Elaine Watson
Online exchange Transora has denied reports it is pulling the plug on its European operations.
Launched in 2000 with the backing of 50 of the world's leading manufacturers including arch-rivals Coke and Pepsi, and Unilever and P&G, Transora promised to revolutionise the global supply chain with a raft of web tools. However, sources close to the Chicago company said its Amsterdam office was closing, while cutbacks had been made in the US leaving just over 40 full-time staff ­ fewer than half the original number.
However, chief executive Judy Sprieser told The Grocer things were progressing according to plan. "We are emphatically not throwing in the towel in Europe. We are growing our headcount in Europe and focusing on the UK, France and Germany. Data synchronisation is the key factor driving exchanges and I think most people would agree that in this field, we have a clear lead."
Transora was in advanced discussions with fellow exchange WWRE about a possible merger, said Sprieser, but "significant challenges" prevented a tie-up at this stage.
A lack of funds had not prompted the talks, she stressed. "We are not short of money."
In 2001 Transora launched a data catalogue that was expected to become the key repository of product data from all the top suppliers.
An alliance with fellow exchange GNX enabling GNX members like Sainsbury to access Transora's catalogue was seen as proof exchanges were not duplicating services but developing complementary products.

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