What have been the main highlights of the company's presence in Panama?
EDUARDO GONZÁLEZ Transportes Blindados was formed as a joint venture in 1982 with Wells Fargo, becoming the first armored transport company in Panama. At the time, I was trying to be involved in all aspects of the security sector. Armored transport was a part of the security business, so we decided to partner with Wells Fargo. I went to Spain to receive training from Transportes Blindados Spain. Six years later, Wells Fargo sold its share to me. We are the only Panamanian company in the armored transport market; Brinks and Dunbar are our competitors. That is all the market can accommodate since there is not enough room for more companies. In this business, insurance is necessary to operate, but extremely difficult to obtain due to our business' risky nature. We are not the largest operators in the market, but we are the best service-wise as we strive to provide quality service. Service is how one gains more of a market share from the big players. We always strive to provide excellent and efficient service. For example, HSBC came to us for cash processing, which was something that we did not do at the time. It trained our employees to do cash processing for all HSBC branches in Panama. We now do cash processing for just about every bank.
Can you briefly explain Securitas' operations and Panama's importance in the company's portfolio?
ÉRIC KOBERG Securitas is an international company with operations in 55 countries and close to 350,000 employees. We lead the security industry worldwide. We are considered not only a guard company but also a protected services company. We are more focused on protection than just plain guarding. Looking toward 2030, we are looking to make the world a safer place. We want to be seen as more of a protective service. Our part as Securitas worldwide is to ensure the safety of our customers, and the rest of the world to benefit from what we do globally. Panama is a new country for us and we have only been there for a couple of years. It is a market and an industry run by traditional security companies, separate from technology. At Securitas, we aim to offer the Panamanian market a solution of protective services that include guarding, technology, mobile services, fire protection, and other services that are within the scope of protection. We intend to show the market that our way of doing business is different. That is what we have done worldwide in other countries.
How have you managed to become a big player in Panama?
EG We stay on top of all the latest trends and innovations. We follow and predict where the industry goes. This makes us slightly more efficient, which is why we are always investing in R&D.
Is there any other market apart from Panama that you would like to target within Latin America?
ÉK We are present in nine Latin American countries. Brazil is one interesting market where we are not present yet. We operated there years ago and want to enter it again. Other than that, we are present in the countries that are stable, democratic, and open to Swedish companies.
What are your main targets for 2019?
EG Our objective has always been to offer the best service. We have smaller objectives to make the company more secure and maintain the cash flow. Moving forward, we will realize our shortcomings and improve accordingly; growth will come with that; however, it is not our primary focus. There are three ongoing technological projects that we hope to finish by mid-2019.
ÉK Our plan is to find a group of clients whose views of the security industry align with ours. We would like for them to introduce our model in the market and show the rest of the industry that it can be done. We want to show we can promote change in Panama and move on from being just a plain guarding company to being a country that embraces new models of security.