PRESIDENT OF LONDON SUPPLY GROUP
Argentina 2017 I Economy I Leader
BIOGRAPHY He started working at London Supply in 1979, was responsible for the company successful diversification into other businesses and become the President of London Supply Group in 1994. Today he is also the President of the London Supply Foundation which is one of the most important in Argentina, with dedicated social projects in the cities that the company is present.
“ARGENTINA HAS GONE THROUGH A DIFFICULT PERIOD BUT I BELIEVE THE COUNTRY OFFERS TODAY ONE OF THE MOST ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE REGION.”
LONDON SUPPLY GROUP IS CELEBRATING ITS 75TH ANNIVERSARY IN 2017. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY’S HISTORY IN ARGENTINA?
London Supply was established in 1942 by my father Don Jose Taratuty as a maritime supplier company. The company started when my father arrived from London and obtained a decree from the Argentine Customs authorizing the provision of merchandise to ships which were heading overseas. We are still in this business, currently operating in 19 of the most important ports of Argentina. Since then our company has grown and learned to adapt and transform itself according to the demands of an ever changing scenario. We have diversified our business activities and we currently operate duty-free shops, airport terminals, aero taxis, free trade zones and industries.
YOU HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT INVESTORS IN DEVELOPING THE TOURISM SECTOR IN ARGENTINA WITH DUTY-FREE SHOPS AND AIRPORTS. WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPING THESE SEGMENTS?
We are aware of the strategic importance of the tourism sector in Argentina and we are committed to continue investing in order to develop the sector further. This is the main reason why we have created our Airport Division in 1992 which is specialized in the construction, operation and administration of passenger terminals in Argentina.
Our current operations include the El Calafate International Airport, Ushuaia International Airport, Almirante Marcos Zar Airport in Trelew and Port Panuelo in Bariloche. As a recognition of our commitment, we have won many Frontier Awards for our wonderful Duty-Free Shop of Puerto Iguazú and for the campaigns that were carried out with so much creativity. Our core business remains our operations of duty-free shops in Argentina. Through the combination of know-how in marketing, local knowledge and the precise identification of the preferences of passengers, we have become the undisputed leader Duty-Free industry in Argentina. We currently have shops Río Grande City and International Aiport; Ushuaia City and International Airport and Puerto Iguazú. We are also building the new duty-free retail complex in the Rio Gallegos free zone in southern Argentina’s Patagonia and a focusing on our successful “retailtainment” strategy at our store in the Puerto Iguazú free zone, near the world-famous Iguazu Falls on the Argentine-Brazilian border.
UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP, LONDON SUPPLY GROUP HAS SUCCESSFULLY DIVERSIFIED INTO OTHER SECTORS. WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN PRIORITIES TODAY?
One of our fastest growing activities today are the Free Trade Zones. In 1999, we were awarded the Puerto Iguazú Free Zone by the Government of the Province of Misiones. With an investment of over USD 35 million, it was developed and expanded and today comprises a wholesale and retail free zone, that was inaugurated in 2002. In 2015, we were awarded and started construction of the Santa Cruz Duty-Free Zone (SCDFZ) in two parcels of land in Rio Gallegos and Caleta Olivia.
We have invested in other business activities including a wooden pallet industry, a private jet company, financial services, logistics centers, products distribution and highway tolls. Our most recent investment was in 2015 when we have bought 51% of Valenti, a company dedicated to gourmet products with a presence in the main shopping malls in the City of Buenos Aires. We are always open to new investment opportunities and continue to study new projects. We are looking closely to opportunities in the construction sector as Argentina has an important housing deficit and we want to play a role in this segment. Argentina has gone through a difficult period, but I believe the country offers today one of the most attractive investment opportunities in the region.
LONDON SUPPLY GROUP HAS INVESTED IN EXPORT-ORIENTED INDUSTRIES. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR INVESTMENT STRATEGY?
Our permanent business contact with the rest of the world allows us to identify attractive markets for the export of Argentine products. Argentina is internationally recognized for the quality of its agricultural products, by the attributes of its livestock industry and by its fishing and mining resources. Given these characteristics, the country has a preferential position on supply prospects in the most sophisticated global markets.
We have worked with a team of specialists to identify the various international demands and suppliers, bringing them together within the framework of international trade. We have a strong commitment to sustainability and one of our goals is to protect the natural environment that surrounds us. With this in mind, we have established Maderas de la Mesopotamia S.A, a manufacturing company specialized in the production and commercialization of wood pellets. We use the best technology available and our products comply with the highest international standards.Our manufacturing plant is located in the Puerto Iguazú Free Trade Zone in Misiones and is managed from our headquarters in Buenos Aires.