CE moves further into facility and break room



While Lyreco was busy forging ties in South Africa this week, Corporate Express (CE) was expanding new product categories. On Tuesday its parent company Buhrmann announced that it had acquired Coastwide Laboratories, a B2B distributor of facility and break room supplies in the US, for an undisclosed sum.


A spokesperson for Corporate Express in the US told OPI+: "Facilities and break room supplies is a key category in Corporate Express’ broad product offering. Satisfying a wider set of customer needs means that our customers can have one supplier instead of many. For the company it means we have a greater share of our customers’ procurement expenditure. It is expected that sales from the non-traditional office supplies will increase significantly over the next couple of years."


With more than 70 years’ experience in the industry, Coastwide Laboratories specialises in supplying cleaning products. It employs more than 150 people throughout 11 locations in the north-west of the US and posted sales of around $45 million in 2005.


The buy marks CE North America’s second in the facilities market. In November 2005 it acquired Portsmouth Paper Company, a B2B distributor of packaging, janitorial and safety supplies active in the north-eastern states of New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.


With its Coastwide buy, CE is also making a conscious move further into the realms of environmentally friendly products. Coastwide’s portfolio includes the Sustainable Earth range, which is a complete line of green cleaning products.


The range will complement CE’s Ecoffice programme, a catalogue launched in November that will feature more than 3,500 environmentally friendly products. There are plans to add more than 100 products to the catalogue every year, and this number will be significantly boosted with Coastwide’s ranges.


"Corporate Express is committed to helping customers make environmentally friendly choices for their office," said CE’s spokesperson. "Coastwide’s Sustainable Earth line of environmentally sound cleaning products is a leading name in the green product space. Consisting of products such as general purpose cleaner, washroom tub and tile cleaner, odour eliminator, liquid hand soap and graffiti remover, Sustainable Earth is a great enhancement to the company’s product offering."


And the company revealed to OPI+ that it was on the lookout for more acquisition targets. "In addition to the company’s strong focus on realising organic growth, it continues to make small and medium-sized acquisitions. In the US and Australia we aim to broaden our current product offering, illustrated by the Coastwide and Portsmouth deals.


"In Europe we may expand into countries where we do not have sufficient presence, such as the acquisition of Spanish OP group Ofiexpress in January 2006."