Brazil: Portugal’s Sonae group seeks to expand business in Brazil

23 July 2008

Sao Paulo, Brazil, 23 July – Portugal’s Sonae conglomerate wants to widen its insurance broker services in Brazil via acquisitions and will also supply its European retail network with Brazilian products this year, CEO Paulo Azevedo has said.

Sonae began business in Brazil in 1989 and the company’s plans for the Latin American country aim to make it the conglomerate operating in the most sectors and with strong a presence in Europe as a manager of shopping malls, and at a global level as a manufacturer of wood-based panels, or Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF).

“We are most known in Brazil for retail activity, but we are active in various sectors,” said Azevedo, cited by business journal Valor Economico, adding that before becoming head of the company last year he had been in charge of the group’s telecoms and IT division.

Azevedo said he wanted to extend the partnership with the Feffer business family, owners of the Suzano pulp factory and his partner in Brazil’s Lazam-MDS insurance company.

Investments of 35 million euros in Lazam-MDS are planned for 2008 and the priority is to buy other insurance correctors and operate in the area of reinsurance, said Azevedo.

Sonae has also started a company in Sao Paulo to buy Brazilian products to supply its retail network. This is the third trading venture undertaken by the firm after similar operations in Hong Kong and India.

In Brazil, Sonae Sierra owns nine shopping malls and another three will open this year. The Portuguese company’s biggest earner in Brazil is Tafibras, owner of the Tafisa MDF plant in Paraná state, which in 2007 posted a turnover of 410.7 million reais and net profits of 60.1 million reais. (macauhub)