Howard Grant: increasing the level of involvement with merchant members.

Unimer acquires stake in online trading business

Published:  07 September, 2010

WEST SUSSEX: United Merchants' acquisition of a 10% equity stake in the online trading business eBuildingSupplies, is part of Unimer's strategy to offer its members new business opportunities and routes to market.

Said Howard Grant, Unimer's managing director: "Electronic trading represents a growth area for our members and eBuildingSupplies fits our requirements perfectly and provides a solution offering real benefits."

The business advertises building materials online nationally, but the supply of products is sub-contracted to a network of regionally-based builders' merchants around the country.

"All of the existing merchant suppliers are already Unimer members and the aim of Unimer's involvement is to increase the level of involvement with our merchant membership so that a comprehensive national supply network develops that can respond competitively to all enquiries generated by the trading portal. Unimer members will have exclusive access to these trading opportunities for a minimum period of 12 months," Mr Grant said.

Unimer's investment in the business is limited to the provision of book-keeping services and marketing services.

eBuildingSupplies (EBS) charges the participating merchants a commission for the services provided and these charges will be invoiced to merchant members through the Unimer invoice clearing service like any other supplier.

"Procurement for Housing was Unimer's first and successful attempt to help secure marketing opportunities and additional sales business for our merchant members," said Mr Grant.

"EBS now represents our second initiative aimed at developing further trading opportunities for our members. We are continuing to explore further opportunities to develop the Unimer business model in this way to deliver real business benefits to our merchant members."

Unimer is also getting involved in the self-build and home renovating sector and will be promoting its membership to that market at the forthcoming Home Improvement Show at Earls Court, London on 1-3 October.

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