Dufry plans to double Asia business in 5 years

By Charlotte Turner |

Dufry Julian Diaz headerIn a recent exclusive interview with TRBusiness, Dufry Group CEO Julián Díaz reaffirmed the importance of Asia for Dufry’s future growth and said that the company hopes to double its business there in the next five years.

 

Díaz said that Asia represent 9% of the total business: “Asia is a priority, because in the new organisation it will represent around 9% of the total business…What is the intention? We want to try to multiply this by two in the next five years.”

 

He was however more secretive about how the company will execute this plan, telling TRBusiness that he prefers to actually complete a task and then reveal the details of how it was achieved.

 

“How to do this? This is something which I prefer not to comment on…I do not like to participate in meetings, telling you how good we are and finally nothing happens. I prefer to tell people what we have done and then explain the detail after.”

 

Julian-Diaz-and-Char-hero

TRBusiness interviewed Julián Díaz in Cannes last month.

Although Díaz admits that Asia is a difficult region, made up of multiple markets, he says he has faced similar challenges before. “I think this is a challenge, but this was also a challenge when we started in the Americas, when we started in Europe, when we started in North America.

 

“All these businesses presented their own challenges. I know one thing, we are going to pool resources and the team in order to really develop the company in Asia.”

 

There doesn’t appear to be any specific top targets in Asia – at least none that Díaz is willing to reveal at present – but the CEO says the company is keen to target the region as a whole; all countries and all channels. Of course Asia is not a new territory for the company – as it generates $1.1bn in the region today (annually), says Díaz.

 

As previously reported, the company generated turnover in Region EMEA & Asia of CHF779m ($782m) in the first nine months of 2015 from CHF941.2m in the same period in 2014. In constant exchange rates, turnover in the region fell by -9.7% in the period.

 

 

“We are not small in Asia,” adds Díaz. “But in terms of development I think it is a very challenging territory. I don’t think in my opinion it is the obvious development. It is something that will require a lot of, you know, attention and a lot of resources and a lot of human resources with experience in the market.”

 

Although Díaz is open to operating within multiple travel retail channels airport retail remains the no 1 priority. As he said, “alternative channels will remain ‘alternative channels’”.

 

Asked whether various troubling traffic and spending trends in Asia – disappointing business in Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore sparked by the continuing downturn in China and the reduced appetite for luxury goods – would put the company off expanding in the region right now, Díaz said: “The situation right now in Asia and in other parts of the world is not going to stop Dufry from going ahead with development.

 

“The reality of the passenger growth over the next 10 years in Asia is that it is going to grow more than any other region in the world.”

 

[Read the full length exclusive interview with Julián Díaz in the December issue of TRBusiness magazine.]

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