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  • milestones image
    1942
    Dr. Nejat Eczacıbaşı returns to Turkey from graduate studies in chemistry at the universities of Heidelberg, Chicago and Berlin and establishes a pharmaceutical laboratory in Istanbul. His first project is a vitamin capsule to replace imported cod liver oil, which was imported from Norway and hard to come by because of the war and scarcity of foreign exchange. Drawing on his background in biochemistry. Nejat Eczacıbaşı decides to make a similar product that provides the same benefits. This is what he said about his first venture to produce vitamins in his small laboratory, which he set up in his kitchen:

    “In fact, that bad-smelling and awful-tasting oil that is called cod liver oil is nothing more than a mixture made from cod fish. We knew that the active ingredients in this mixture were vitamins A and D. Turkey had a surplus of refined oil, so I mixed specified amounts of crystalized Vitamin D and Vitamin A, which came from England in small packets, into the refined oil, and filled 10 gram bottles. The pharmaceutical was D-Vital and its price, 105 kuruş.”

    Soon after, Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı turns to another product that was scarce during the war: baby food. He develops a product for babies called “Vital” and enters this market as well.

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    1944
    In the early 1940s, while doing his military service at the Gülhane Military Hospital, Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı succeeds in producing insulin, another product in shortage. The army learns of his achievement and asks him to set up a plant to manufacture electrolytic copper, which the military needs. He constructs a plant in Kartal, but the military subsequently drops the proposal, so he looks for a different field of business.

    Due to the halt in imports, ceramics are hard to come by, even the delicate coffee cups that are indispensable to every Turkish household. So, Nejat Eczacıbaşı decides to manufacture coffee cups at the Kartal plant. Not long after, he begins to produce kitchenware.

    These modest ventures are the forerunners of two large investments that set the direction for the Group’s subsequent development: Turkey’s first modern pharmaceutical plant in 1952 and first modern ceramic sanitary ware plant in 1958.



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    1952
    In 1950, Nejat Eczacıbaşı applies for a credit from the Industrial Development Bank of Turkey, newly established to provide credit to private sector investments in industry. He hopes to expand his small pharmaceutical operation employing 10 people in five rooms of the Aya Andrea business center in Galata, Istanbul, into a pharmaceutical plant. Having never forgotten the evening when an elderly woman entering his pharmacy in Izmir hands him a prescription and says, “My son, please make me the European equivalent of this,” he applies for a TL 820 thousand loan for construction and equipment.

    “The public lack of trust in local goods didn’t arise from malice, it arose from the unfair advantage that industrialists took of opportunities offered by the closed economy and the scant attention they paid to product control and standards. If our national industry does what it needs to do during production, just as we see worldwide, and communicate this to society, there is no reason to suspect the public’s good intentions.”

    Nejat Eczacıbaşı passes the examination of the credit committee and begins preparing for the construction of a modern pharmaceutical plant in Levent.

    In 1952, Eczacıbaşı inaugurates Eczacıbaşı Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing, Turkey’s first modern pharmaceutical plant. Over the next four decades, with one investment after another, it becomes the most powerful pharmaceutical company in Turkey. Bringing to Turkey the latest advances in medicine worldwide, the company produces virtually every pharmaceutical for human health, from antibiotics to hormones, vitamins, mineral complexes, analgesics, cortisone derivatives, cardiovascular pharmaceuticals, and psychotherapeutics.
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    1958
    In the 1950s, population growth and urbanization creates heightened demand for housing. Eczacıbaşı decides to expand the ceramics plant in Kartal into ceramic sanitary ware production, vital products for modern housing with sanitation infrastructure and a key input of the housing industry.

    One year later, Eczacıbaşı establishes Turkey’s first modern ceramic sanitary ware plant in Kartal and begins marketing its products under the VitrA brand.
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    1959
    Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı establishes the Eczacıbaşı Scientific Research and Award Fund to support and reward scientific research in medicine, chemistry and pharmacy sciences. From the start, the Fund’s mission is to both increase medical research and improve its quality by “contributing to the development of medical science in Turkey, supporting scientific research in this area, and rewarding successful work.”

