PARK LIFE

Mexico 2017 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Marco Ramón, Director General of Amistad Industrial Parks, on the company's background in Mexico, its client base, and growth opportunities in the market.

Marco Ramón
BIOGRAPHY
With the firm since 1994 and as Senior President of Amistad Industrial Developers and Director General of Amistad Industrial Parks, Marco Ramón has been successful in building corporate value and leading sophisticated real estate ventures and service organizations responsible for a USD450 million portfolio. He is skilled at establishing operational excellence within culturally diverse environments, translating conceptual models into specific growth strategies, and executing multifaceted global business developments.

What is the background of Amistad Industrial Parks?

Amistad is a family-owned company that our late father founded. He started the business in 1977 and with the initial idea of developing a small industrial park on the border city of Acuña, given the manufacturing operations and industries looking at Mexico for lower-cost operations near Juárez. He developed the first industrial park in the state of Coahuila in Ciudad Acuña, one of the largest parks today. He subsequently started looking at other areas, which helped the company evolve into a full build-to-suit construction and service company.

What changes have you seen in the industrial sector in terms of the profiles of your clients?

When my father started the business, manufacturing companies were labor-intensive operations that would import raw materials, do light assembly, and export back to the US. Today, there are state-of-the art facilities and complex operations from diverse sectors similar to those in the US, Germany, or Japan. That is due to the skilled labor now available in the country.

Where do most of your clients come from?

About 50% of our customer base is European or Asian, whereas before about 78% were US companies. We saw a major change in the early 2000s with more European and Asian investments looking at the border and cities like Saltillo and Bajío. Our customer base was mainly concentrated in the north with US companies; now we see companies all over Mexico and from all over the world. Companies tend to follow their clients; Mexico is now a platform not only to service their companies within Mexico but all around the world.

How have these changes affected the types of services you provide?

The industrial park business in Mexico has truly evolved in the past 15 to 20 years. Today, some of these parks have their own free trade zones, such as Puerto Interior or Interpuerto Monterrey. However, we are seeing an increasing diversity of quality of services and infrastructure in these parks. Our parks are state of the art, have the best infrastructure, and are self-sufficient with their own substations for power, wells for water, treatment plants for sewage, and so on. These all have 24-hour security, are fully fenced, have great access to the main highways, and have a stable supply of labor within the general area.

What differentiates Amistad from your competition when potential clients look for industrial space in Mexico?

Our same customer base drives most of our growth; 80% of our clients expand with us so that is our best letter of recommendation. Most of our organic growth comes from our client base, which means we are doing something right. We can offer any geographic location within Mexico and are not limited to our industrial parks. We offer a guaranteed track record and flexibility, can build almost anywhere in Mexico, and are fully integrated. We offer a variety of services, such as real estate, construction, shelter, and logistics; customers can pick all or some of them.

To what extent do clients ask for green construction?

We see this more every day, and our parks were certified as green parks, though we are still working on getting all 15 certified. We were one of the first to become green certified from SEMARNAT through AMPIP and the first to recycle water. Our goal is to become a LEEDS-certified builder.

What is the biggest source of your growth in the short to medium term?

Alternate geographic locations. We were the first to build a park in the Celaya-Querétaro region, and now there are 10. We have a nose for cities not as industrially developed as they could be.

What is your vision for Amistad?

Already top ten, we want to consolidate our group into one of the top-five industrial developers in Mexico. We have been talking about taking our company public, so we want to build it up to a size that can generate interest.