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Sun 5 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Field firm looks to Libya

Field marketing firm The IML Group has announced a massive expansion program in Libya, which will also see the company diversify its business into outdoor advertising.

Field marketing and in store-media firm The IML Group has announced a massive expansion program in Libya, which will also see the company diversify its business into outdoor advertising.

The company, which already carries out work for clients including Nokia, Canon, Unilever and Proctor & Gamble, specialises in providing retail-marketing solutions such as merchandising, sampling, and auditing for multinationals in emerging markets across the Middle East & North Africa.

Jonathan Twort, chief executive officer of The IML Group, said the company, which already has offices in the Libyan capital Tripoli and Banghazi, would shortly be opening up a branch in Misratah to meet the growing demand for field marketing from its existing clients.

“Libya is a very exciting country for us right now. It is slowly opening up and multinationals want to get their products in, and ensure that they are appropriately displayed and marketed in the stores,” he said.

The company has also secured the rights to position billboards and megacoms from Tripoli airport into the capital. “Outdoor advertising is a new venture for us, and our local knowledge has helped us win this deal,” Twort said.

The company is expecting to increase its annual turnover by 64% to US$18 million in 2005, from US$11 million last year. It is also due to announce a major push into Iran shortly.

“This year we are on target to hit US$18 million, based on contracts that we have already signed. The emerging markets of Libya, Yemen and Iran are providing opportunities for companies to expand their regional reach and allowing us build our business further,” Twort added.

The IML Group, which has a staff of 250 based in 35 offices in 21 countries across the region, claims to be the only field marketing operation in the Middle East & North Africa. Twort estimates that businesses using its services see a sales growth rate of between eight and 17%.

“The difficulties multinationals companies have is that their distributors or agents don’t maintain the standards they want, which is where our services come into play. Large FMCG clients are looking at building brands over the long term, and in new markets that can be problematic,” he said.

IML Group staff, which are hired locally and trained at the company’s head office in Sharjah, provide weekly and monthly analysis on prices, promotions, and availability of products on behalf of its clients, including photographic evidence of stock positioning and branding.

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