A family dispute hurts industrialists .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} İZMİR- A dispute between the members of Uzel family hurt many industrialist in the Aegean region. Many firms have not been able to receive payment for services and goods they provided for Uzel Group. The dispute has been going on since the death of the company president Ahmet Uzel

The family dispute in Uzel Group, which produces and sells Massey Ferguson tractors in Turkey, has distressed industrialists in the Aegean Region.

Over 15 companies, including the firm of Tamer Taşkın, chairman of the Aegean Region Chamber of Industry, or EBSO, could not receive the cost of services and goods they sold to Massey Ferguson. The Aegean firms that were already facing tough times in production and sales due to the economic crisis are reporting that their company and business plans have turned upside down due to their receivables from Uzel Group.

Petrofer firm, in which Tamer Taşkın is a partner, sold tons of lube oil to Massey Ferguson, Taşkın said. "Turkey’s largest tractor firm bankrupted not because of the economic crisis but because of a family dispute. We have faced a very bad situation.

"We have supplied oil to the firm for free. All of us have applied to the court. But what can we get from a bankrupted firm? All demanders are in row. We will either receive a portion of our money or nothing."

Receivables total TL 20 million
Noting that the problem is not limited to his firm, Taşkın said many automotive supplier and spare part industry firms operating in the region are also aggrieved due to Uzel. The receivables of the Aegean firms have reached TL 20 million, he said. Çelikiş, a spare parts firm operating in the İzmir Atatürk Industrial Zone, is another victim of Uzel’s situation. The firm, which made gear production for Massey Ferguson, could not get its money on time, said Okyay Erik, partner of the firm, which offers services for tractor and automotive sector. "The firm’s debts are said to have reached $150 million. Even if we wait at the court row, it is quite difficult to collect our receivables."

However, the problem is not just about receivables, he said. "Besides, supplier materials and half-completed products we had bought to make production for the firm were left in our hands. Therefore, our financial structure has been damaged."

History of the firm
Uzel Group’s primary activities are design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of agricultural tractors and related machinery and equipment, diesel engines and other power products and automotive components.

The holding was established in 1935 and institutionalized under the presidency of Ahmet Uzel in 1977. Uzel Machinery, Turkey’s oldest and largest agricultural machineries producer, was taken into a heritage dispute following the death of Ahmet Uzel in 1998. The quarrel in the family over fraud and breaches of confidence have had a negative impact on the financial and stock performance of the firm, which was once among the world's top 10 in agricultural machinery production. The dispute among family members has had a significant impact on the corporate deterioration. Two siblings Şafak Kibar and Serdar Uzel filed a lawsuit against their brother with the office of the public prosecutor, asking the court to prohibit him from leaving the country.

Some 83.2 percent of shares in Uzel Makina were transferred to Uzel Agri in April 2007. Uzel Agri, which is the core business line, represents 80 percent of Uzel Corporation's revenues. Following this transfer, Uzel Agri turned over 64.43 percent of the shares of Uzel Makina to Singapore-based SS Distribution on Feb. 27. After this development, Türkan Uzel, the late Ahmet Uzel's wife, and his two children, Şafak Kibar and Serdar Uzel decided to file suits against all transactions, which became detrimental to the benefits of all stakeholders, including those who held small stakes. Claiming that there were irregularities in the sale of Uzel Makina shares, Şafak and Serdar filed a suit against top managers Bedirhan Çelik, Mehmet İzzet Kalaycı and İbrahim Aksoy in addition to their brother Önder Uzel. They even went further and claimed that Çelik and Uzel violated Article 155 of Turkish Criminal Code concerning breaches of confidence. They also claimed that Çelik and Uzel embezzled money from the company and smuggled assets and capital even from small shareholders.