We invest in Ukraine: Onur Group

We invest in Ukraine: Onur Group

How Turkish Onur Group supports Ukraine during the war: $500 million investments. Interview with Emre Karaahmetoglu, general coordinator of Onur Group Ukraine

Investors summary

Company name: Onur Group

Website: https://www.onurgroup.com

Fields of activity: Construction, Tourism, Aviation, Mining, Asphalt, concrete and aggregate production, Equipment rent, Prefabricated building

Founded: 1981


Headquarters: Turkey (Ankara)

Global representation: China, India, South Korea, Croatia, Ukraine, Tunisia, Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Equator Guinea and Turkmenistan

Onur Group in Ukraine:

- Entering the market of Ukraine: 2004
- Investments in Ukraine (2023): $500 million.
- Director in Ukraine: Emre Karaahmetoglu

The foundation of ONUR Group was established in 1981 with Cetin Isletmeleri in the construction sector in Turkiye. 10 years later, ONUR Taahhut Insaat was incorporated, and ONUR became the locomotive company of the group since then. In early 2000, ONUR Taahhut Insaat took part in the best construction companies in Turkiye, which conducted toward and led the group to make the decision to extend its business out of Turkiye. With this decision, the company became one of the first Turkish construction companies to do business abroad.

During the late 2000s, the company succeeded in becoming one of the biggest Turkish road construction companies, with the most experienced technical staff and the largest heavy equipment fleet in the country. The reputation of the company, which was deservingly earned due to the high quality of its constructions and high production capacities, has been so well developed with its successes and completed projects that the company succeeded in winning contracts and undertaking projects in 5 different countries till the end of the decade.

With the mentioned growth of the companies in the construction sector, the group decided to widen its business lines with the same mentality, leading to its success in the construction sector. And today, the group has successfully grown to more than 40 companies in 9 different sectors, some of which are the sector leaders in the world and/or in the countries. ONUR Group companies always do their business efficiently, improve their staffs technical capability, and renew/improve their technology.

The management personnel of Onur Group, despite the war, is developing all its areas of activity in Ukraine. How the company grows and what it invests in.

The international company, Onur Group, has long been known all over the world. The company has signed many different contracts in 10 different countries. Its professionals have built tunnels in Turkey, a runway at the airport in Tunisia, roads in Moldova, tram tracks in Lviv, sections of the Kyiv-Dnipro-Reshetylivka and Kharkiv-Dovzhanskyi highways. In total, Onur Group has built more than 8,000 kilometers of roads and ranks the 82nd in the ranking of the worlds 250 largest contractors according to the ENR 2022 international publication.

The company deals not only with infrastructure projects, but also invests in other economic sectors. Such as agribusiness, green energy, mining, building materials production, woodworking, logistics, tourism and hospitality. Emre Karaahmetoglu, the general coordinator of Onur Group Ukraine, has told how Onur Group works in Ukraine and how the companys strategy changed after the start of the war.

We invest in Ukraine: Onur Group

Emre Karaahmetoglu, General Coordinator of Onur Group Ukraine ONUR GROUP

Onur Group Ukraine is one of the three largest road construction contractors in Ukraine. Due to the war, 90% of the works have been stopped and probably the situation will not change until the end of hostilities. What projects do they intend to focus on this year?

- The war made adjustments to our plans for road construction. And we had a lot of them, as well as signed contracts. Unfortunately, most of the works have been suspended due to the war, but we still managed to complete some projects.

For example, the reconstruction of the Kyiv - Kharkiv - Dovzhanskyi and Stryi - Ternopil - Kropyvnytskyi - Znamianka highways sections , which were carried out at the expense of the World Bank. We are also engaged in the construction of several bridges in the Lviv and Kyiv Regions. The Irpin Bridge is among them.

- This is a tragically famous bridge…

- Yes, you are right. Last year, we worked on the documentation and started building a new bridge, which we plan to complete by the end of August.

