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Carlos António Ramalho Gonçalves

ANGOLA - Industry

Carlos António Ramalho Gonçalves

CEO, AMA África – Indústria, Lda

Bio

Carlos António Ramalho Gonçalves spent part of his childhood working at his father’s company Auto Mecânica Alvorgense, Lda (AMA) in Portugal and later joined the company’s technical team as an apprentice. After working in the sales and equipment demonstration department and the commercial team of the agricultural department, he was assigned to manage one of the company’s branches. In 2009, he became the commercial director of the commercial department in the Portuguese market. He later started the internationalization of AMA, which led to the creation of AMA África – Indústria, Lda, of which he became the CEO.

"We entered Africa in 2012 to establish new trade agreements because Portugal was in the midst of a serious crisis."
AMA África – Indústria has successfully established itself as the most successful supplier of branded equipment in Angola, building upon years of hard work and innovation.
How have your operations in Angola progressed since its establishment?

We entered Africa in 2012 to establish new trade agreements because Portugal was in the midst of a serious crisis. The founder of the company began by selling agricultural equipment; however, in 2009, we obtained the representation of Terex Construction Equipment for the center of Portugal. Then, the crisis struck. Initially, there were three distributors in Portugal, but they closed due to the crisis, and we were appointed as the Terex dealer for the entire country. Some months later, Terex contacted us to state its interest in also having a port equipment representative for Portugal. This was an opportunity and a challenge that we decided to face. Those two different businesses that we started almost at the same time motivated us to proceed with prospecting the Angolan market. Why Angola? The Portuguese language is an advantage for us; furthermore, the market is large and has a large number of Terex equipment, which is why we focused on the Terex brand in Angola. At that time, we restructured the company into three divisions: agricultural equipment to Portugal; Terex spare parts trading; and Terex equipment for Angola. Our initial focus in Angola were seaports customers, oil and gas companies, and mining companies. We are proud to be one of the top three on the suppliers list of most of our clients. We are growing annually by between 30% and 35%. Despite all the constraints caused by the pandemic, 2021 and 2022 proved to be, by far, the best sales years of the company in its 47-year history. Now, the company turnover’s is eight to even 10 times more than during the crisis when we already had Terex on board, but only for construction and only selling in central Portugal. Now, we have customers in 30 countries.

How is AMA helping to develop the agricultural and construction sectors in Angola?

The innovations we are going to bring may appear basic, but that is not the case. There are many clients with Terex port equipment and Terex mobile cranes and equipment, but no company in Angola has specialized technicians for Terex port equipment and Terex cranes mobiles. Nor do they have a stock of spare parts for these brands here. We will have both spare parts availability and technical support. We are keen to hire Angolans and give them training, be they auto electricians or painters.

Do you currently have local people collaborating with you?
This is a future plan. We want to hire local commercial players, and most of the people are going to be local. We know that we will have to be patient with those who will work with us and give them time to gain experience because this is a truly specific market.
What is the roadmap for 2023?

We have to start by getting to know local people and training them. And for now, we must retain the clients we already have from Ama Portugal. Later, when we feel with more comfortable in this starting period, we can begin to pursue other opportunities, but for now, we are going to be a little more contained so that everything is very controlled. We are official dealers in Angola of well-known brands such as Terex and Kalmar. Right now, we are growing, and we have always been adding new people who collaborate with us in Portugal. Ultimately, we will hire more and more local people and give the training they need to help us grow and increase the client-base.

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