Portuguese construction companies in Angolan not concerned with competition from China

9 October 2006

Luanda, Angola, 09 Oct – The main Portuguese construction companies operating in Angola do not feel threatened by Chinese contractors entering the market, and put forward the quality of their work as the main weapon they use in fighting increased competition.

“China entering the market has not affected our project portfolio,” Heitor Ferro of Mota/Engil, which ahs been in the Angolan market for around 60 years, told Portuguese news agency Lusa.

The Luanda International Airport, the Luanda Racing Track, Cabinda Hospital, Lubango/Namibe road, Viana Penitenciary complex and the Mário Santiago Stadium, as well as a number of bridges, dams and roads all over the country are some of the main projects the company has built.

Mota/Engil currently has important projects underway, such as the Huambo/Cuito road, the Benguela/Lobito route and the refurbishment of the Praia do Bispo area in Luanda.

The potential of the Portuguese construction sector will be exhibited between October 18 and 22 at the IV Constrói Angola fair, a specialized exhibition due to be held at the facilities of the Luanda International Fair (FILDA).

The fair will have around 200 exhibitors, with Portugal being the foreign country with most representation, including its own exhibition area promoted by Portuguese industrial and business associations, AEP and AIP and export promotion agency, ICEP.

The Angolan construction sector has undergone great change over the last few months due to Chinese companies moving in and bringing thousands of workers with them, following a US$2 billion loan provided to Angola by China’s Eximbank.

“The arrival of the Chinese had a certain impact, but did not affect our activity, mainly because they do not deal much with our type of projects,” said a source from Soares da Costa, a company that is currently building developments such as the Esso Towers and oil company Sonangol’s headquarters in Luanda.

Angola is the main foreign market for Saores da Costa, which began working there in 1980.

The situation for OPCA is a little different as the Portuguese builder has missed out on some projects to Chinese companies but, according to Salomé Sobral, the low quality of work by the Chinese companies will quickly lead to the situation changing.

;In terms of public works, the Chinese presence has led to us losing some work but, because of their low quality, they will soon begin calling on Portuguese companies again to deal with repairs,” she said.

OPCA, which has been in Angola since 1992, has carried out projects such as the BESA headquarters, the new Portuguese School in Luanda and Lubango Hospital, as well as taking part in the refurbishment of the Benguela railroad.

The quality issue was also highlighted by Luís Fontes, of Edifer, for whom the Chinese companies “are not much competition, as they don’t offer much quality.”

He said however that “there is room for everyone,” in the Angolan market, which Edifer moved into just three years ago.

Conduril has already felt the effect of competition from China as it is more focused on building roads and bridges, an area which Chinese companies have also been focusing on in Angola.

“We have felt some impact from Chinese companies entering the market because many road construction projects have been given to them,” said Ligio Mourão.

Conduril currently has projects underway in Angola such as the bridges of the Daned and Keve rivers and the refurbishment of roads in Libongo, in Bengo province. (macauhub)