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Wapro helps protect U.S. cities against flooding

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Water supply, sewage and sanitation company Wapro’s products are already used by most municipalities and sewage organisations in Sweden. With the help of Business Sweden, Wapro has established a local presence on the U.S. market to provide its solutions to flood-prone areas around New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Washington.

Wapro, headquartered in Karlshamn, is a leading supplier of products to the water supply, sewage and sanitation industry. When Wapro contacted Business Sweden, its products were mainly sold through distributors in the U.S. without contracts. Wapro, however, wanted to explore other alternatives to optimize its business in the U.S. market. The company’s long-term objectives were to increase sales and establish a network of distributors for gaining market share in flood-prone areas of the U.S.

Screening the market to find key partners

Business Sweden initiated the research by comparing Wapro’s current geographic locations with the U.S. market in order to screen the most relevant geographical areas and develop a sales strategy. Business Sweden’s analysis showed that the market required a local presence and relationships with manufacturer’s representatives. Wapro needed to meet with various industry representatives in order to gain insight on how best to approach the market. Business Sweden helped Wapro set up a visiting program with key distributors in cities such as New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore and New Orleans.

A Trial and Error Approach

After signing up and working with its first U.S. distributor for a few years, the company realised that it had yet to reach its full potential. Though the distributor agreement was initially promising, Wapro realised that they could build higher sales and increase growth if they switched to a different business model in the U.S. and employed local staff.

“As Swedish people, we can be very naive in signing agreements. You have to really work with it. You cannot expect that the external partners, like distributors, will care as much about your product as you do,” says Torgny Larsson, CEO of Wapro. After further research and due diligence, Torgny and his team decided to move the entire sales process in-house and reinvest in the American market with a new focus, so they turned again to Business Sweden.

A "Flashlight in the dark"

In addition to helping Wapro throughout its reorganization process, Business Sweden has acted a key partner for administration and book keeping. “Business Sweden has provided us with a sense of safety, which might sound trivial to some, but it has been priceless for us,” says Torgny. Wapro and Business Sweden are in touch on a monthly basis, maintaining strong advisory ties.

“Our hopes are to stay in touch and maintain our strong relation with Business Sweden. You have a vast knowledge and experience that we would love to be able to use in the future.” Torgny adds, “Business Sweden has acted as our flashlight in the dark and has done it very well”

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Mats Shore

Project Manager New York Project Manager, New York
+1 212 507 9002