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Costa Rica 2017 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Marco Garro, General Manager of Z GROUP, on the group's facility expansion plans, the make up of the companies it hosts, and how to attract more companies to the zones.

Marco Garro
BIOGRAPHY
Marco Garro has been the General Manager of Z GROUP since February 2015. He has more than 30 years of experience in the banking, investment banking, and construction industries. He has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Costa Rica and holds an MBA from Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas (INCAE).

What are the group's plans to expand operations and facilities in Costa Rica?

We operate three FTZs and the strategy varies in each one. In Cartago, for example, we have chosen to buy third-party warehouses and refurbish them. In Alajuela's FTZ, we identified an increasing demand for space in the industrial area, mainly due to logistical growth in the area. This demand comes especially from foreign companies. In Alajuela's FTZ, we have focused on large warehouse facilities due to the strategic location in the Pacific corridor, as well as proximity to key infrastructure points in the country. For example, we recently completed a deal for a 3,500sqm warehouse and have plans to develop a new 12,000sqm warehouse in 2017. We see great potential in Heredia's FTZ for the near future and have ambitious plans in terms of new warehouses. Besides, from an innovation and technological point of view, there is definitely potential in the area. For example, this new warehouse we plan to build will represent a turning point in terms of innovation and technological services among our facilities. We are currently holding talks with a company producing medical devices, as well as with other companies from the logistics industry. We plan to develop four new warehousing modules in this FTZ.

How is your portfolio of companies in your FTZs divided, and what are the main markets they export to?

Multinational companies mainly from Europe and the US operate in our industrial parks. These two markets are the main exporting points for our partner companies. Other firms also export to Asia and exports to Central America and the Caribbean are strong too. There are plenty of local companies operating in our industrial parks, close to 70 associated companies. We have a diverse profile of companies operating in these industrial parks, as well as a number of local manufacturers that are not subject to the conditions of the FTZs and operate mainly in the food and distribution sectors. We also have to highlight the role of the highly-skilled Costa Rican workforce in all these developments, which is crucial for achieving successful operations.

What strategy is the company implementing to attract new companies?

We identified the medical devices sector as one of the key industries for our operations. We also understood that the metalworking industry is among the most attractive for our operations, given its special focus on several segments such as aerospace. Finally, the plastic injection industry is one of the main focuses for growth in our FTZs. In terms of attracting companies to our industrial parks, we have partnered with CINDE, which is a private organization with a public objective. CINDE has been labeled as one of the best agencies in the world in terms of attracting foreign investment. We also work alongside Procomer Costa Rica. Additionally, we do our own promotion with tools such as our own magazine and by being present in chambers of commerce and other relevant organizations.

What are the main priorities for Z GROUP in 2017?

We want to further consolidate and grow our activity in the previously mentioned sectors, partnering with strategic companies to enable them to take their operations to the next level. The development of the 12,000sqm warehouse is one of our top priorities for 2017, too. We believe this facility will represent a turning point in our activities and development. We have achieved a great deal of recognition at the local level for our efforts to contribute to the development of Costa Rica and we ought to continue this way. For example, in 2015 Cadexco recognized us for our continued exporting efforts after over 30 years of activity in Costa Rica. Moreover, FDI magazine, which belongs to the Financial Times Group, recently recognized the Cartago Industrial Park as the best FTZ in Central America of the year 2016.

 

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