Newly formed company Wet-Blue International, Argentina, are offering their clients value added procurement of processed and semi-processed leathers from Latin America. Founder Michael Rubinovitz will be using the knowledge and contacts built up over his career in the leather industry, including KT Trading and Sadesa, in this new venture.

Until September 2004 Michael Rubinovitz worked as sales and purchase manager for KT Trading in Switzerland. He had previously spent six years living in Asia and, before that, South America for a further six years. He initially maintained representation for Ecco’s wet-blue production out of Indonesia and Holland to a number of Asian countries as well as South America.

Rubinovitz discovered that there was a niche in the market for sourcing, quality control and logistical services for customers in Asia and Europe who were interested in purchasing Latin American raw materials. These companies needed someone with a knowledge of business culture in the region to handle these aspects for them.

Wet-blue International’s services were initially offered to those purchasing Argentine materials. The product range includes wet-blue hides, wet-blue splits, and crust leathers. The company now also work with suppliers in Uruguay and Chile and the service will soon be extended to Brazil.

Rubinovitz describes WBI’s USP: ‘Commodities in South America need to have proper exit controls before being shipped. Our service saves companies resources and ensures the product description agreed on and the batches to be shipped should match up exactly.’

In order to achieve this, WBI have their own team of three inspectors in Argentina and additional employees travelling to Uruguay and Brazil. Inspectors test samples from each batch and issue clients with an inspection report for every lot.

Rubinovitz explains ‘in light of the ‘just in time’ method of working which now prevails, customers do not want to hold inventories of raw materials which don’t suit product needs. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and precision of customer needs. We are open to working with all customers who require this type of service. This is a growing business for the future.’