Latin distribution: Corporate Express heads south


It has taken some time but Corporate Express (CE) is starting to take Latin America seriously. The distributor has entered into an exclusive marketing agreement with Fesa, a Mexico City-based office products and services company, and has voiced plans to continue south

The agreement will enable CE, which already enjoys sales of approximately $4.5 billion in North America, to further distribute to new and existing CE global accounts, while offering Fesa customers access to CE’s global distribution services.


"Corporate Express has worked locally in Mexico to support global customer office product needs in that market and is expanding its presence into the country with this exclusive marketing agreement," spokesperson for the company Van Hindes told OPI+. "Fesa is an exciting partner that will enable us to increase our presence in Mexico while improving and expanding our services and our brand to our global customers in that market.


"Over time we look forward to expanding that relationship to other countries where Fesa has an office products presence to enhance our ability to serve global customers’ needs," he added.


Fesa, an operating company of Latin American multinational Carvajal, is headquartered in Colombia. It has operations in 13 countries, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.


Fesa has a variety of different businesses including adhesives; quick printing; outsourcing of databases, forms and office supplies management; manufacture of ID, financial and prepaid cards; and print management.
The company was not immediately available for comment on the deal.


Going forward, CE plans to broaden its Latin American focus into markets where Fesa has operations, and is convinced of the continent’s potential on the global OP stage. "Latin American markets become increasingly more important as our global customers expand their operations in that region," said Hindes. "Fesa is a unique company and a great partner strategically."


But CE was reluctant to expand on the Latin American markets that it will prioritise.


Fellow distributor Lyreco has also voiced plans to move into Latin America. "At this stage any market that is meaningful in terms of presence to our customers makes sense for us," Eric Bigeard told OPI+. "In this respect we would not exclude South America from our future game plan. This is why Lyreco has already devoted some time and energy to analysing those markets to try and understand which countries in South America we would like to cover and how."


Watch this Latin space.