Fleurot: Indonesia and the Philippines on MSL's expansion list

"A lot of the region is still very open to us," CEO tells PRWeek during China visit

Olivier Fleurot: MSL has experienced significant growth in Asia in recent years
Olivier Fleurot: MSL has experienced significant growth in Asia in recent years

Indonesia and the Philippines are among the top target locations for MSL Group to extend its operations across Asia, CEO Olivier Fleurot has told PRWeek.

The region now accounts for one-third of the firm’s business, up from around five percent six years ago, according to Fleurot.

Over the past five years the Publicis-owned company has focused on China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, but Fleurot said the company was "extremely pragmatic, practical and ready for any new opportunity" in Asian markets where it does not have its own operations.

It currently has affiliates in Indonesia (Cognito Communications) and the Phillipines (Dominguez Communications).

"There are just two countries where we don’t have our operations," he added. "A lot of the region is still open to us."

Fleurot pointed out there was no agenda of which countries to enter first, stating: "I won’t tell you in what order we can do that. We tried to work like that in the past but we were not happy enough with what we saw in those markets to make acquisitions. We always look at new markets on an ongoing basis until we find the right opportunity. Plus, as I always tell entrepreneurs, its their choice in the end to join us, I can’t force them."

Fleurot also said the company can't predict whether additional acquisition opportunities might come up in six months time. "My point is that we need to be extremely pragmatic, flexible and ready for any new opportunity," he said. "However, once we have made acquisitions we want to have sustainable, long-term organic growth for each of those operations."

MSL has been several major acquisitions in China over the past five years, snapping up Genedigi Group, King Harvests and Eastwei among others.

Fleurot, who was speaking during a visit to China, added the firm still saw significant scope for growth in the country despite the economic slowdown, insisting it would "invest more" and remain on the lookout for new opportunities.

"I am not worried at all," he said. "I believe this country has an amazing and powerful economic machine and this only the beginning."

An in-depth feature with Fleurot on MSL’s Asia strategy will appear on PRWeek Asia soon.

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