MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN

RAMSES ARROUB

 

Africa, service and expertise: a steadfast, century-old vision

 

Optorg started out in international business nearly a century ago. Initially spread across a wide range of different markets, the Group later decided to hone its focus by becoming an expert in specialized distribution in Africa. Optorg has now represented major vehicle and technical equipment manufacturers for several decades, providing service with high value-added. During this time, the Group has supported the growth of both Caterpillar and Mercedes-Benz in Africa and taken part in some of the continent’s milestone projects, such as the Trans-Gabon Railway, which has played a major role in the region’s social and economic development.

 

A hundred years on, our cornerstones remain the same: Africa, service and expertise. We continue to build on this founding project, backed by our experience and the support of our shareholder, Al Mada, Morocco’s top investment fund, which has targeted Africa as a strategic priority. We aim to continue working with a collaborative mindset, bringing together and training leading experts to spur on our partner manufacturers’ and customers’ development in Africa.

 

We are about to enter a new era. Africa has become the new frontier of economic development and our businesses, which have deep roots nearly a century old, are set to achieve promising growth for our customers, our partners and the people who benefit from the end service provided by the Group:

  • In infrastructure, where we support construction.
  • In mining, where Africa holds some 30% of the world’s reserves but still represents only 10% of extraction.
  • In energy, where a demographic boom is expected to further heighten needs, which are already enormous.
  • In transportation.

COMPLIANCE

DOWNLOAD OUR ETHICS CHARTER

Optorg cares just as much about the means used to achieve its goals as the goals themselves. The Group has established an ethics charter that reflects this strong belief, which sets forth the principles that all employees must follow in their daily work – including respect for others, compliance with trade rules and regulations, and respect for company property – as well as an initiative designed to ensure that these rules are known, understood and followed.

Optorg operates in countries that can face difficult conditions, requiring close coordination between compliance officers and operational staff on an ongoing basis. We developed our organization and compliance program to provide support to our teams in their daily work and ensure they reach their targets the right way.

Organization

Optorg has a three-tiered compliance organization:

  • The Ethics Committee, which comprises the members of the Board of Directors, the Compliance Manager, and the Audit and Internal Control Manager, oversees application of the Code of Business Conduct.
  • The Compliance Manager, who reports to the Chairman of the Board, implements the compliance management system, while also supporting, advising and listening to Group employees and other stakeholders.
  • Local compliance liaisons relay Group initiatives to each subsidiary and serve as an initial point of contact for the compliance issues that may arise in each country.
Compliance program

Our compliance program is founded upon systematic risk analysis across the entire company and all its subsidiaries. Following this analysis, we define the measures that need to be implemented to ensure compliance with the law and minimize risks. Another key component of our compliance program is guaranteeing the integrity of our partners and associates. We believe that acting with integrity and complying with regulations is absolutely vital to establishing trust-based relationships over the long term.

Whistle-blower policy

Our employees may encounter complex situations that require outside advice. To ensure they receive the support they need, we foster a trust-based environment with open lines of communication enabling everyone to share their perspective and concerns. Employees are free to speak with their line managers, compliance liaisons or the Group Compliance Manager. Ethics is an issue that concerns everyone at the company, which is why our employees and outside stakeholders alike can call our hotline to report situations involving an ethics risk.

Download the whistle-blower guide

KEY DATES

Optorg’s history began in 1919, when the business was founded by a group of entrepreneurs in the textile industry seeking to develop trade with Russia. The Russian Revolution forced the company to shift its focus to Asia, where it developed a trading business specialized in textiles, equipment goods, agrifood and more. The Indochina War would later impel the company to refocus again, this time on Africa, which has been Optorg’s central marketplace ever since.

1919

Start of trade in Russia

A group of French entrepreneurs in the textile industry seeking to expand into Russia founds Compagnie Optorg. The company’s name is derived from the Russian term for “wholesale business”: “Optovaia torgovlia”.

1920-1940

Growth in Asia

The Group expands its textile, equipment goods, agrifood and other businesses in Asia, primarily in China, Indochina and Malaysia. In the 1940s, Optorg ranks among the top five trading companies in Indochina.

1947

Arrival in Central Africa

Optorg takes its first steps in Africa: the group acquires a controlling interest in Société du Haut-Ogooué (SHO), a dealer of construction equipment, forestry equipment, automobiles and hardware in Central Africa.