    Founding members of the Fund included the distinguished scientists Ord. Prof. Dr. Ekrem Şerif Egeli, Ord. Prof. Dr. Arif İsmet Çetingil, Ord. Prof. Dr. Muhittin Erel, Prof. Dr. Reşat Garan, Prof. Dr. Necmettin Polvan, Prof. Dr. Zafer Paykoç, Prof. Dr. Behiç Onul, and Prof. Dr. Sabih Oktay.
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    1966
    The Eczacıbaşı Group’s interest in sports dates back to the 1950s, when employees at Eczacıbaşı plants formed teams and played in competitions with one another.

    Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı recalls the sports club’s foundation as the following:

    “Half of all people living in Turkey are under the age of 20. We have one of the youngest populations in the world. We know very well the relationship between physical and mental health… However, professional organizations, let alone amateur ones, are unable to attain international standards; they can’t achieve the quality standards of this era. Şakir Eczacıbaşı expressed his concern about sports in 1966. From these conversations, it was increasingly clear that there was an opportunity for Eczacıbaşı to play a pioneering role in this field as well. The problem in sports didn’t emerge from a lack of talent among Turkish youth but rather from deficiencies in infrastructure and opportunities. We believed that if we united knowledge and disciplined effort with sufficient resources and facilities, we’d be successful. The Eczacıbaşı Sports Club emerged in 1966 from these ideas.”

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    1970
    In line with its vision of being a “pioneer in healthy living”, Eczacıbaşı inaugurates Turkey’s first modern tissue paper plant in the Karamürsel district of Yalova, operated by İpek Kağıt Tissue Paper.

    Nejat Eczacıbaşı describes the relationship at that time between modern and healthy lifestyles and the use of tissue paper as follows:

    “Through the arduous efforts of İpek Kağıt, the use of tissue paper products has now spread throughout Turkey to a certain degree, whereas in the 1960s, these products were unknown in our country. In the West, in contrast, consumption of these products rose rapidly, especially after the Second World War. By realizing its aspirations, İpek Kağıt opened a new era in Turkey and become the leader in its field.”

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    1973
    The Eczacıbaşı Group establishes Turkey’s first publicly-traded investment company, Eczacıbaşı Investment Trust.

    Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı plays a leading role in the establishment of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), which has as its mission the organization of international culture and art festivals. In 1973, it organizes the first Istanbul Festival with a program that mainly comprises Western classical music.

    Nejat Eczacıbaşı recounts the establishment of İKSV as follows:

    “I attributed the establishment of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts and the organization of the International Istanbul Festivals to my interest in music and Istanbul’s great potential for festivals of this kind. Preparations for the first festival were quite troublesome. Very few people in Turkey understood the concept of a festival. First, we had to explain that culture and art festivals were a cultural service. We needed to clarify how much an international-class festival could contribute to our society. We also needed to explain that, far from making money, festivals needed continual support. Our listeners couldn’t believe that the revenue of festivals in other countries only covered 10 to 25 percent of their costs, and that the remainder was funded by central or local governments or interested individuals. For our first festival, we decided on 1973, the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey.”

    Describing the first Istanbul Festival, Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı said:

    “The Istanbul Festival aims to disengage people from the daily drudgery of the material world, if only momentarily, and to attract them to universe and sensations of art: to a cultural event in Rumeli Hisar castle or the relaxing and enchanting beauty of Topkapı, to the calming silence of Hagia Irene and Yedikule…”
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    1974
    Eczacıbaşı Kaynak Tekniği begins producing welding electrodes at a newly constructed plant in Kartal.
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    1977
    Eczacıbaşı opens a state-of-the-art plant in Bozüyük to produce VitrA brand ceramic sanitary ware.
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    1978
    The Eczacıbaşı Group establishes Intema, a publicly-traded company to develop and market high quality kitchen and bathroom suites produced by companies in the Building Products Division.

    The Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation is created to promote culture and the arts, scientific research, education and social development. The Foundation reflects the Eczacıbaşı Group’s belief that its responsibility to society encompasses more than sound business practices.

    In addition to providing support to a wide range of art, culture, science and education initiatives, the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation publishes the renowned Eczacıbaşı Color Photograph Yearbooks (now, the Eczacıbaşı Photographer Series), acquires and curates a select collection of paintings by well-known artists, and supports outstanding young musicians from Turkey who wish to advance their studies abroad.

    The Group establishes Eczacıbaşı Girişim to carry out the sales and distribution of its consumer products.

