Matéria – BNAmérica
‘2019 should be a year of sustained growth, with higher expectations for 2020’
Brazilian steel products distributor Açotubo, a 44-year old company headquartered in Guarulhos, São Paulo state, announced it is aiming to increase its stainless steel division’s turnover by 3% with a new line of stainless steel bars launched last week.
The new line is part of a company strategy to achieve its first billion reais gross revenues in 2019, according to a company executive. Açotubo projected revenue growth of 18-20% in 2018 to 900mn reais (US$241mn), compared to 750mn reais last year
On the political front, the company is positive about the October presidential election, and believes 2019 will be a year of sustained growth, with even higher expectations for 2020.
BNamericas spoke to Açotubo’s corporate executive manager Bruno Bassi about the new stainless steel bars line, investments and the political and economic outlook for Brazil.
BNamericas: The company said that the launch of the new stainless steel bars line was demanded by its customers. However, growth expectations for the steel market are a bit daunting, according to the industry association. How can you balance these two movements of supply and demand in the current economic circumstances?
Bassi: The group considers that the stainless steel bar move will be a challenge, as we’re a new entrant in a mature market.
By the end of last year, our expectations for 2018 were higher than the current ones, especially after the second fortnight of May To seek this balance, we bet on our differentials, such as well-trained teams, agility in deliveries through our logistics, our portfolio in relation to competitors and our financing plans. ln this way we seek to establish long-term relationships at various points of contact with our clients.
BNamericas: Complementing the first question, how is the supply of steel, and more specifically that of stainless steel?
Bassi: Specifically in the line of stainless steel, we’re currently being flooded by a lot of imported material, mostly stainless steel plates On this issue, we seek solutions together with our local supplier to combat imported material.
BNamericas: Is the group forecasting new investments for the medium and long terms in addition to that in the new stainless steel bars line?
Bassi: We’re not only investing in new lines, but adopting different strategies to achieve our first billion reais in gross revenues in 2019.
The strategies include investments in new equipment, trucks, points of sale, technology and most importantly, the training of employees.
One of the more recent movements is the restructuring process of the group’s sales area, where we split the commercial department into three regional areas – south, center and center-north. With this division, our goal is to meet the specific needs of customers by offering more customized packages and solutions.
We have a range of thousands of distinct customers per month and, with a regional vision and management, our sales team will offer a more customized portfolio and more accurate solutions in financial and logistical services, for example.
BNamericas: The company cites São Paulo and the southern states of Brazil as the main markets for the new line of stainless steel bars. Is it possible to increase the reach in Latin America? Which countries could receive the new products and which ones are already served by the company?
Bassi: Operating in the Latin American market, specifically for the stainless steel bars, will depend on our competitiveness in acquiring materiais and exchange costs.
However, we already operate in the region – Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, among others – through anchorage systems, which are solutions for foundations in the civil construction market.
BNamericas: Brazil’s current political landscape is very unstable, with strong repercussions for the economy How does the company expect the market to behave after the election of a new president? Do you see a possibility for improvements in the economic scenario?
06At this moment we can work only with expectations, and they are currently positive The next government will have to invest to develop or resume works and projects that are “shelved” to make the economy wheel spin ln this way, 2019 should be a year of sustained growth, with higher expectations for 2020. Maybe in the year 2019 we’II have to contrai our costs to maintain our competitiveness
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