AEL Eyeing Expansion in Mexican MarketBy Conal Quinn | Wed, 07/20/2022 - 09:26
Q: What products and services have you brought to the Mexican market?
A: Just like our offering in Europe and the US, we focus on the distribution of electrical components and equipment in Mexico. Many of our products are specifically designed for hazardous areas where the risk of explosions is high. All our products are delivered ready to use and comply with the IEC, IECEx, ATEX and UL industry certifications. In Mexico, we primarily work in the oil and gas sector and have a wide range of products available especially for onshore and offshore rigs.
We started in Mexico in 2019, having already entered the market two years prior, working under an American company. As such, we already had an existing portfolio of clients, with many more prospective clients out there to pursue through the contacts we had established. Furthermore, thanks to the global footprint and international structure of AEL, we already had brand recognition within the sector. Although the COVID-19 pandemic certainly did not help a newcomer like us reach new clients, we were nonetheless able to adapt to the suboptimal situation by arranging video conferences to forge new relations. Now that we are coming out of the pandemic, we are looking forward to having more in-person meetings to reach even more clients.
Currently, our operational and administrative HQ is based in Veracruz. However, we also have offices in Monterrey and Mexico City with plans to open further offices in the near future to Tabasco Region.
Q: How have you confronted the supply challenges you have faced in the post-pandemic environment?
A: Coming out of the pandemic, a big challenge we have been facing is the lack of materials for our production lines. There has also been a recent wave of reforms, increasing regulations over imports. This has proven to be a very complicated problem for us since most of the products we sell require very specific materials, which need to be imported from our International warehouses.
Furthermore, the market can often be volatile as demand for different products fluctuates month by month. However, we have structures in place to overcome such challenges and continue meeting our clients’ needs. Oil and gas operators need their stocks replenished as quickly as possible, especially given some of the health and safety risks at stake. Some of our products can take from five to six weeks to arrive from Europe and between two and three weeks from the US. We try to speed up this process by having a fixed price system despite the often-volatile market. Furthermore, our website allows clients to manage their stock and make orders automatically when they start to run low on any given product.
Q: What is unique about your offering in the Mexican market?
A: In addition to the extensive catalog of products we have on offer, the added value which separates us from national manufacturers is our international structure, especially our ability to import any type of material from the US, Europe or Asia. Our manufacturers have years of experience and we know that we can count on their support 100 percent. We also work very closely with salespeople and electrical engineers, enabling our manufacturers to train their personnel. AEL provides integral services, not just goods and materials.
With such broad international experience, our integration into Mexican operations has been quite fluid. Our clients know they can put their trust in us. We are specialists in niche areas. Some of our products, such as anti-salt devices as well as high-tech light and navigation tools, are very difficult to find in Mexico, which sets us apart from the pack.
Q: You already work with many PEMEX subcontractors, but are there any plans currently on the table to start working with the NOC directly?
A: PEMEX is obviously the big mover in the domestic market but it is not the only company operating there. Of course, we are more than open to working with PEMEX eventually, and flagship projects such as Dos Bocas certainly have our attention. However, as it stands, we have plenty of opportunities available in the private sector and we are happy to continue making the most of these as we consolidate our position in the domestic market.
Q: What are your plans for 2022 and where do you see the company heading in the long term?
A: AEL just celebrated 40 years since its founding in Aberdeen, Scotland. This past year was the first in which we surpassed US$12 million in revenue, thanks to the successful implementation of our globalization strategy in recent years. We want to maintain our reputation as a world-leading brand across various industries while keeping our family values. Our expansion projects in the Azerbaijani, US and Mexican markets are extremely important as a base to continue growing within those respective regions. In Mexico, for example, we have recently collaborated with a company that has operations all across South America. This was our first fiscal year, so we have a more complete idea of our numbers now. A major priority is expanding AEL’s operations in the state of Veracruz. However, the company is also setting its sights on Campeche, Tabasco, Tamaulipas and Mexico City. It furthermore plans to open a new HQ in Monterrey, creating dozens of jobs.
AEL, founded in 1981, is an international brand providing electrical products and services to the onshore, offshore, renewable, petrochemical, marine and industrial sectors.