    To ensure the provision of high-quality raw materials to its ceramics plants, the Eczacıbaşı Group establishes Esan Industrial Raw Materials.
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    1981
    The Eczacıbaşı Group establishes Ekom Eczacıbaşı Foreign Trade.
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    1982
    Eczacıbaşı establishes a state-of-the-art active pharmaceutical ingredient and parenteral solution manufacturing operation, Eczacıbaşı Serum and Pharmaceutical Ingredients, in Ayazaga, Istanbul.
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    1983
    Eczacıbaşı initiates exports of ceramics to Germany.

    Eczacıbaşı inaugurates Turkey's first modern sanitary fittings plant, in Bozüyük, to produce Artema brand faucets and fittings.

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    1989
    Eczacıbaşı enters the IT sector with the establishment of Eczacıbaşı Information Technology (now, Eczacıbaşı Information and Communication Technologies). The aim of the new company is to provide IT consultancy, services and support to Group companies.

    The Group spins off the marketing and sales operation of Eczacıbaşı Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing as an independent company, Eczacıbaşı Pharmaceuticals Marketing.

    Eczacıbaşı Property Development and Investment is established to carry out the Group’s construction projects.
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    1991
    Eczacıbaşı Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing spins off its active ingredient operation as an independent company, Eczacıbaşı Fine Chemical Products.
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    1992
    The 50th anniversary of the Eczacıbaşı Group is highlighted by five large investments that augur a new era of growth.

    Eczacıbaşı Ceramic Tiles, a new joint venture with Marazzi of Italy, opens a ceramic wall and floor tile plant in Bozüyük.

    Eczacıbaşı establishes modern bathroom and kitchen set manufacturing plants in Tuzla for its new companies: Eczacıbaşı Bathtubs, a joint venture with American Standard to produce acrylic bathtubs, and Eczacıbaşı Kitchen and Bathroom Furniture, to produce modern kitchen suites using Bulthaup technology.

    Sanipak, a new joint venture with Procter & Gamble, inaugurates a modern hygienic paper products plant in Gebze to produce diapers and sanitary pads.

    Ipek Kağıt opens a new tissue paper machine at its plant in Karamürsel in a new joint venture with James River (subsequently, Georgia Pacific), that incorporates the latest technologies in tissue paper manufacturing.

    Eczacıbaşı Pharmaceuticals inaugurates a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical complex in Lüleburgaz. The new plant doubles the company’s production capacity to 200 million units per year.
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    1993
    Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı, founder of the Group and Honorary Chairman of the Board of Eczacıbaşı Holding, passes away. Şakir Eczacıbaşı becomes Chairman of the Board.

    The Eczacıbaşı Group establishes a 50:50 joint venture with Beiersdorf AG, Eczacıbaşı-Beiersdorf Cosmetic Products.

    The Eczacıbaşı Group establishes a 50:50 joint venture with Baxter International, Eczacıbaşı- Baxter Hospital Supply.
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    1995
    Bülent Eczacıbaşı becomes Chairman of the Board.
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    1996
    Eczacıbaşı inaugurates a second sanitary ware and ceramic tiles production line at the Bozüyük Building Products Complex. VitrA now has one of the world's largest ceramic sanitary ware production facilities.
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    1998
    Kaynak Tekniği transfers 50 percent of its shares to The Lincoln Electric Company, the world leader in the welding industry, to become an equal share joint venture.

    The Eczacıbaşı Group transfers it 50 percent shareholding in Sanipak to Procter&Gamble.
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    1999
    The Eczacıbaşı Women’s Volleyball Team wins the European Cup Winners’ Cup to bring Turkey its first European Championship Cup.

    Eczacıbaşı expands into hair cosmetics with the establishment of Eczacıbaşı-Schwarzkopf Professional Hairdressers' Products, an equal share joint venture.

    Eczacıbaşı establishes E-Kart Electronic Card Systems, Turkey’s first manufacturing investment in information technology.
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    2000
    The Group enters home health care services with the establishment of Eczacıbaşı Health Services.
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    2001
    E-Kart Electronic Card Systems becomes a 50:50 joint venture with Giesecke&Devrient, a world leader in banknote printing and smart card technology.
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    2004
    With the support and core collection of the Eczacıbaşı Group, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art begins serving the public as Turkey’s first privately-funded museum of modern and contemporary art.
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    2006
    The Eczacıbaşı Group and İş Real Estate Investment Trust, in an equal share partnership, open one of the largest residential, office and shopping/entertainment centers in Europe in the Levent business district of Istanbul.

