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LBC eyes Indonesia, Vietnam markets

MANILA, Philippines - Soon-to-be-listed firm LBC Express Inc. of the Araneta family said it expects to enter two new Asian markets next year as it continues to steer its way toward becoming a global brand.

In an interview, LBC senior vice president for the Philippines and the Asia Pacific Oliver Valentin told The STAR the company intends to expand its services to Indonesia and Vietnam by next year.

“Our target is those countries with large overseas workers, not necessarily overseas Filipino workers. The goal is for LBC to become a global brand and not just for Filipinos,” Valentin said.

The express courier services firm currently provides services to 23 countries worldwide, namely, Australia, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, Saipan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and USA.

“Expect LBC to expand internationally. We are also seeing a huge potential in the Middle East area. We are just new in that market so we have high hopes there,” Valentin said.

LBC currently has over 3,600 branches globally, 1,170 of which are located in the Philippines.

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In the country alone, Valentin said the company is targeting to open about 100 branches annually over the near term.

“The target of 100 branches will be a combination of physical branches and access which includes agents and partners. However, we’re starting to diversify in different models. The online model, for one, may replace some of our branches. But there are still markets like those in provinces which really want to see a physical branch,” he said.

Valentin said company investment for the construction of a single LBC branch is about P1 million at present.

LBC sources 75 percent of its revenues from its cargo business while the remaining 25 percent comes from money remittance services.

Valentin said LBC’s presence in the cargo business has remained strong, consistently growing by about 20 percent annually in terms of revenues.

However, the LBC official aired some concern when it comes to its money remittance business given the increasing competition locally.

“The challenge here is everybody is going into money remittance. Before it was just us. The threat started when the pawnshops tried getting into the market. When they put up their branches, they offered services that cater to the same market that we cater as well. So there are plenty of challenges in the money segment of the business. But in terms the cargo segment, we are not worried because we still have 80 percent of the market,” he said.

Recently, companies like Puregold of retail tycoon Lucio Co and conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures have also joined the money remittance business.

LBC is set to join the country’s stock market this year through a backdoor listing via shell firm Federal Resources Investment Group Inc.

LBC was founded in the 1950s as a brokerage and air cargo agent and has now become the largest express courier, cargo and money remittance service firm in the Philippines.


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