Jun. 30, 2015


 Rui Carrito

Mozambique

Rui Carrito

CEO, Soares da Costa

TBY talks to Rui Carrito, CEO of Soares da Costa, on the restructuring of the company, developments across the country, and distinguishing operations from competitors.

BIO

Rui Carrito joined Soares da Costa in May 2010. Previously he had worked for Somague S.A as General Manager (Dams, Tunnels and Light Rail Train systems), and at Minas de Jalles SA as General Manager. He graduated in mining engineering and obtained an MSc degree in civil engineering at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He also completed postgraduate study in management at the Catholic University in Lisbon, Portugal.

What is the result of the company's recent restructuring?

In 2013, we were a group of companies operating under the Soares da Costa name, active in the areas of construction, concessions, real estate, and energy. In February 2014, we split the business such that today construction is under Soares da Costa, while the other businesses are under SDC. The main difference is that we have a new shareholder, namely Antonio Mosquito, who is engaged on the construction front. We run construction operations in Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Oman, Romania, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Currently, we are focused on construction in Africa.

What is the significance of Mozambique for Soares da Costa?

In Africa, Angola is the main market, and Mozambique is in second place. This year we expect a turnover of around $100 million, historically the strongest performance in Mozambique since the company arrived in 1981. We are now approximating the kind of turnover we see in Angola.

Could you elaborate on your project in the Nacala Corridor?

We have enlarged our contract with Vale from $30 million to $60 million. At the beginning of 2014, we were also awarded another construction contract in Nacala a Vella worth $13 million. Vale is our main client in Mozambique, and we are highly committed to the Nacala project. We expect the trains to be up and running through the Nacala Corridor by the end of this year. Our first contract with Vale was to construct new bridges and refurbish old ones. Thus far, we have completed about 50% to 60% of the project. By the end of this year, we expect to have completed about 85%.

What is the status of your developments in Tete?

We are close to completing two projects, one being a bridge over the Zambezi River. The bridge itself is already complete, and we are now working to develop access routes. By the end of October, we expect to have opened the new Armando Emílio Guebuza Bridge to traffic. Another project we recently undertook involved hooking a VIP Hotel, a Portuguese chain, in Tete up to the grid. The company is one of our most important clients. We have worked with them in Maputo, and we have another ongoing project in Beira.

What is your strategy for distinguishing Soares da Costa from your competitors?

We have two different types of business in Mozambique: civil construction, involving hotels, schools, hospitals, and housing; and infrastructure, involving dams, roads, and airports. We are the only company that can run such a wide range of projects, ranging from just $500,000 to $150 million in value. And that is because we have different teams for small and large projects. In our first project in Songo, a village near the Cahora Bassa dam, we built 50 houses for Hidroeléctrica Cahora Bassa, another one of our big clients. This was our fourth or fifth project with it and worth $15 million. The houses were for its technicians. By the end of this year, we expect to receive one or two more projects in Tete. To set ourselves apart from our competitors, we try to be the best among the best. We are a Portuguese company with Mozambican values. We currently have 1,000 employees in Mozambique and last year had 700 employees. Around 8-10% of our employees are expatriates and the rest are Mozambicans. We have board members, engineers, and foremen from Mozambique and run many trainings for Mozambicans. While our labor force is as good as that of other Portuguese and South African companies, our price is cheaper. Secondly, we deliver a good quality service in any work related to concrete or civil construction. We are recognized as one of the best companies in the market for house or office interiors, as well as construction. When construction is nearing completion we put in one or two expatriate foremen only to maintain a high quality level in detailing. We have all the right technologies, experience, and people from Portugal available for African projects.

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