A container-load of shampoo from Stratford-upon-Avon-based manufacturer and wholesaler DCS Europe was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Libya last month.
CEO Denys Shortt said he received a call from the new Libyan authorities last week explaining the attack. They also informed him it was then used by rebel fighters to create a roadblock and had been hit by bullets and shrapnel.
The container, carrying around £20,000 worth of its Enliven brand, had been moved to a port in Misrata.
DCS has since recovered the shipment after a dispute over who had to pay for its storage. Very little of the stock was damaged.
“We told them it’s a bit unfair to charge us while a war is going on and when you used it to shield from bullets and missiles,” explained Shortt.
DCS has been supplying the Libyan market for 10 years and Shortt said trade had largely been unaffected by the uprising, which began in February. “Enliven is a significant brand in Libya and is currently number four in the market,” he said. “There is obviously still a need for soap and shampoo.”
Trade had been affected more widely in Egypt its largest export market during the turmoil there earlier in the year but Shortt said it had picked up strongly, and expected DCS to have sold more in the country by the end of the year than it did last year.
DCS also exports to Iraq, which Shortt admitted was a much more challenging market in terms of moving stock around the country.