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Sealing the deal: Tupperware empowers women across the globe

In the U.S., the Tupperware brand still carries a whiff of nostalgia from its association with 1950s housewives and home parties. In many other countries, though, the company has become a symbol of modern women — helping them build their own businesses and take care of their families and themselves.

Today, Tupperware Brands makes only 14% of its sales in North America. “We are not an American company expanding internationally,” says Rick Goings, the company’s CEO and chairman. “We are a global company that just happens to have its headquarters in Florida.”

Tupperware has been selling outside the U.S. since the 1960s, beginning with Europe, Japan and Australia and expanding into Latin America during the 1970s. During the past decade, its business has shifted from 65% established markets to 65% emerging markets, with countries like Indonesia and China leading growth. One thing that hasn’t changed: Its sales model of mainly female independent distributors selling to other women through social or family relationships. Over the years, the company has capitalized on the distribution networks it established in new countries to introduce new brands, including those for beauty and personal care.

The company entered Bangladesh and Vietnam during the past year, using the same formula that it has used in nearly every international market — hiring and training locals in corporate leadership positions and focusing on the idea of empowering women. (Today, 40% of its leadership worldwide is female, as is 99% of its 2.9 million sales force.)

The focus on empowering women has helped smooth Tupperware’s path with governments often unfriendly toward outside capitalism. It also has given rise to something known as “the Tupperware effect” — creating successful women business owners who feel confident enough to start changing their family and their community.

Tupperware faces risks as it places most of its future emphasis on emerging markets and female distributors. Currency fluctuations, a slowdown in middle- class growth and political or cultural changes that are unfriendly toward the idea of women running their own businesses all could turn successful markets into impossible ones.

As of early May, the stock price was hovering around $83 a share — close to the same price as April 2013, after peaking in December 2013 at $93. “Tupperware not only has good growth prospects going forward, but also offers good valuation and growing dividends,” says analyst Chuck Carnevale, creator of F. A.S.T. graphs and a regular contributor to Seekingalpha.com. “The company is likely to continue growing at high above average rates, based on factors like product innovation and its established presence in emerging markets.”


Singapore Spotlight

Hoping to Strengthen Ties

While Singapore is not a major trading partner of Florida, the state is hoping a September export sales mission there and to Malaysia will help increase ties with both of those nations.

Singapore is a 255-squaremile nation of 5.3 million people. It is a top global logistics hub, the secondbusiest seaport in the world both by containers and tonnage moved, the world’s fourth-most-popular tourist destination and its 11th-busiest air cargo hub. It levies duties on less than 1% of all imports and has very few trade barriers. With its central location in Asia, the nation has become an important shipping hub.

Singapore is the No. 32 destination for Florida-origin exports and No. 41 overall for exports. In 2013, $420.8 million of Florida-origin exports went to Singapore, a drop of 17.4% from 2012. That drop came after several years of double-digit growth in exports to the Asian nation. The top Florida-origin exports to Singapore last year were aircraft, engines and parts. Close behind that were telecom-related items such as phones and fax machines. Florida also serves as a shipping hub for items imported for repair and then re-exported to Singapore.


Country Briefs

CANADA – Miami-based metal and metal composite developer Abakan received $2.75 million from Canadian government agencies to develop and test a prototype for wear-resistant pipes that can be used to move oil and gas products. The company partnered with Canada’s Northern Alberta Institute of Technology on the project, which will take place in the nation’s Alberta Oil Sands.

CHILE – The United States added Chile to the U.S. visa waiver program, which lets eligible holders of Chilean passports enter the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa. Chile is the frst Latin American nation in the program, which includes 37 countries.

CHINA – Enterprise Florida opened its frst Chinese offces, in Hong Kong and Shanghai. The offces will focus on helping Florida businesses expand sales in China and on bringing foreign direct investment by Chinese companies to the state. China is the state’s third-largest merchandise trade partner. More than 200,000 Chinese tourists visit Florida annually. > Massachusetts-based International Forest Products is now using JaxPort to export southern yellow pine logs to China for use as lumber. The products comes from Mississippi-based American Log Handlers, which logs in southeast Georgia and expanded to northeastern Florida in November of last year.

PERU – Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is expanding its Olive Garden chain into Peru in a partnership with Peruvian restaurant developer Delosi Group, which will manage the restaurants. > Latin America-focused, Miami-based investment bank Advanced Capital Securities acquired the 25-employee Andes Securities SAFI, a Peruvian brokerage and investment fund manager, for an undisclosed sum. The deal brings Advanced Capital Securities about 2,000 new clients.

PUERTO RICO – Miami-based accounting frm Appelrouth Farah & Co. Opened an offce in Puerto Rico, its frst outside Florida, to serve clients in South and Central American and the Caribbean and in its international taxation division.

SPAIN – The Marine Industries Association of South Florida and Spain’s Barcelona Nautical Cluster agreed to a regional alliance that will see the two associations work together to increase ties between the marine industries in both regions, collaborate on training and education and exchange information.

LAW – Law frm Bryan Cave opened an offce in Miami to lead its international arbitration and dispute resolutions practice.

TECH – London-based Feynlabs, which developed a book and course (for both teachers and children) to teach children how to code, launched its global expansion from a new Miami location.