|April 27, 2021||0|
Bolligen BE/Aarburg AG, January 29, 2021 – Swiss company Office World Holding AG, part of the international MTH Retail Group Holding GmbH, and OFFIX Holding AG, part of Swiss cooperative PEG Papeteristen Einkaufsgenossenschaft, are merging their Swiss operations into the newly founded Office World Group AG. Office World Holding AG is bringing its companies Office World, iba and Tramondi into Office World Group AG, while OFFIX Holding AG brings its firms Papedis, Ecomedia, Oridis, Office Leader and DocuServ into this new Swiss company. The merger creates a Swiss group that is represented in all parts of the country, and that has almost 600 employees and sales of around CHF 400 million.
With this union, Switzerland’s two leading office supplies and services groups are combining their access to the Swiss wholesale and retail trade, as well as to the traditional sales channel provided by independent stationery retailers. These retailers will now benefit from the marketing expertise and purchasing power of MTH Retail Group, the market leader for office supplies in German-speaking Europe. The new group, in which Office World Holding AG holds a majority stake, serves the market through 19 of its own points of sale, numerous online-shops, as well as about 2,000 local retailers and retail chains.
An industry facing great challenges
Major challenges facing the industry include the effects of digitalization on filing and archiving, as well as on products and sales channels, the trend towards co-working, and especially the rapid shift away from bricks-and-mortar stores to online sales channels. While the proportion of revenue generated by the new group through online channels currently averages around 40%, the equivalent online figure is much lower for the large number of independent retailers.
These independent paper and stationery dealers, whose sales are still predominately made through their physical stores, will benefit from the combined expertise of Office World Group. However, the crucial factor in a shrinking overall market is the commercial advantages that the partnership between the two groups will bring, in particular the better procurement terms. Individual stationers will also benefit from a comprehensive product and service offering and from the expanded marketing and sales services that Office World Group can offer.
The merger will therefore deliver a significant boost to the long-term competitiveness of the office supplies industry, thus helping preserve jobs in a sector that will continue to be characterized by structural adjustments and changing buying behaviors.
“The merger between Office World Holding AG and OFFIX Holding AG is a milestone in the consolidation and refocusing of the office supplies industry,” says Matthias Baumann, CEO of the international MTH Retail Group Holding GmbH and Board Member of Switzerland’s Office World Holding AG. “We are taking this step from a position of strength at a time when we still have room to maneuver. It creates added value for our customers and buyers, and it will improve the competitiveness of a traditional sector that faces great challenges but also great opportunities. By bringing all operational businesses into Office World Group we are creating an efficient, highly knowledgeable, customer-focused organization that is even better placed to meet changing market requirements.”
Two perfectly complementary partners
Office World Holding AG, based in Bolligen, Canton Bern, runs 19 locations in Switzerland, generated sales of around CHF 170 million in 2019, and employs a total of 359 employees. It is part of the Austrian MTH Retail Group Holding GmbH, which is a leader in the office supplies market in Germanspeaking Europe and which achieved consolidated group sales of around EUR 730 million in 2019. PEG Papeteristen Einkaufsgenossenschaft, based in Aarburg AG, supplies and supports stationers as well as many independent dealers, resellers, retail chains, corporate clients and institutions through its operating companies, which have been grouped together in OFFIX Holding AG since 2015. OFFIX Holding AG is currently one of the leading stationery and office supplies organizations in Switzerland, with sales of around CHF 240 million and 235 employees.
The companies that will now form part of Office World Group AG, will continue to be led by their existing management teams, and will continue to operate on the market with their own specialized sales organizations. The Group will maintain its logistics sites in Nänikon, Bolligen and Aarburg. “We are delighted with this merger, which marks another determined step in the development of our long-established cooperative,” says Christoph Clavadetscher, Chairman of PEG Papeteristen Einkaufsgenossenschaft, the owner of OFFIX Holding AG. “We expect the merger to create measurable economic benefits for our members and customers, but also to produce a further improvement in the offering to end-users. This will put our independent stationers in a position to remain competitive even as market requirements change, and to offer their customers an attractive range of products at attractive prices over the long term. At the same time, this merger will help secure jobs and strengthen our industry.”