The foundations of Zorlu Holding are laid in Babadağ, Denizli
Haji Mehmet Zorlu lays the foundations of Zorlu Holding in 1953 by establishing Zorlu Mensucat in his hometown Babadağ, Denizli, a textile hub. The first store in Denizli is opened in 1957 and the first order from outside Denizli is received in 1959.
Pursuing dreams: from Denizli to Trabzon, from Trabzon to Istanbul…
Haji Mehmet Zorlu’s sons Zeki Zorlu and Ahmet Nazif Zorlu start expanding the family business by opening a store in Trabzon in 1960. The know-how and experience gained here is brought to Istanbul in 1966 as the first contract manufacturing work gets under way.
Turkey’s first colored and patterned quilt cover brand TAÇ is born
Moving to Istanbul, Ahmet Nazif Zorlu notices the market gap in patterned bed sheets. He manufactures Turkey’s first patterned bed sheets under the TAÇ brand, followed by Turkey’s first king-size bed sheets. This differentiation brings market success and the family starts selling curtains under the TAÇ brand in 1976. The Korteks Velvet Weaving Plant is set up in Bursa the same year.
Exports begin with tulle curtains
Shortly becoming a focus of attention for its quality production, Korteks starts exporting tulle curtains in 1984. Zorlu Textile Marketing is established in Trabzon and Denizli the same year. Zorlu’s tulle curtains soon start adorning windows in Germany, the US, South Africa, Japan, and Singapore.
Foundations of Korteks are laid as Europe’s largest spinning mill
The foundations of Korteks Thread, the largest integrated polyester thread manufacturer in Europe and the Middle East, are laid in Bursa in 1988 in order to meet Turkey’s demand for quality polyester thread. The factory starts production in 1990. Zorlu Embroidery Factory is established in Lüleburgaz in 1989.
Investments begin in diverse sectors as the group expands
One of the region’s biggest players in textiles by now, Zorlu adds energy sector to its operations in 1993. Zorlu Energy Electricity Production PLC is established the same year for the purpose of meeting the demand for power and steam of the industrial organizations in Zorlu Group. Vestel, a leading electronics and white goods manufacturer in Turkey, joins the group in 1994. In 1997, Zorlu Holding founds Denizbank on a license received from the Privatization Administration. Nine years later, having become Turkey’s tenth largest bank, Denizbank is sold to the Dexia Group of Belgium. Also in 1997, the group’s first hotel, Zorlu Grand Hotel, opens doors in Trabzon.
The largest manufacturing facility for home textiles in Europe and the Middle East is founded
Zorlu Linen, the largest manufacturing facility for home textiles in Europe and the Middle East, is founded within the brief span of nine months and starts producing TAÇ quilt covers in 1997.
The first company outside Turkey is founded
1998 witnesses the rapid growth of Zorlu’s international operations. Bel Air, a 250-year-old French brand is acquired as a stepping stone to enter the European curtain market. Vestel USA is founded, manufacturing TV sets for the US market.
Zorlu Holding PLC is founded
Zorlu Holding PLC is founded in 1990 in order to provide a more corporate structure to facilitate the group’s rapid growth and investments in a variety of industries.
An innovative approach to home textiles: the Linens Home Beauty Center
The first store under the “Linens Home Beauty Center” concept which gathers everything sought in home textiles shopping under one roof is opened on Bağdat Avenue in Istanbul as Linens Marketing PLC is founded in 1999.
Mehmet Zorlu Education, Health, Culture, and Solidarity Foundation
The year 1999 sees the establishment of Mehmet Zorlu Education, Health, Culture, and Solidarity Foundation, named after the holding’s founder Mehmet Zorlu. The foundation’s activities are centered on education, culture, and sports particularly for young people, in line with Zorlu Group’s philosophy of “investing in the future.”
Zorlu Energy shares go public
Building up sufficient capacity by 1998 to supply 100 percent of the power consumed by Zorlu Group, Zorlu Energy begins to sell nearly 50 percent of the power it produces to companies outside the group by 1999. Becoming capable of selling 70 percent of its production to non-group companies by 2000, Zorlu Energy Group secures itself a solid place on the energy market. 20 percent of the company’s paid-up capital is offered to the public through Istanbul Stock Exchange the same year.
Opening up to the international scene
The first export to China takes place in 2000. Vestel’s Hong Kong office is founded the same year. It is joined by Vestel Shanghai and Zorlu UK in 2002. Linens’ first store outside Turkey is opened in Ukraine in 2001. Zorlu Linen becomes the largest facility producing cotton home textiles in Europe and the third largest in the world.
50th anniversary: a milestone in the history of Zorlu Holding
As Zorlu Group celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2003, its operations have expanded considerably and the number of companies in it has grown significantly. Zorlu Industrial and Energy Facilities Construction&Trade PLC; Zorlu O&M Energy Facilities Operation&Maintenance Services PLC; and Zorlu Petrogas Petrol, Gas, and Petrochemical Products Construction, Industry, and Trade PLC founded in 2000 are joined by Vestel Defense Industries PLC and Zorlu Electrical Energy Import, Export, and Wholesale Trade PLC in 2003 and Jules Verne in 2004.
Europe’s largest factory is founded: Vestel City
Opened in 2003, Vestel City is a 50th anniversary gift to Zorlu. Boasting the capacity to manufacture 76,000 products per day, Vestel City is to become the first and only Turkish manufacturing facility to be featured on the National Geographic’s documentary TV series "Megafactories" in the years to come.
