MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Panama 2019 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

Argos has played a key role in the most important infrastructure and logistics projects in the country and is keen to continue to contribute to boosting development and transform lives.

Harry Abuchaibe
BIOGRAPHY
Harry Abuchaibe is a civil engineer from the Javeriana University and holds a master’s of science degree in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was General Manager of Construmart in Barranquilla between 1990 and 2001, Business Manager of Cementos Ar Caribbean Region from 2001-2013, and CEO of Argos Honduras from 2013-2016. He assumed the role of CEO of Argos Panamá in 2017.

Argos has 85 years in the market and a widespread experience in Latin America. So, how does this trajectory relate to the success of the company in Panama?

Our history in Panama started in 2000 through a joint venture, though upon seeing the great potential here, in 2009 we sought to acquire the total participation of Cementos Panamá. After a successful consolidation process based on the understanding of local culture and knowledge transfer, in 2013 we made the brand change and offered all our experience and innovative processes to the local market.

What does Panama mean in the Argos portfolio?

Panama is definitely one of the two most relevant markets in the Caribbean and Central America Region. It is an important logistics center and has the dynamism of a developed market, despite being relatively small. This market offers us important knowledge and allows us to contribute to the construction of dreams that boost development and transform lives. Thanks to our value proposition, we have accompanied the strategic development of the country through the delivery of our products for projects as relevant as the expansion of the Panama Canal, Terminal 2 of Tocumen Airport, and the Metro.

Can you tell us more about the reputation of Argos?

Thanks to the trust that our customers have placed in Argos, together we have built, a recognized brand that, today, has operations in 15 countries and reaches more than 34 destinations. Our company has deep understanding of the different market dynamics, the geographical diversification that helps mitigate risks through the balance of economic cycles, the service vocation of its employees and the innovative solutions we that have allowed us to position ourselves as a benchmark in the industry. Despite the challenges of the industry, we have created sustainable value that accompanies the progress of the territories and contributes to the building of dreams for housing, community development, and a better infrastructure in the Americas. Our commitment to innovation and sustainability also made it possible for the company to enter the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the sixth consecutive year. We are proud to be recognized as one of the most sustainable companies in the world, which generates confidence in our shareholders and investors. Similarly, this increases the capability to receive more investment to grow more and to provide more significant benefits.

What does the opening of Terminal 2 of Tocumen airport represent for Argos' operations in Panama?

We are very proud to have been part of this iconic project. For this work, we dispatched about 126,000cbm of ready-mix in total, which is equivalent to 21,000 trips by mixer trucks. The airport will generate more opportunities for trade, travel, and business in the country.

What are your target sectors in Panama?

Our higher purpose is to build dreams that boost development and transform lives in Panama. For this, we want to be allies of our customers and carry out infrastructure, housing, and community development projects, allowing us to continue to accompany the country's growth.

How can the new government contribute to the business environment?

The recovery of the country has already begun, although it is not yet reflected in the indicators. In the medium term, we remain cautiously positive in light of the solid portfolio of infrastructure projects and the initiatives announced by the new government to boost the construction sector in both the residential and infrastructure segments. Developments such as the law of public-private partnerships, the extension of subsidies to interest rates for social housing up to the price range of USD180,000, and the adoption of standards and technical regulations in cement are all extremely encouraging.

How is Argos' commitment to the development of the country defined?

We do not conceive the success of our company if there is no development of all the stakeholders with whom we interact. So, when we enter a country or generate a business, we look for development for all. We are committed to generating decent, stable, and quality employment, strengthening capacities in communities, and contributing to the improvement of educational and social infrastructure to create value and shared growth opportunities. We are also convinced that cement and concrete are strategic materials for sustainable development, since they contribute to the construction of cities that respond to environmental challenges, infrastructure that contributes to the revitalization of the economy and projects that strengthen the industrialization and interconnection of the regions.

What are your goals for 2019?

Our goal is to see the major infrastructure works of the country materialize, such as the fourth bridge over the canal, line three of the metro and the extensions of the other two lines, the beach corridor, and the consolidation of logistics sector. We are excited to contribute to Panama's economic dynamism in 2019 and beyond.