1955

Arrival in West Africa

Optorg continues its development in Africa: the group acquires a controlling interest in Établissements Ch. Peyrissac, an automotive and motorcycle distributor, and industrial equipment and hardware importer in West Africa.

1960-1980

Specialization in Africa

Optorg consolidates its positions in Africa by establishing locally incorporated companies. The Group winds down its business in Asia, where major geopolitical conflicts are unfolding.

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Optorg decided to move on from its early days as a general trader and specialize in two core businesses. Its first area of expertise is equipment, a business that the Group developed through the acquisition of Tractafric, a company that had represented Caterpillar in Africa since 1932. The partnership with CAT gradually expanded and now covers 10 countries in Central Africa and Morocco. Meanwhile, the Group formed partnerships with specialist manufacturers in order to strengthen its portfolio in a targeted way.

1932

Partnership formed with Caterpillar

Caterpillar contracts Traction Africaine de Débardage (now Tractafric) to represent the brand in the French colonies of Equatorial Africa (now the Congo, Gabon, Chad and Central African Republic) and Cameroon. Tractafric is acquired in 1937 by Société du Haut-Ogooué (SHO), which, in turn, is acquired by Optorg in 1947.

1992

Expansion of partnership with Caterpillar

Caterpillar selects Tractafric as its representative in Morocco.

1996

Partnership with Manitou

Manitou, the world leader in all-terrain forklifts, selects Tractafric as its representative in Central Africa.

2002

Partnership with Perkins

Perkins, a specialist in industrial Diesel motors, selects Tractafric as its representative in Central Africa and Morocco.

2003

Expansion of partnership with Caterpillar

Caterpillar selects Tractafric as its representative in Rwanda, DRC and Burundi.

2005

Partnership with Hyster

Hyster, a specialist in handling equipment, selects Tractafric as its representative in Central Africa and Morocco.

2009

Partnership with Sullair

Sullair, a specialist in compressed-air systems, selects Tractafric as its representative in Central Africa and Morocco.

2014

Partnership with Terex Powerscreen

Terex Powerscreen, a specialist in mobile crushing and screening equipment, selects Tractafric as its representative in Central Africa and Morocco.

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Optorg’s second pillar is automobile distribution, a longstanding business that has steadily grown since 1992, when Tractafric became the exclusive official dealer of Mercedes-Benz industrial vehicles in several African countries. The partnership with Mercedes-Benz VI has developed over the years and now covers 23 countries – nearly half of the African continent. The Group has also formed distribution agreements with various other passenger and industrial vehicle manufacturers, to support their development in Africa.

1992

Partnership formed with Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz selects Tractafric to distribute industrial vehicles in the Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic.

2002

Expansion of partnership with Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz selects Tractafric to distribute industrial vehicles in the DRC.

2007

Expansion of partnership with Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz selects Tractafric to distribute passenger vehicles in Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, the DRC, Chad and West Africa.

2007

Partnership with Renault

Renault selects Tractafric to distribute industrial vehicles in Cameroon and the DRC.

2009

Expansion of partnership with Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz selects Tractafric to distribute industrial vehicles in West Africa (excluding Côte d’Ivoire): Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

2009

Partnership with Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi selects Tractafric to distribute passenger vehicles in Cameroon, Chad, Congo and the DRC.

2009

Partnership with Ford

Ford selects Tractafric to distribute passenger vehicles in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and the DRC, and industrial vehicles in Côte d’Ivoire.

2010

Partnership with Fuso

Fuso selects Tractafric to distribute its vehicles in 10 countries: Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea.

2011

Development of automobile trading business

Tractafric Motors develops its automobile trading business under the Autoredo trade name. The subsidiary, which serves as a complement to the Group’s local distribution operations, specializes in international direct sales of new vehicles, parts and accessories from a range of brands.

2011

Partnership with MCV

MCV selects Tractafric to distribute its buses in Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the DRC and Gabon, as well as in West Africa.

2011

Partnership with Hyundai

Hyundai selects Tractafric to distribute its passenger and industrial vehicles in Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Chad, Niger and CAR.

2014

Partnership with Nissan

Nissan selects Tractafric to distribute its passenger vehicles in the DRC, Gabon and Chad, and its industrial vehicles in the DRC and Gabon.

2014-2015

Partnership with Isuzu

Isuzu selects Tractafric to distribute its trucks (2014) and pick-ups (2015) in Morocco.

