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The word ‘papel’ is an interesting one in the Spanish language. It means ‘paper’, but can also mean ‘role’. And for Unipapel Group – Spanish wholesaling leader in manufacturing and processing paper – it’s time for a more significant role in the world market.

Due to an acquisition made recently – a purchase of Adimpo, Spanish biggest wholesaler specializing in distribution of IT materials – the company is expected to be an European leader in wholesale distribution of school and office materials.

Short story of the origins of Unipapel

To understand the reasons behind this acquisition, one should first take a closer look at the histories of both companies, as well as their current position in their respective markets. Unipapel was founded in 1976 and back then was known by Unipapel Group yet, even though it started off as a merger of three paper companies – Vasco Sobres, based in Gupiuzcoa, Segundo Moreno from Madrid, and Logrono’s Papyrus. Both the reputation and the experience of the aforementioned firms have helped to make Unipapel what it is now – a successful competitor on the global arena. Before that happened however, the development of the firm was rather gradual. In 1980 Unipapel launched it first factory in Tres Cantos. In 1983 the sale of third party products, what is now the main field of Unipapel’s activities, started to emerge. In 2006, the company continued to grow with its third factory opened in Logrono.

The value of the products

This constant expansion would not be possible if not for one critical factor that ultimately is always what matters the most – the quality of the products. Unipapel has always been exceptionally proud of its manufactured goods and has decided to prove said quality to the clients. All of the firm’s factories have been awarded with an ISO 9002 certificate which confirms that the highest standards of paper processing are being maintained. Moreover, the logistics distribution warehouse have been recently granted with an ISO 9001: 2000 certificate for “order preparation and distribution of paper products and office materials”. The company’s board of directors state however that these credentials would not mean the same without the acclaim of many satisfied customers. All of the activities mentioned above are naturally environmental friendly, which is proven by yet another certificate. As a testimony of the company’s struggle not to do any harm to local ecosystem – Unipapel received an ISO 14001 for environmental management. Moreover, in 2009 the firm has been awarded an FSC certificate (a Forest Stewardship Council certificate granted for responsible forestry) and the PEFC certificate (the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification – awarded to those promoting sustainable forest management). All these recognitions perfectly describe the philosophy of Unipapel – a constant effort to excel at any aspect of it’s activity.

When leader position is not enough

Before the buyout, Unipapel was the Nation’s leader in manufacturing and distributing school and office materials. The company’s steady development is based on three divisions: Unipapel Industrial is the production part of Unipapel. One factory based in Tres Cantos is producing envelopes, the other one in Logrono mainly produces notebooks, while one in Aduna takes care of paper used in office circulation and archives. 88% of the firm’s sales revenue comes from the domestic market, yet the foreign markets are the ones that have been growing rapidly. The biggest part of the sales revenue of Unipapel comes from commercial envelopes, however the notebooks and drawing pads are not far behind. With such diversified offer and saturation of the domestic market, the only reasonable step forward was to seek an attractive partner and continue to develop.

Adimpo – a perfect company to collaborate with

That partner turned out to be Adimpo, Spanish wholesaler distributing IT materials. This Albacete-based company was founded in 1978 and is commonly known for its presence on international markets – which would eventually be a critical factor that convinced Unipapel to acquire Adimpo. In 1992 Adimpo became HP’s official wholesaler on the Spanish market and the following year in the whole Europe, which proved to be a milestone achievement in its history. With 46% share on the domestic market, the company is an unquestionable leader in distribution of IT materials, mainly printer ink cartridges and toners. What is worth acknowledging is the fact that, Adimpo’s share on the domestic market is four times bigger that the share of the runner-up company. It’s sales revenue is growing as steadily, as rapidly, and reached nearly 600 million Euros in 2008. Slightly more than half of this amount comes from the Spanish market. Another significant markets are France, Germany and Italy, where it is the fourth, the sixth and the eighth biggest IT material wholesaler, respectively. Despite the current economical crisis, in the first trimester of 2009 Adimpo have scored a significant 13,4% increase in income and an astonishing 86,5% boost in EBITDA.

Safe and calculated progress

The CEO’s of Unipapel state several reasons for the acquisition. It seemed a rational choice for the company for a move forward. It was a launch onto a very interesting market with said market’s leaders – with a company that is very specialized and very client-oriented. The acquirement of Adimpo speeded up the tempo of Unipapel’s development – the decision to buy out a company instead of forming a new one seemed logical from the beginning, especially when we take into account that Adimpo’s activity is somewhat complementary with Unipapel’s field of work. Joint forces result in lower logistic costs and operation costs, as well as it strengthen up the group’s client database. All the synergies are expected to materialize in 2012 and are estimated at nearly 3 million Euros.

Unipapel Group – more than just a sum of its parts

The complementarity of goods sold by both companies should not be underestimated. Clients buying paper and office materials from Unipapel most usually also buy printer ink cartridges and/or toners. What is crucial to the success of the newly founded giant is that the consequences of sharing these distribution channels is a better negotiation power, lower costs and, obviously, lower prices for the final customer. As mentioned before, Adimpo has always been known for its brave exploration of new, foreign markets. With Unipapel at its side, Unipapel Group has its facilities in 7 European and North African countries while exporting its goods to 22 others. The purchase of the firm is also likely to please the shareholders, as the EPS is expected to boost considerably.

A new leader is born

The operative structure of Unipapel Group did not change significantly during the acquisition. Unipapel Distribution joined forces with Adimpo in wholesale distribution of third party products, while the rest of the structure remained basically unchanged. What was formerly known as Unipapel now is best known as Unipapel Processing and Distribution (Unipapel TyD – Transformacion y Distribucion. What has changed, is the firm’s position as one of the biggest wholesalers in the world. Unipapel Group is now the biggest sector wholesaler in Europe, and third worldwide, overtaken only by major companies from the United States. Almost 40% of sales revenue of the group comes from international markets and those are said to be growing in the nearest foreseeable future. The Group’s sales revenue should rise stably and is expected to reach 1.12 billion Euros by 2015 – a 40% ascend in comparison with the current, 2008 result.

Whatever tomorrow brings

The acquisition of Adimpo has changed the way Unipapel will function from now on. With great partner come great opportunities but also great risks. The group has still a lot to accomplish, but the goals are set boldly. Now its only up to company’s management to maximize the benefits available. Last move for the company was to acquire yet another company – Nova Line Iberica. This investment worth 1.3 million Euros will broaden the offer with a wide range of niche products, making another step for Unipapel Group as a wholesaler. Looking at Unipapel’s past and present, it seems that only good things are on the horizon. 





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