MEPCO (Middle East Paper Company) and CEO Fadi Baaklini: Building a Transnational SME in the Middle East

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CASE STUDY. The case describes the career path of Lebanese businessman Fadi Baaklini and traces the evolution of MEPCO (Middle East Paper Company), the enterprise he founded with a partner in 1997.

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MEPCO (Middle East Paper Company) and CEO Fadi Baaklini: Building a Transnational SME in the Middle East: Abstract

MEPCO (Middle East Paper Company) and CEO Fadi Baaklini: Building a Transnational SME in the Middle East describes the career path of Lebanese businessman Fadi Baaklini and traces the evolution of MEPCO (Middle East Paper Company), the enterprise he founded with a partner in 1997. MEPCO started out selling paper and later became a paper trading company, operating in markets in the Middle East, North Africa, and India. After presenting Fadi Baaklini’s initial experiences as an entrepreneur and his early career in the timber industry and then the paper industry, the case focuses on MEPCO’s rapid growth into a successful paper brokerage and prosperous SME. In 2005, the company opened a sales office in Tunisia and a subsidiary in India. In 2006, Fadi Baaklini bought the shares of his business partner, becoming the sole owner of MEPCO. From 2006 to 2016, MEPCO continued to expand, opening new sales offices in Egypt and Lebanon. In 2017, MEPCO employed some thirty people and had over US$100 million in sales. Fadi Baaklini has decided to put his retirement plans on hold in order to launch a new partnership with a Canadian firm specializing in biodegradable chemicals. His plan is to export these products to India for use in waste-water treatment, as well as in the agricultural, pulp and paper, and poultry industries. He sees in this opportunity the potential to turn MEPCO into a multinational company generating billions of dollars in sales.

Teaching objectives

The case’s main teaching objective is to analyze an entrepreneurial approach in order to determine its strengths and weaknesses both for the entrepreneur/CEO and SME in the business context of the Middle East, a region that has received little attention in existing case studies. The specific objectives are as follows:

  • Analyze an entrepreneurial approach based on two frameworks: planning (or causation) and effectuation
  • Understand the organizational and strategic challenges facing a transnational SME and draw links with the strengths and weaknesses of the company’s owner and CEO
  • (for European and North American students) Foster a better understanding of the reality of markets in the Gulf region

Main themes covered

  • International business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Effectuation

Concepts and theories related to the case

  • Effectuation

Additional information

Teaching notes are available for teachers only. Please contact HEC Montreal Case Centre.

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