Having entered the Latin American market eight years ago, HAE Group is looking at regional acquisitions to continue to grow, Americas president Ian Hutchinson tells Air Cargo Week.
HAE Group entered the region in 2011 with an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil followed by Santiago, Chile in 2012. Offices in Lima, Peru and Bogota, Colombia have since been added to HAE’s network.
Hutchinson is happy with business performance this year, saying: “We are fortunate that our business continues to grow in both countries for both our GSSA business and our solutions business. This is both with online and offline carriers.”
The outlook for the year is good, with Hutchinson commenting: “There is always a seasonal peak for us in Chile in the second half of the year, particularly in the perishables sector and Brazil continues with strong demand for our online and offline carriers.”
In Brazil, HAE represents Ethiopian Airlines and a number of smaller offline carriers and offers its offnet service. In Chile, it offers services to Air Europa, Swiss WorldCargo, Air New Zealand and China Airlines and offers the offnet product.
Buenos Aires, Argentina is the next place HAE would like to add to its network. For now, it is working on continuing to develop offline services in Lima and Bogota with support from the regional headquarters in Santiago.
Hutchinson says: “We would like to continue to grow and are looking at regional acquisitions to help us do that in Argentina and other countries. We then also believe we can offer airlines representation in clusters of countries helping then reduce costs and creating opportunities for ourselves.”
So far HAE has not moved into Central America, and will not do so on a speculative basis. Hutchinson says competition is intense, narrow body capacity is plentiful and HAE does not have the experience.
He adds: “We have a growth via acquisition strategy and would be keen to work with local heroes who could become part of our group.”
Short and medium term, Hutchinson does not see any drastic developments but pharmaceuticals and perishables are growing.
He says: “Like Asia we still see LATAM as an area of growth, as we would like to increase our share of activity and we grow representation in new countries.”
Operating in Latin America is not without challenges, mainly due to currency volatility, local laws and foreign ownership restrictions.
HAE has offices globally so it is not like it has never dealt with these issues before.
Hutchinson says: “HAE is well versed in rising to the challenge of non-traditional markets so the hard work on establishing, acquiring of developing business in the emerging markets is what we like to do best!”