At africon, interested companies, organisations or stakeholders frequently ask us questions, such as “How can you create value for us?”, “What was the outcome of this clients´ project you worked on?” or “Can you tell us about a sample project of yours?”. For this edition of our newsletter, we took the opportunity to speak to one of our long-standing clients and provide you with insightful answers.
We interviewed Mr. Volker Oehl, Global Business Development Manager at Bodo Möller Chemie, to tell us about BMC’s experience in working with africon.
As a leading specialty chemicals distributor, Bodo Möller Chemie offers top products of renowned chemical companies. BMC is the expert for adhesive systems and partner for electro-casting as well as composites and tooling materials. Additives, pigments, binders and dyes, provide high-quality solutions for the production and processing of paints and coatings, plastics, building materials, lubricants and textiles. Bodo Möller Chemie is continuously expanding its global branch and logistics network – today, customers in more than 60 countries are served from their 30 international locations.
What were the challenges/tasks you faced before working with africon?
Mr. Oehl: Africa offers plenty of opportunities. However, the large number of countries and differences in types of key industries, degree of industrialization, ease of doing business and other factors are a big challenge, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
BMC has a historic presence in Egypt, the Maghreb countries and South Africa. Even though these are some of the major hubs, there are plenty of opportunities outside those countries. Large economies, large population and above average growth exist in East and West Africa.
africon’s assistance was appreciated especially for sub-Saharan Africa. Investment decisions needed to be made based on market insights, competitive situation, economic data and our principals’ coverage of African markets. Bodo Möller Chemie prides itself as a speciality chemical distributor with global reach, the geographic gap in sub-Saharan Africa needed to be closed.
Question: Why did you start working with africon?
Mr. Oehl: africon has an attractive offer and capabilities much beyond market research. Its presence in Africa and consultants with practical experience of working in several African countries was important to Bodo Möller Chemie.
Question: How did africon support you?
Mr. Oehl: africon provided solid market data and insights as a support to BMC when communicating with principals. For example, on the adhesives market, a clear understanding of focus countries, primary market segments and the competitive situation was provided. This enabled an excellent, solid, data-based business case including insights such as ease of doing business to help investment decisions.
africon also assisted in building up presences in “new” geographies. Through various services, africon enabled BMC to start sales efforts in key countries significantly faster while BMC was working on establishing own local presences and legal entities. When hiring new employees in new countries, africon identified candidates, facilitated the hiring process, managed the onboarding and provided office space.
Question: What has been the outcome, comparing the “status quo ante” and the situation now? [How have your sales in Africa developed?] (How) has your “footprint” on the continent changed?
Mr. Oehl: BMC has established itself in sub-Saharan Africa with offices in Kenya, servicing also neighbouring countries, and Nigeria. This is an expansion utilizing the successful hub concept. It opens opportunities not only in the originally targeted markets but far beyond. BMC started with products for textile industries and with silicones. Now we are moving rapidly into the coatings and plastics industries. With the expanded geographic coverage, we are an attractive partner for our principals, and we can serve local customers efficiently.