The first unmanned aerial vehicle is born
Founded in 2003, Vestel Defence Industries PLC, which offers a wide range of products and services from the design and development to the manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles, system integration, and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, conducts the first flight demonstration of its mini unmanned aerial vehicle, EFE, in 2005.
Zorlu Children’s Theater
Zorlu Children’s Theater is founded in 2003 to make sure that no child who has not seen a play is left in any part of Turkey and that children are introduced to the arts at a young age. Staging theater plays and puppet shows free of charge, Zorlu Children’s Theater is to touch the lives of half a million children in the ten years to follow.
Opening up to the international scene in energy
Growing rapidly with investments in natural gas, hydroelectric, geothermal, and wind power plants in Turkey, Zorlu Energy Group in 2005 acquires a 25-percent share in Dorad Energy Ltd., which owns 800 MW of installed power in Israel, and lays the foundations of Moscow’s first private power plant. In 2006, a 20-year power production agreement is signed with the Pakistani Alternative Energy Development Board to build a wind farm in Pakistan.
Technical and functional thread manufacture starts in textiles
In 2006, Korteks starts manufacturing technical and functional threads, marketing products such as Dry Touch, TAÇ Cottonlike, TAÇ Antimicrobial, TAÇ Micromuss, etc. In 2008, Korteks develops flame retardant polyester thread and antistatic thread for technical textiles. In 2005, Zorlu Linen’s higher segment brand Valeron is introduced to the international market. The number of stores outside Turkey carrying the TAÇ brand reaches 100 in 2009.
Zorlu Property Group is founded
Zorlu Property Group is founded in 2006. A tender for the sale of a centrally located lot in Istanbul previously owned by the State Highways Directorate is won by the group with an $800-million bid. An Architectural and Urban Design Competition for the Construction of Zorlu Center is conducted. Earthmoving work begins at the construction site of Zorlu Center project the same year. The project is voted the “Best Planned Project” in the Cityscape Dubai Architectural Awards Program.
The United Nations Global Compact is signed
The concept of sustainable development adding value to humans and society, which the Zorlu Holding has upheld since its establishment, is carried to a formal dimension with the signing of the United Nations Global Compact in 2007.
Meta Nikel Cobalt Mining Industry and Trade PLC
Founded by specialist engineers in early 2000 as the pioneer of nickel mining in Turkey, Meta Nikel Cobalt Mining Industry and Trade PLC joins the subsidiaries of the Zorlu Group in 2007.
Pioneering moves in information and technology by Vestel
Allocating 2 percent of its annual turnover to R&D, Vestel manufactures the 100 millionth TV in its history in 2010. The first 3D TV and the first smart TV are manufactured by 2011. Vestel steps into the LED lighting sector the same year.
Zorlu Factoring is founded in 2012 to develop products targeting sector standout companies with extensive supplier and agent networks as well as medium and large-scale companies.
Zorlu Center opens
As the most important real estate project of Zorlu Holding and receiving several awards at international platforms and at abroad, Zorlu Center opens its doors in 2013.
Vestel is on National Geographic Channel
Vestel becomes the first electronic and white goods company of the world taking place in the Mega Factories documentary series on National Geographic Channel.
Kızıldere II Geothermal Plant opens
Zorlu Energy Group opens Kızıldere II Geothermal Power Plant, the biggest geothermal power plant of Turkey with an installed capacity of 80 MW.
The birth of Venus, Turkey's first locally manufactured smartphone
The year 2014 sees a first both for Zorlu Holding, and for Turkey. Vestel manufactures and introduces Turkey's first smartphone, Venus.
Vestel becomes the brand receiving the highest number of thanks from customers
According to the Complaint Index Report, Vestel becomes the brand receiving the highest number of thanks from its customers by ranking on top of five categories with its complaint handling success in 2014.
Meta Nikel begins pilot production
Meta Nikel Kobalt Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş., the largest investment in its field in Turkey, starts with pilot production in 2014.
The first cycling tour of the world passing through a factory takes place
Attending to the 51st Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey organized under the sponsorship of Vestel in 2015, the cyclists pass through the Vestel City and break grounds with the first cycling tour in the world passing through a factory.
Levent 199 receives the LEED Gold certificate
Constructed by Zorlu Property as one of the most prestigious and qualified office projects of Istanbul, Levent 199 receives "LEED Gold" certificate from the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
The UN's Women's Empowerment Principles are signed
Zorlu Holding institutionalizes its support for empowering the women in society, business life, and economic life by signing the United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles.
Vestel and Zorlu Energy at B20 events
Vestel and Zorlu Energy attends as a strategic business partner to the digital economy and energy meetings of B20 events, the business world expansion of the G20 Summit.
Venus V3, the new model of Turkey's first locally manufactured and designed smartphone Venus, is put on the market.
Zorlu Center launches the first light festival of Turkey.
Zorlu Energy provides 7 percent of Israel's energy
The total installed capacity of energy investments in Israel, which Zorlu Energy Group is a partner of, reaches to 1.015 MW in 2016, and becomes capable of meeting 7 percent of Israel's energy need for 25 years.
Started 63 years ago by weaving bed sheets from Denizli's Buldan fabric on a loom made by Hacı Mehmet Zorlu in his house, the journey of Zorlu Holding continues successfully today in various areas from textile to white goods and electronics, energy to real estate, and defense industry to metallurgy under the leadership of his sons, Ahmet Nazif Zorlu and Zeki Zorlu.