Climax aims for stationery control

Paper products and stationery manufacturer Climax International is to set up a joint venture with a local stationery supplier.

The joint venture, to be called Office Partners, will be owned by Climax's Easyfil division and a company called Stationery Store, the sole agent for brands such as Unistat, Rocada, Diamond and Filebank in Hong Kong.

Easyfil will hold 70 per cent of the new company, while Stationery Store will control 25 per cent.

The remaining 5 per cent will be in the hands of an independent shareholder.

The new company, which has a 20,000 square foot warehouse at Tai Po, will specialise in direct sales of stationery to offices.

Climax chairman and chief executive Kenneth Fung Kin-yuen said Office Partners would generate up to 10 per cent of the company's annual sales.

Mr Fung said the domestic stationery market had annual sales of about $2.4 billion, of which 70 per cent came from offices.

'The US stationery market has long been dominated by such big corporations as Office Depot and OfficeMax, which control over 45 per cent of the market,' he said. 'The trend is spreading to Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan.' He said the joint venture aimed to establish itself as Hong Kong's first office-supplier giant.

Mr Fung refused to disclose Climax's share of the office supplier's market in Hong Kong but said it was one of the eight largest, which between them controlled about 30 per cent of the market.

He said Climax planned to increase its 50 franchise stores in China to 200 this year.