    The Eczacıbaşı Group acquires Engers Keramik, an established German ceramic tile manufacturer.
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    2007
    The Eczacıbaşı Group acquires a 51 % share of V&B Fliesen, the tile division of Villeroy & Boch, the world’s oldest and best-known ceramics brand.

    Eczacıbaşı Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing transfers 75 percent of its shareholding in its subsidiaries Eczacıbaşı Health Products and Eczacıbaşı Fine Chemical Products to Zentiva N.V., one of Europe’s leading generics companies.

    The Eczacıbaşı Group launches the Eczacıbaşı Hygiene Project with the aim of improving the physical conditions of Regional Boarding Schools in Turkey and contributing to modern, high quality and healthy education for all. The project collaborates with the Ministry of Education, which determines the neediest schools and renews their plumbing infrastructure. Several Group companies and brands play a role in the project: the Building Products Division renovates the school’s bathrooms and showering areas with VitrA and Artema products, Selpak provides students instruction on good personal hygiene practices, and Eczacıbaşı Girişim and Eczacıbaşı Profesyonel provide personal hygiene and cleaning supplies. Eczacıbaşı Volunteers also contribute through creative projects that enrich students’ social and personal lives and contribute to their academic skills.

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    2008
    Eczacıbaşı Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing acquires a 50 percent share of Monrol Nuclear Products, a Turkish manufacturer of radiopharmaceuticals for nuclear medicine.

    The Eczacıbaşı Building Products Division reinforces its international presence with the acquisition of a majority share of Burgbad, a German producer of premium bathroom furniture.

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    2009
    The Eczacıbaşı Group transfers the remainder of its shareholding in Eczacıbaşı-Zentiva Health Products (formerly Eczacıbaşı Health Products) and Eczacıbaşı-Zentiva Fine Chemical Products (formerly Eczacıbaşı Fine Chemical Products) to Zentiva N.V.
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    2011
    The Eczacıbaşı Building Products Division inaugurates its new ceramic tile plant in the Serpukhov region of Russia. The 25 thousand square meter plant has an annual production capacity of 3.2 million square meters.

    The Eczacıbaşı Building Products Division assembles all its R&D teams under one roof with the inauguration of the VitrA Innovation Center at its Bilecik Bozüyük production complex.



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    2012
    The Eczacıbaşı Group becomes the sole owner of İpek Kağıt with the acquisition of the 50 percent shareholding of its longtime partner in this venture, Georgia-Pacific.

    Eczacıbaşı Profesyonel is established to provide professional cleaning and hygiene solutions for the away-from-home market.
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    2013
    Eczacıbaşı Health Services establishes a fully-owned subsidiary focused on workplace health and safety, Eczacıbaşı Occupational Health and Safety Services.

    The Eczacıbaşı Group transfers its 50 percent shareholding in Eczacıbaşı-Beiersdorf to its joint venture partner, Beiersdorf A.G.

    Eczacıbaşı Hygiene Products starts up operations with the Uni, Uni Baby, Uni Wipes, Uni Care, Unimed, Premax ve Şelale brands that it acquired from the Ataman Group.
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    2014
    The Eczacıbaşı Building Products Division inaugurates a ceramic sanitary ware plant in Serpukhov, Russia, next to its tile plant.
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    2015
    The Eczacıbaşı VitrA Women’s Volleyball team wins the European Champions League Championship and World Clubs Championship.

    Intema Life, the Eczacıbaşı Building Product Division’s kitchen brand for Turkey that aims to transform kitchens into integral living spaces, is launched.
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    2016
    The Eczacıbaşı VitrA Women’s Volleyball Team becomes the first back-to-back World Champions in the history of the FIVB World Clubs Championship.

    The Eczacıbaşı Group establishes a new 50:50 joint venture with Baxalta, the former biopharmaceutical division of Baxter International.

    İpek Kağıt opens new tissue paper plants in Manisa, Turkey, and Almaty, Kazakhstan.


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    2017
    As the Leading Sponsor of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), the Eczacıbaşı Group celebrates its 75th anniversary and the 45th anniversary of the Foundation by giving 1000 university students İKSV Culture&Art Cards for free entry to İKSV events.

    With the global acquisition of Baxalta by Shire, Eczacıbaşı-Baxalta Health Products becomes Eczacıbaşı Shire Health Products.