Furthermore, our company signed a contract last year with Ukravtodor for the construction of three bridges in the Kyiv Region, that were destroyed after the war began. This is a very important project and it is financed by UK EXPORT FINANCE, the British export credit agency. We will start working in April, and we plan to finish the project by the end of November.

We take an active part in the restoration of the de-occupied territories infrastructure. Last year, our crews and equipment were among the first to work in the liberated territories of Kharkiv and Kherson Regions, repairing roads and bridges. As a result, ambulances and military equipment were able to move faster.

- As soon as the Armed Forces of Ukraine counterattack and liberate part of the territories of Ukraine, Onur Group will immediately undertake the road infrastructure restoration?

- Yes, of course. We worked in the Kharkiv and Kherson Regions according to this scheme. We also build structures to protect electrical substations from missile or drone attacks.

We invest in Ukraine: Onur Group

The Agrobudservice company, which works in the field of mining and production of dry construction mixtures and is part of the ONUR GROUP group of companies ONUR GROUP

Promising directions for work in Ukraine

- You used to say that you did not fire workers after the war started. Did the company have to refocus on other projects?

- Onur Group has more than 3,000 in-house experts. And we havent had any layoffs, we also have new vacancies. Nowadays we are engaged in design works, repair and maintenance of equipment, we must be ready to start with new projects at any moment.

For example, we have already signed contracts for works in Kyiv City, Lviv City, Lviv and Poltava Regions.

We invest in Ukraine: Onur Group

Poltava Region. M03 highway. The project was financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the World Bank ONUR GROUP

Onur Group is a group of companies operating in 9 different economic sectors.

The Onur Construction International company and the Onur Taahhut Tashimajilik Inshaat, a representative office of the Turkish head office, are engaged in the field of construction and engineering in Ukraine.

- Onur Group does not only build roads. The company operates in nine different industries: development, mining, woodworking, building materials production, agribusiness and even renewable energy sources. Which of these directions do you consider the most promising for development in Ukraine?

- We consider all our work streams in Ukraine to be promising. Moreover, we continue to develop them, despite the continuation of hostilities.

Currently, Onur Group is more than 40 companies operating in 9 economic sectors. I believe that it is very important to invest in Ukraine right now and thereby strengthen the economy and create new jobs. As for important areas now, we are, for example, increasing the capacity of the concrete unit, which will make it possible to carry out more work necessary for the reconstruction of Ukraines infrastructure after the end of the war. We invest in renewable energy sources. We already have a capacity of 150 MW. We are also planning to develop a new project in Zakarpattia Region.

We invest in Ukraine: Onur Group

ONUR GROUP Solar Power Plants in the Western part of Ukraine

- How much do you plan to invest in this project?

- We intend to build wind generators with a capacity of 120 MW, which will cost us $150 million. We plan to implement this project in two years, and as a result, our total capacity will increase to 270 MW.

Our other units are also performing well. For example, the products of our woodworking enterprise are exported to 17 countries around the world. And the volume of orders from EU countries and Turkey is growing.

We consider our agricultural unit to be promising. Last year, due to problems with logistics, producers had difficulties with sales, but after the opening of the ‘grain corridor’, the situation was improved. This stream is one of the most promising for Ukraine.

- Are you planning to expand the land bank?

- We currently cultivate approximately 5,000 hectares and perhaps we will increase our land bank to 10,000 hectares. And we are also thinking about starting our own company. But the exact plan is not available yet.

We invest in Ukraine: Onur Group


It is interesting to know about the mining iron ore, copper and gold

- Onur Group received a permit for the mining of primary kaolin, sand and gold in Ukraine. The company also received a special permit for the mining of graphite ore at the Burtynske deposit in the Khmelnytskyi Region and plans to invest about $50 million in this project. When will the deposit development begin and where do you plan to supply graphite?

- We have licenses for the mining of kaolin in the Dnipropetrovsk Region, but unfortunately, it is very dangerous now this region, so work there has been temporarily suspended.

In order to mine the graphite ore in the Khmelnytskyi Region, it is necessary to get the permits, which will take another year or a year and a half.

