The group has also gone on to become Ukraine’s largest private owner of construction equipment, and one of the country’s most trusted names in the sector.
Seeing massive opportunities in other sectors of the Ukrainian market, ONUR Group recently expanded into agriculture, now holding 5,000 hectares of fertile land with plans to double that soon. It also owns the country’s second-largest concrete production company, prime land for property development and a coffee shop in its Ukrainian base, Lviv.
Recent government reforms to boost transparency in the infrastructure sector, including the digital ProZorro procurement system, combined with the government’s commitment to major infrastructure revitalization and FTA negotiations between Turkey and Ukraine, are fueling optimism for ONUR in the Ukrainian market. Building on this positive experience, the group has plans to enter other countries in the region, starting with Poland.