The distribution sector in Tunisia, its difficulties and prospects for the development of “Magasin General” Group were at the center of an interview given by Tahar Bayahi CEO of “Magasin General” to Africanmanager.
What do you think of the distribution sector in Tunisia?
The distribution sector is undergoing restructuring in Tunisia. It renders a valuable service to the country by bringing best products in the most popular places and pushing to optimizing the distribution of this product with better quality, better price and wealth creation through the purchasing power.
What are the difficulties faced by the group’s distribution?
The major difficulty had to do mainly with clients who had met, at some point, security problems to get around. The difficulty had also been experienced by our suppliers who had problems to provide us with products. The difficulty arose again from our own staff who found it difficult to get to work and perform their tasks. This difficulty is absolutely interesting and positive as it announced a big change in our country that we hope to be very positive.
How do you explain that the permissions of the Ministry of Trade to build your first hypermarket are still blocked?
No, the permissions are not blocked. Rather they have not been released yet. Certainly, they are coming out. I think the process was launched. It is coming soon. We are very confident, especially since all the players and the administration recognize this principle of fairness to which we are entitled and that consists in saying that the third operator should be at the same level with the two others and thus benefit from the implantation of hypermarket like all others to be able to fully participate in the competition.
After this first half, how you do you see the figures for 2012?
This year would be a good one for “Magasin General.” To sum up, the first half is coming to an end and it is very positive. The company should perform well for this year. We are very confident. We want all the stability and security for our country.
With the deteriorating security situation in Libya, are you still interested in this market?
The Libyan market, we talk a lot about it, but it needs to stabilize. We are interested in all the promoters and the prospects that we still consider interesting for us. We attach great importance to this market. We are monitoring this market continuously and we will participate in it very actively.
Do you consider entering new markets besides the Libyan?
In distribution, to be present somewhere, one has to be strong. There is no question of fluttering and eroding our efforts. We are currently focusing on two markets, namely the Tunisian and Libyan, where the potential is very strong. To go elsewhere, there must be really a great opportunity, but we do not foresee it.