The Luxembourg-based SME aims to help North Americans, Europeans and Asian customers develop their businesses in the Arab-Persian Gulf.

Photo: François-Xavier Depireux, CEO of LD Export / Credits © LD Export

LD Export has just launched a new international franchise and signed off its first franchises in Amsterdam and Paris. The joint-ventures will help European companies enter the Arab-Persian Gulf markets.

Founded 15 years ago, the nine person-SME which is headquartered in Weiswampach (northern Luxembourg) and has operations in Dubai and Bahrain, specializes in helping Benelux companies develop their business in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

“There is a strong demand from Benelux companies from all sectors to do business in these countries. These companies are looking for a trusted on-site distributor,” François-Xavier Depireux, founder and CEO of LD Export, comments.

The concept is simple: the company does the market research, selects local partners and structures the export activity on behalf of its clients.

Its local partners are distributors – LD Export claims 3,000 in the Gulf – who will stock and sell the customer’s products at its local points of sale. They are also agents who provide their expertise on-site, for instance in engineering.

Rather than creating LED export subsidiaries, we decided to franchise our activity.

Indeed, the SME operates as interface between its customers and partners: On behalf of its clients, it is responsible for supervising the delivery and distribution of their products, and/or for monitoring the implementation and delivery of the service.

“We are the eyes and ears of the customer on-site”, Depireux says.

For several years now, the Belgian-born entrepreneur has been approached by companies based in Denmark, the US, the UK, etc.: “They were looking to develop and expand in Arab-Persian countries, but could not find any experts who knew the regions”, he explains.

“However, we are too small to have a presence near our customers in Scandinavia, North America or Japan”, the CEO adds.

“Hence, rather than creating LED export subsidiaries, we decided to franchise our activity. This way, our Luxembourg team can continue focusing on its core business, while a franchisee can sell our name and product out to customers”.

“Our franchisees must have experience in B2B. They must know how to speak on an equal footing with a chief executive or a business development director. They should be able to explain our missions and the credibility and guarantee of our company,” Depireux adds.

We are the eyes and ears of the customer on-site.

“They might ideally have experience as a marketing and audit consultant.”

The first potential franchisees he met were predominantly in their fifties, had a solid expertise and a network in one or more sectors and wished to work independently, while benefiting from access to an established company’s brand name.

F.-X. Depireux’s goal is to have 15 to 20 operational international franchises by the end of 2022 and to hire around 30 people in Luxembourg to monitor the franchisees.