The total investments in this project will be about $200 million, $50 million of which will be only in the first stage. Graphite is a very necessary material.

We are convinced that investments in this industry open up huge opportunities for the region, in particular, new jobs are created, heavy taxes are paid, it provides an opportunity for the development of territorial communities’ infrastructure.

- Do you plan to develop other deposits?

- Yes, definitely. We are interested in mining iron ore, copper, gold. But we have no concrete plans yet.

- Under what conditions will Onur Group start developing its development projects in Ukraine, such as building housing, renovating hotel complexes and opening restaurants?

- We have many such projects in the west of Ukraine, and most of them are in the Lviv Region.

There is a hotel complex with apartments and conference halls among them. We have all the documentation ready for the implementation of this project, and we have already started its implementation before the war. But then we have frozen it. Perhaps we will resume work in the summer.

- How much did the company invest in the economy of Ukraine?

- If we talk about all our streams, then it is about more than $500 million.

We invest in Ukraine: Onur Group

Reconstruction of a Dvirtseva square by the Onur Group company in Lviv

Ukraine will win and return all its territories

- Military experts forecast that the war may end in the coming year with a probable victory of Ukraine. Do you set yourself the task of being ready to work at full capacity by this moment?

- Onur Group is a large company. We have many opportunities; we have our own equipment and a team of professionals. We value our employees.

I have no doubts that Ukraine will win and return all its territories. The only question is how long it takes. After the victory, large investments will come to the country, large programs for the restoration of the countrys infrastructure will be implemented. We know how to help to restore Ukraine faster. As an international company, we communicate with various investment groups and are ready to implement projects together.

- Business representatives are talking about improving consumer attitudes of Ukrainians and businesses. Do you notice this trend?

- Yes. I have not left Ukraine since the beginning of the war and I see that little has changed in Lviv - Ukrainians continue to work. At one time Kyiv became deserted, then the citizens returned, and now the city is alive - employees go to work, restaurants are open, business is in full swing. And that’s good. I dont know any example in the world when people get so used to the threat and still go about their business and work.

We invest in Ukraine: Onur Group

Fleet vehicles of the Onur Group

Support for the people and the Armed Forces of Ukraine

- About 30% of Ukraines infrastructure was damaged by Russian aggression. How long will it take to restore Ukraine?

- This is a very large volume of work. Before implementing such large-scale projects, I would recommend to predict all the possible risks and protect facilities important to Ukraine from missile attacks or drones. Maybe some of them need to be placed underground. It is more expensive, but also much safer.

There are many companies in Ukraine, so all facilities can be rebuilt in a few years. Western partners will also be involved in this process.

- Are there technologies that make it possible to protect strategic facilities from missile attacks?

- Yes, it is possible to minimize risks. Such strategically important places are of great importance for the national security. Therefore, the Government of Ukraine is developing new projects to guarantee maximum security of strategically important infrastructure in the event of such threats. The war taught us a great lesson and we must make sure that such destruction will not happen again in the future. Such technologies are rarely used in other countries of the world.

- Onur Group helps Ukrainians and the country a lot: it provides scholarships for talented students, organized the TOUR de ONUR bicycle race, which bands young active people together from all over the country. How did your community support programs change after the war? Which of them do you intend to focus on this year?

- Onur Group pays great attention to corporate social responsibility programs. We had to give up the TOUR de ONUR cycle race last year, but we will resume it immediately after the end of the war. Nowadays we provide humanitarian aid to hospitals in Kyiv and Lviv, we help the Armed Forces of Ukraine. For example, 120 units of our equipment were transferred to the front line. We support the people. We provided housing for more than 600 internally displaced Ukrainians, and the company had been providing them with food and everything they needed for several months.

We also help hospitals and doctors. Our company renovated and technically equipped the medical branch in Lviv, as the main office of the company operates in this city. We also handed over a powerful generator to a hospital in Kherson. We understand that Ukraine is currently going through the most difficult period since the countrys independence, and we are ready to lend a helping hand.

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