Dufry’s Julián Díaz calls for an acquisition in Asia

By Charlotte Turner |

Julian-Diaz-Dufry-leadDufry CEO Julián Díaz has told TRBusiness that he believes now is the right time to make an acquisition in Asia and said Dufry plans to allocate capital to do so in the next two to three years.


In an exclusive video interview, Díaz said that growing Dufry’s footprint in Asia has not been easy in the past, but after making 14 acquisitions in 14 years across the globe, he believes this strategy could be successfully applied in Asia to expand its network of operations.


“I have been saying for several years now that the main target for our company is to develop the business in Asia,” he told TRBusiness.


“We have five operating divisions today. Divisions 1, 2 4 and 5 are contributing to the business between 20 and 22% of the business and Division 3 – Asia, Middle East to Australia including the Far East – is contributing 14% of the business.


“The intention is to reach an equilibrium between all of these divisions…with 20% [of the business] in each of the divisions. We are still far off reaching this level in Asia…The answer is, we will try to allocate capital for growth in Asia within the next two to three years.”



In order to bring about this ‘equilibrium’ between the operating divisions, Díaz insists that the company needs to be generating an additional $500-800m in sales across Division 3.



Last year Díaz made it clear to TRBusiness in a video interview with Deputy Editor, Luke Barras-Hill that investor HNA – the Chinese tourism giant – could be the missing piece in its Asia strategy. However, TRBusiness understands that HNA’s interest in Dufry now amounts to less than 1%.

Although the company admits it is not where is wants to be, Díaz was keen to highlight that Dufry currently operates in 14 Asian countries, which he said is more than any of his travel retail competitors.

We are already operating in 14 countries in Asia, probably more than any other company in the world; small operations, second-tier airports, downtown shops and onboard cruiselines.


“It’s a model that represents what our mentality is; financial discipline. This financial discipline is still valid. We will obviously always be concerned about the performance of each new operation, but we need also at the same time to accelerate the growth.”


He insists that there are two ways in which to do this; win tenders for large-scale operations or make acquisitions.


“Historically, we have been a company which combines both things; organic growth plus acquisitions,” he said. “We have not completed any acquisitions so far in Asia and I think that this is the time to do an acquisition. Obviously this depends on the financial conditions and many other things…But I do think the company should allocate capital in acquisitions in Asia.”


This is the first of a two-part video interview with Julián Díaz. More details from this video interview and Part 2 will appear in the November issue of TRBusiness.


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