2016

Expansion of partnership with Fuso

Fuso selects Tractafric to distribute its vehicles in seven new countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger, Rwanda, Togo and Sierra Leone.

2016

Expansion of partnership with Mercedes-Benz and MCV

Tractafric becomes an official importer and distributor of Mercedes-Benz industrial vehicles and passenger vehicles and MCV buses in Côte d’Ivoire.

 

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GOVERNANCE

Optorg has opted for a dual governance structure comprising the Supervisory Board and the Board of Directors. An Executive Committee also provides guidance with regard to operational management.

SUPERVISORY BOARD
The Supervisory Board meets quarterly to ensure the company is running smoothly and report to shareholders.
Hassan Ouriagli
Chairman of the Optorg Supervisory Board
Chairman and CEO, SNI
Aymane Taud
Vice-Chairman of the Optorg Supervisory Board
Managing Director, SNI
Noufissa Kessar
Member of the Optorg Supervisory Board
Executive Director, SNI
Hicham Chebihi Hassani
Member of the Optorg Supervisory Board
Partner and Chairman, Atlas Capital
Mohamed El Kettani
Member of the Optorg Supervisory Board
Chairman and CEO, Attijariwafa Bank
BANK HOTTINGUER
Member of the Optorg Supervisory Board
ONA INTERNATIONAL
Member of the Optorg Supervisory Board
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors, Optorg's management body, meets as often as required by the needs of the company. The Board helps define and implement the company's strategy, in accordance with the policy directions set by the Supervisory Board.
RAMSES ARROUB
Chairman of the Board of Directors

A graduate of France’s Corps des Mines, Ramses Arroub began his career as an auditor at Arthur Andersen and went on to work in higher education. In 2000, he moved to Morocco, where he served as General Secretary at the investment bank CFG, and later as Deputy Managing Director of CNA Assurance, before being named CEO and Chairman of Wafa Assurance in 2007. Ramses Arroub was appointed as Chairman of the Optorg Board of Directors in December 2014.

Khalid Jennane
Member of the Board of Directors
Managing Director, Optorg

A graduate of Ecole Centrale de Paris who also holds an MBA from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Khalid Jennane began his career as an engineer in the hydraulics industry. He went on to join Crown Cork & Seal, a world leader in metal packaging, managing the company’s Moroccan factory. In 2004, he took on a role at Sopriam, Peugeot and Citroën’s exclusive distributor in Morocco, as Parts and Services Director and later Peugeot Brand Director. In 2008, he accepted a position at the retail group Marjane to create and develop Electroplanet, a brand specializing in household appliances and consumer electronics. In 2016, he was appointed Deputy Managing Director of the supermarket chain Acima. In 2018, Jennane joined Optorg as a member of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of the Group.

Othman Douiri
Member of the Board of Directors
Managing Director, Tractafric Equipment

Othman Douiri, a business school graduate, began his career in investment banking, in 1999. In 2005, he joined Sogecap’s Moroccan subsidiary as Head of Solutions for Major Companies, Financing Organizations and Asset Investors. In 2007, he took on a role overseeing the development strategy at Saham, before joining Somed in 2010, where he opened and then managed Maserati’s Moroccan dealership. Othman Douiri joined Optorg in September 2016 as General Secretary and a member of the Board of Directors. In October 2018, he was appointed Managing Director of Tractafric Equipment.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee comprises senior management from the Group’s operational and functional departments, who meet monthly to oversee business operations, with a focus on monitoring targets and results.
RAMSES ARROUB
Chairman of the Board of Directors

A graduate of France’s Corps des Mines, Ramses Arroub began his career as an auditor at Arthur Andersen and went on to work in higher education. In 2000, he moved to Morocco, where he served as General Secretary at the investment bank CFG, and later as Deputy Managing Director of CNA Assurance, before being named CEO and Chairman of Wafa Assurance in 2007. Ramses Arroub was appointed as Chairman of the Optorg Board of Directors in December 2014.

Khalid Jennane
Member of the Board of Directors
Managing Director, Optorg

A graduate of Ecole Centrale de Paris who also holds an MBA from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Khalid Jennane began his career as an engineer in the hydraulics industry. He went on to join Crown Cork & Seal, a world leader in metal packaging, managing the company’s Moroccan factory. In 2004, he took on a role at Sopriam, Peugeot and Citroën’s exclusive distributor in Morocco, as Parts and Services Director and later Peugeot Brand Director. In 2008, he accepted a position at the retail group Marjane to create and develop Electroplanet, a brand specializing in household appliances and consumer electronics. In 2016, he was appointed Deputy Managing Director of the supermarket chain Acima. In 2018, Jennane joined Optorg as a member of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of the Group.

