Aramex PJSC, the Dubai-based courier and logistics company, is considering minimizing its operations in the UK and serving Europe through the Netherlands or France if Brexit agreements do not favour free trade flows. The company, which is listed on the Dubai Financial Market, would maintain a small hub in the UK but move the bulk of its operations if the UK and European Union don’t reach an agreement supporting free commerce, which is crucial to the logistics business, according to Aramex Chief Executive Officer Hussein Hachem.
“It depends on what kind of agreement the U.K. government would be able to reach with the EU,” Hachem said Monday in an interview in Dubai. “The U.K. is a big economy. Irrespective of what happens, we need to have a presence. It’s too early to take a decision right now, but we’re mobile. It’s about customs. If that’s been addressed, we will stick around. If it’s a challenge, then we will minimize the U.K. hub and move somewhere else.”
International companies have started to consider shifting jobs and set up offices within the EU after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May indicated she’ll pull Britain out of the single market. Aramex calls for open borders and the non-tariff flow of goods, Hachem said. The company has about 200 employees in the U.K.
Aramex is bullish on e-commerce, which still has low penetration in the Middle East, Hachem said. It expects to make “a series of acquisitions” in e-commerce in Latin America in 2018 in response to customer demand, in what would be its first big step in that market since investing in a startup in Brazil two years ago, he said. The company is considering acquisition targets in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, he said.
“Lately there’s a lot of political and economic reform happening in these countries,” Hachem said. “It’s something that we’re watching. We’re getting our feet wet a bit in the Latin American markets.” Aramex is seeking acquisition opportunities this year and is looking to Asia for potential deals, Hachem said. The company has sufficient cash and credit lines to fund its investments. The company’s shares surged on Monday after it announced that its 2016 profit rose to AED427 million ($116 million), beating analyst estimates.