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Diogo Caldas CEO Refriango

ANGOLA - Industry

Diogo Caldas

CEO, Refriango

Bio

Diogo Caldas is CEO of Refriango.

"Refriango began operations in Angola 70 years ago, specializing in non-alcoholic beverages, with the production and distribution of soft drinks, water, juices, energy drinks, and tonic water."
Refriango is a leader among Angolan companies, specialized in the production and distribution of juices, soft drinks, water, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages.
How have Refriango’s operations evolved over its long history in Angola?

Refriango began operations in Angola 70 years ago, specializing in non-alcoholic beverages, with the production and distribution of soft drinks, water, juices, energy drinks, and tonic water. From the outset, our four pillars have been innovation, brand, distribution, and quality. Our focus was strongly set on non-alcoholic products, and having established a consolidated position in this category, we venture into a partnership to exclusively distribute Moët Hennessy in Angola, a product from the Louis Vuitton group that enabled Refriango to add champagne and cognac to its distribution portfolio. These are heavily consumed in Angola and rapidly became one of the most important markets for the company. With proven success and growth with these products, in 2012, we began an exclusive distribution deal of distilled products with Diageo, the largest producer of spirits in the world. In addition, we became importers of Johnny Walker, Gordon’s, Tanqueray, Smirnoff, and J&B, all of which are Diageo brands. In 2016, we decided to enter yet into another category—beer, one of the most important ones in Angola. We built a new plant and a new brand of our own, Tigra. We had to take all of the necessary steps to enter in a highly competitive market where we battle with strong and iconic brands. Entering 2018, we further developed our relationship with Diageo through a joint venture to invest in a spirits production plant in Angola, that allowed to initiate that year the production of Smirnoff, Smirnoff Ice, Gordon’s, Vat 69, White Horse, and Mr. Dowell’s. Through 2020 and 2021, we established new dialog with various companies to grow in other categories, such as Coca-Cola. We are currently getting started with the entire Coca-Cola portfolio. We have also partnered with Super Bock Group, a Portuguese company that leads the beer market in its country, and which has been distributing products in Angola since 2010. We have developed a partnership to distribute and produce their products locally. Elsewhere, we have created a partnership with Leche Pascual, a Spanish leader in Iberia, to produce locally all of their dairy products. Today we count on one of the largest facilities in Africa, with 27 bottling lines that allow a 2.5-million-liter capacity per year on an area of 50ha.

What are your benefits from collaboration with brands like Coca-Cola?

For us, the partnership with Coca-Cola represents an extraordinary opportunity, not only to complete our portfolio, but also to consolidate and enhance our credentials in industrial capacity, quality, and distribution. Our partnerships with Diageo, Super Bock, and Leche Pascual are also very important, as we can leverage on their acquired knowledge and international expertise while growing our internal capabilities. This allows us to not only develop our brands and nurture a deeper relationship with our consumers so they can enjoy our products, but also broaden their experience with internationally known products by placing them on every Angolan table and hearts.

What is the company’s approach to corporate social responsibility?

Today, we employ around 2,400 people in Refriango, and our company champions sustained educational and development programs for our Angolan workforces. Our investments in people are instrumental in our corporate vision and through and intensive social-responsibility agenda, we are able to fund, promote, and execute projects, both domestically and abroad, that ensure a better life, better opportunities, and better social development for our families. From the supply of sports equipment to weekly training at numerous schools in the popular sport of volleyball, we have witnessed the success of our teams that have gone on to compete nationally and internationally. Education and access to education are key factors to build a stronger foundation of a nation, and Refriango champions projects that are more related to school education and meals, while supporting several orphanages with funding, equipment, and meals for their children.

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