EMICELA, S.A: The Canarian character of the internationalization

Monday, 05 March 2018

EMICELA, S.A is a Spanish family-own company with 100% Canarian capital. It was founded more than 50 years ago by Mr. Emiliano Arencibia Hernández, who is the current president.

It has more than 40.000m2 distributed among the factory, warehouses and offices around our industrial site in Gran Canaria, which is one of the biggest in Spain; and our other 6 national offices and 5 international subsidiaries scattered through America and Africa.   We look into the future with a clear objective: being a step forward from our client´s needs and satisfy those needs with the best value for money and the best logistic efficacy of the market.

" The Spanish touristic sector has about 50.000 people working abroad, but Canary people represent less than 20% of that figure. It is necessary  to understand that going abroad is essential ."

Apart from the principles that the company founder taught to his children who form the current management board, Emicela´s philosophy relies on three main aspects:

They have a growing workforce with near 300 professionals in constant trying scattered around three continents. Besides, the capacity of their logistic platform allows them to supply their products in a fast and efficient way to their clients scattered around 35 countries. Last but not least, they have a business model that promotes a constant and diversified expansion, which reverts in many competitive advantages in the production and commercialization of their products.

What is the main activity of the company at the present?

EMICELA is mainly active in the production and commercialization of products for the hotel sector, such as roasted coffee, chips and nuts, or packed coffee.

The business units are shared among the four siblings. Two sisters work inside the company, a brother deals with Europe and Africa, and another brother deals with China and America.

Besides, working as producers and distributors of food products, amenities, housewares, work clothes, and advertising material, Emicela has become a reference brand for many big companies and for the commercial distribution sector (hypermarkets, localized markets, restoration and hotel industry).  Likewise, its commitment to reaching business excellence in the production and distribution sectors has made it one of the leading companies in the integral supply system for many hotel chains in the Canary Islands, in mainland Spain and in the international market.

Bar soaps, bottles of care products, flatware, and sweets are among others the products that are most sold in the international market.

It is a reference for most of the hotel chains operating internationally. Their commitment to reaching excellence in the production and distribution sectors as well as their logistic capacity allows them to reach many countries around the world and to satisfy the quality demanded by the current hotel industry.

All together has led them to be awarded with the Business Excellence Award of the Canary Government.

Why do you find interesting looking into foreign markets for business development?

Even though they are already well established in the Canary Islands they intend to consolidate even more its position in the Islands, as well as in foreign countries where tourism is gaining strength, as Costa Rica,  Tunisia, and when the current situation improves also in Cuba and Morocco. 

Emicela has been committed for more than four decades to the diversification of their products and to the expansion of their production and distribution activities beyond the boundaries of the Canary Islands.

They went from a first approach to Morocco and The Gambia to trade with several European countries, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, The Bahamas, Aruba, Panama, Dubai, or Costa Rica. In total more than 35 countries, and they perfectly know the export proceedings, the tariff barriers and the taxation system of the many countries they export to.

They currently produce more 1,500t of sweets and they export 80% of them. Big hotel chains as Riu, Barceló, Meliá, Iberostar, Hard Rock Café, Moon Palace, Sirenis, Bahía Principe, Princess Hotels, Sheraton, Accor, Novotel, Sofitel, Hilton, Tui, have been their clients for more than 15 years.

Their products give coverage to many distribution chains as Mercadona, Alcampo, Dinosol, SuperSol, El Corte Inglés, Sabeco, Pullmantur, Lopesan, Aldina, MSC, AC by Marriot  or  Carrefur. Besides they produce some goods in Canary Islands for Lidl and Supersol.

Emicela works with the tourist sector and goes with it to those places where governmental conditions allow the hotels to get established and then supplies them with their products, as they do in Cape Verde and the Caribbean.

What projects are you currently carrying out overseas? In which countries and why?

They have been more than 25 years doing business trips to different places around the world and also participating in trade missions and attending to international fairs. This way they have raised the awareness of their company and have established the necessary business relationships for developing business ideas. Among the activities they run each year you can name the presentation of their products and attending as visitors to many national and international exhibitions like HOSTELCO and ALIMENTARIA in Barcelona, and HOREQ in Madrid, Spain; PSI DÜSSELDORF and ISM in Cologne, Germany; The FIC and EXPOTURISMO in Cape Verde; or XPHOTEL Cancun, in Mexico. The goal of this strategy is to train the staff in international commerce.

Countries as Cuba, Costa Rica or Panama are another short term targets.

What products or services you find more attractive for internationalization?

Whatever the tourism sector needs, wherever its needs are.

What problems have you encountered when trying to expand abroad? How did you solve them? Have you got any support?

We found some issues dealing with some countries, as with Panama, about the importation of their products. 

Have you accomplished any international achievement?

At the present Emicela is established in 30 countries thanks to the sale of 8 million soap bars and 5 million care products, which represents 30% of the overall sales. It also sells abroad the 80% of its 6 million production in flatware, and 1,25 million of sweets.

It is the main Cape Verde contributor regarding custom duties. 30% of 20 million Euros in sales.

It buys in more than 20 countries since more than 20 years ago.

It sells houseware, sweets, food, and amenities to 19 European countries, 4 countries in Africa and 8 more in America, mainly wherever the main Spanish hotel chains are present.

Was it easy to become internationalized? How did your experience begin?

It was a long way to go and it had to be walked step by step.  They use all possible ways to make their offers available to potential customers. They attend to international fairs and visit international customers, they go with their customers wherever they go in their expansion process, and they open offices in countries where there are chances to supply to their regular customers. Iberostar and Meliá are among others some chains they have followed abroad, and they have opened some logistic platforms in Cape Verde.

Why would you recommend internationalization?

The Spanish touristic sector has about 50.000 people working abroad, but Canary people represent less than 20% of that figure. It is necessary to understand that going abroad is essential. There are many growing Spanish companies that need Spanish manpower.

For many Canary people it is hard to move abroad, and so it is to understand the know-how of tourism. We have to take advantage of our strategic location in Africa, America in Europe, and we need to integrate ourselves in the expansion that the Spanish companies are carrying out.

At a personal level learning languages is essential for somebody who is considering taking a chance in internationalization.  The present and the future are now in Africa. There is no doubt that Senegal and The Gambia will be growing touristic destinations in the following years.

Innovate is another key factor that must be bear in mind to progress in this sector.


Sergio Arencibia

Presidente de EMICELA

Tel: +34 928 154 300

Mail: info@emicela.es

Web: http://www.emicela.es/


Fuente: emicela.es - youtube

Translated by  Daniel Palacios Martínez,  March  2 th 2018


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