How did the company enter the Portuguese market, and what were its most important milestones?
EMANUEL FREITAS OZ Energia's business is centered on the development, licensing, and centralization of bottled gas. Its main goal was to consolidate the current business and determine a set of variables when it comes to the autonomy of purchasing. We started a study to acquire other companies that would deliver this opportunity to us. We acquired a significant participation in the group in order to have two terminals and gain autonomy to import LPG, while simultaneously launching other activities to diversify our products. We are also working on changing our way of doing business and making an effort to digitize the company. Our goal is to consolidate our offerings and diversify into other areas.
NUNO RIBEIRO DA SILVA We came to Portugal with a proactive approach from our time in the Spanish market. Starting in 1995, when the Spanish electricity market began to liberalize, we were able to develop a great deal of relevant and valuable experience and then use that in Portugal. We knew how to deal with closed markets that were controlled by governmental administrators and learnt how to address the problems and adaptations inherent to a market entering a period of liberalization. The processes of change in terms of the liberalization of the energy sector in Portugal were different to those in Spain, and we therefore had to adapt accordingly. We started with generation and only began to see real opportunities in the electrical generation and natural gas spaces in the last eight years.
What measures is the company taking regarding an eco-friendly future?
EF We have looked at products beyond the sector that have taken these measures with the environment. We have a product that is green in its combustion though it is not well known. We also have a container project we sought to develop at a national level, which is a transition product and extremely important. We are focused on developing this consciousness in terms of social and community issues and developing products that are environmentally friendly.
NRDS Being sustainable requires mixing many different issues, parameters, and areas of focus. Mobility and movement represent 40% of overall energy consumption in Europe, and this is truly the last area defined by oil consumption. Being proactive in the change from internal combustion to electric vehicles is thus vital for our industry. The basic fuel for mobility is changing from oil products to electricity, and it represents a huge opportunity for the power subsector. Electrification will be the easiest and cheapest way to control emissions and combat climate change. Our first and main responsibility is to support the transition from oil-based mobility to electricity-based. We strive to be more proactive on this front, maximizing the impact of sustainability and ensuring a healthier planet.
What have been the main challenges in doing business in Portugal?
EF The biggest challenges are related to the entry of new players to the market. It is a market that is growing through electricity and natural gas, though our main challenge is anticipating the market in order to be able to do business. Our key focus is on creating tools to have greater proximity with the final customer. At this moment, this sets us apart. We have a distribution network that is different from our competitors, and this network is close to the final customer. We have always gained market share in comparison to our competitors, which is linked to the relationship we develop with the final customer. We are also investing significantly in online systems, as we were not that developed in this field. We started slightly behind and are investing in a new ERP, CRM, and others, especially to prepare ourselves for the future.
How does your experience in both the public and private sectors help you?
NRDS Having been in state government and international energy groups has given me an excellent vantage point to understand the value that diverse knowledge brings to the industry. While I am currently in the private sector, my previous time in government enabled me to understand the perspectives and concerns of the public sector, which is essential. Nearly every week I discuss developments with MPs, ministers, and civil servants. We engage many different types of stakeholders and NGOs, and as a result of my experience I can quickly and effectively recognize, respect, and address the vast array of different opinions and sensibilities that impact this industry.