PEDRO LUÍS FERNÁNDEZ

Mexico 2021 | INDUSTRY & AGRICULTURE | INTERVIEW

With over 25,000 machines available for rental all around the world, GAM also focuses on other areas such as training and maintenance, buying and selling, and other diversified services.

Pedro Luís Fernández
BIOGRAPHY

Pedro Luís Fernández holds a law degree from the University of Oviedo, an international MBA from ESDEN, Madrid, and a master's in value creation and valuation of companies from IESE, Madrid. He is the founder of GAM and has held the positions of Chairman & CEO since 2003. He is a shareholder and a member of the investment committees in several venture capital companies and a member of the board of directors of various companies in sectors related to leisure, food, and the industrial sector. He was president of the Asturian Federation of Entrepreneurs from 2014-2018 and a member of the Executive Committee of the CEOE.

Founded in 2003, GAM has had sustained growth, first through acquisitions, then in 2006 with an IPO and in 2007 with its international expansion. How has GAM evolved, and what are some of its main milestones?

GAM was founded in 2003 within a disintegrated sector in Spain. It made sense to create a larger, more global project, influenced by the construction sector. We went public to raise more capital and shareholders, and in 2008, we began our international expansion. Starting from 2014, the company began to offer new services for a far more industrialized world, with longer-term and predictable contracts, but with more complex services. This is the way things were moving until 2018, when we experienced an important change with the entry of Francisco Riberas. The growth stage we were going through was an important value proposal for customers, and we wanted to have a strong and healthy balance sheet to be able to face this stage.

What are GAM's main solutions?

Supply is one of our most important solutions. Regarding machines, we offer rentals. We have some 20,000 machines around the world, plus another 5,000 managed by customers, so we can provide a service. We also have a particularly important training department. First, we train staff to operate the machinery as well as how to maintain them. This is crucial because we have 25,000 of our own machines and many technical staff. We have a buying and selling portal for machinery for when our customers need to dispose of machines or need machines from us, as we have many customers in purchasing. Many brands have entrusted us with their distribution. We have a robotics project that makes driverless machines, in which we have drones that we use for work carried out at a height. We have departments specialized in industrial ecology, energy generation, events, and so on.

The pandemic has pushed industrial and construction sector toward digitalization. How important is digitalization for GAM?

In 2021, our aim has been to digitalize all our processes, and for that we need better data quality and better practices in order to manage it. We want a company that makes its own management decisions and does things digitally, more efficiently, and with fewer errors. We want to make data an asset. This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge for us if we want to become a more sustainable company.

How has the pandemic affected GAM? What strategies did you employ?

We have shown ourselves to be a resilient company, as the industry never stopped moving. If you have a problem, you look for efficiency; this is what GAM does. During the pandemic, we performed well. We have made our costs and structures more flexible. We knew customers were going to suffer, and our strategy was to be more aware of them every day and let them know we were there to help them with whatever they needed. On top of this, we provided flexibility and relief regarding payments and collections and so on. We stayed close to our customers and tried to interpret what they needed at all times.

Which are your main markets?

Geographically, we are divided into two large areas. One is Europe, where we are present in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. We use the same machinery in all three countries, and they account for 70% of our activities. The remaining 30% is Latin America. We will grow in all countries in the coming years, although Latin American countries will likely grow slightly more in percentage terms. This is a major challenge in Latin America's macroeconomy. We are present in countries that are highly dependent on raw materials, such as Peru and Chile, and this could work well in the short term. In Portugal, we work independently. Portugal is one of the most interesting countries for us and is a big commitment for us this year. There, we have focused specifically on the automotive business.