Othman Douiri
Member of the Board of Directors
Managing Director, Tractafric Equipment

Othman Douiri, a business school graduate, began his career in investment banking, in 1999. In 2005, he joined Sogecap’s Moroccan subsidiary as Head of Solutions for Major Companies, Financing Organizations and Asset Investors. In 2007, he took on a role overseeing the development strategy at Saham, before joining Somed in 2010, where he opened and then managed Maserati’s Moroccan dealership. Othman Douiri joined Optorg in September 2016 as General Secretary and a member of the Board of Directors. In October 2018, he was appointed Managing Director of Tractafric Equipment.

François Piraux
Deputy Managing Director


François Piraux joined Optorg in 1986 as an internal auditor and has led a successful career within the group in financial and auditing positions. Appointed Head of Accounting and Consolidation in 1989, then Head of Internal Audit and Consolidation in 1993, he then went on to hold a variety of management positions from 2005: Chief Financial Officer of Tractafric (2005), Director of Management Control at Tractafric (2009), Chief Financial Officer of Tractafric Equipment (2011) and Director reporting directly to the Chairman of the Board of Directors (2012). He was appointed Group Director of Management Control in 2015. He was promoted to Deputy Managing Director in 2018 and became a member of the Optorg Executive Committee.

Paolo Bossi
Managing Director, Tractafric Motors

Paolo Bossi has an automotive background, in positions with both automakers and distributors, from which he has gained extensive knowledge of sales, long-term rentals and service-shop management. Early on in his career, Paolo Bossi served as International Fleet Sales Director at Fiat and Fleet & Remarketing General Manager at Hyundai Europe. In 2009, he took the helm of Hyundai Motors Algeria, and in 2012 was appointed to head Elsecom Automotive Group, a distributor of Ford, Kia, Suzuki, Daewoo, Isuzu and Tata vehicles in Algeria. Paolo Bossi joined Optorg in January 2017 as Managing Director of Tractafric Motors Côte d’Ivoire. He was named Managing Director of Tractafric Motors in July 2017.

Nicolas Merer
Deputy Managing Director, Tractafric Equipment

A graduate of the French Naval Academy who also holds a Master’s Degree in Finance from ESSEC Business School, Nicolas Merer began his career as a naval officer. In 2008, he joined Hastings Deering, a Caterpillar dealer in Australia (QLD and NT), Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia, where he served as Financial Director and later Managing Director of the New Caledonian subsidiary, Caltrac. In 2011, Nicolas Merer was hired by Bergerat Monnoyeur, where he led the company’s Algerian and later Polish subsidiaries. Following a spell at WestTrac, a CAT dealer in Australia, Nicolas Merer joined Optorg in 2017 as Managing Director of Tractafric Equipment France and Deputy Managing Director of Tractafric Equipment Corporation.

Thérence Gnembou
Managing Director of Tractafric Equipment Gabon, Tractafric Motors Regional Director for Gabon, Congo and DRC

Thérence Gnembou holds a postgraduate degree in Internal Audit. He began his career in 1997, in charge of Audit and Management Control at CECA GADIS—a former Optorg subsidiary and leading retailer in Gabon. In 2002, he became Director of Management Control at Castel in Gabon. Thérence Gnembou started working at Optorg headquarters in 2007, where he successively served as Tractafric Motors’ Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Director of Internal Audit and later as Director of Management Control, before returning to Gabon as the subsidiary’s Managing Director. He was appointed Regional Director of Tractafric Motors for Gabon, Congo and the DRC in 2017. In 2018 he was also named Managing Director of Tractafric Equipment Gabon.

Philippe Lemasson
Human Resources Director

Philippe Lemasson holds a postgraduate degree in Human Resources & Labor Law. He started his career at an engineering school and later went on to work at Vivendi. Philippe Lemasson is a specialist in providing guidance to organizations undergoing strong growth, transformation, and structural change. He also has extensive experience in international human resources management, with a focus on Africa. Philippe Lemasson joined Optorg as Director of Human Resources in June 2012.