I am sure you are all aware by now that Dufry has acquired a controlling stake in WDF. Dufry claims that it can achieve over $100m of savings in synergies but what can we expect over the first 100 days?

In a nutshell, not as much as you might expect. Travel Retail does not generally move at the pace you would expect from a domestic environment. There are some key things that will happen though. Having worked for WDF during the Ferrovial takeover of BAA and the integration of Alpha and Aldeasa, there are some things that will definitely be on the table in the next 100 days:

Uncertainty

Both companies will be going through a period of uncertainty during over the coming months. Both companies have great people working for them and any change can be stressful. The term “Synergies” often implies cost savings and raises questions on whether they can operate on less staff. The sort of things that will be on their minds of the teams will include:
<ul “margin-left:.375in;direction:ltr;unicode-bidi:embed;=”” margin-top:0in;margin-bottom:0in”=””>

  • How safe is my role?
  • Will I have to go into consultation (again!! For some people)?
  • What will I do if I get made redundant?

Uncertainty can be a source of stress and have a negative impact on how people feel and act on a day to day basis.

Most people think that it has no effect and they will even tell you so but stress can still takes its toll. If you are dealing directly with the teams involved, please take a moment to think about how they are and how they are feeling right now. They are still the same great people you have been dealing with but their circumstances are a little different. Be mindful.

Comparing Notes

The one thing that will of course worry suppliers is the comparing of notes. Of course, both companies receive different cost prices and margin support and so the companies will be reviewing all of their agreements. This will require a round of negotiations. Suppliers – be prepared!

Understanding

The finance teams will be in overdrive to find opportunities to save on costs and drive profitability. Combining the companies sales reporting will be a big consideration so that the senior team can start and understand their global performances and benchmarking. This will eventually form the foundations of their future strategy.

There is one thing that this combined company can do to leverage its understanding of the market. If it does it, it will truly be the powerhouse of travel retail.

Finally, I believe that the most important aspect here is the people. Mergers and acquisitions can be a stressful time for anyone. If you do one thing over the coming months, be mindful.

Thanks for reading

Kevin
kevin.brocklebank@oneredkite.com