The Business Year

Juan Pablo Sotomayor

ECUADOR - Real Estate & Construction

Every Nook And Cranny

General Manager, Imptek

Bio

Juan Pablo Sotomayor graduated from the School of Human and Social Sciences at Universidad Católica del Ecuador in Quito, with a degree in Tourism Administration and Eco-tourism. Following graduation, he was accepted at Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey in Quito, on an International Academic Program for Corporate Citizenship. He is currently undertaking an MBA at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. He started his career at IMPTEK 10 years ago as Coordinator of Market Investigations in Ecuador; this was succeeded by his role as Executive for International Sales. At the end of 2014, he became General Manager of IMPTEK.

TBY talks to Juan Pablo Sotomayor, General Manager of Imptek, on the government's investment in roads and highways, Imptek's plans for regional expansion, and asphalt production.

What factors have contributed to your growth over the years?

Our company has been in the construction business for over 35 years, manufacturing asphalt membranes for water proofing systems. We started as a small business and are now one of the most prominent businesses in modifying asphalt in all Latin America. Our products are now exported to markets outside Ecuador and that has been one of the main reasons for our growth, our involvement in international markets.

How are you diversifying your product portfolio?

We have implemented two major changes. As I mentioned, our initial product line was modified asphalt for waterproofing purposes, but a few years ago, we began using this asphalt for pavements, road construction and maintenance. All roads in Ecuador are now being improved, which has been a new market in Ecuador, separate from the segment we initially entered. We are now also diversifying into heat and noise insulation.

Has the government’s investment in roads and highways affected your growth?

At first, we were not dependent on state infrastructure projects, and in fact I would argue that it was our growth that influenced the development of infrastructure. The government began to use the asphalt we were promoting, instead of local unmodified product. Our asphalt also has a component that makes it elastic, so it’s harder to break. Highways sustain a considerable impact from vehicles and require asphalt that with shape memory, which is why the government today is using our asphalt for all infrastructure, buildings and highways.

In what other areas are you investing your resources?

At the moment, the chief investment has concerned our new plant. We have relocated our infrastructure from a plant of 10,000 sqm to one of almost 50,000 sqm. Furthermore, we are planning to open the first Imptek beyond Ecuador in Colombia in mid-March if everything goes to plan. We have been exporting for 15 years, but this will mark the first time we establish ourselves as a known brand in another country.

What is Imptek’s export profile?

We have been exporting our products from Mexico to Chile and the Pacific Coast. The international market represents 30% of our current total sales and we expect it to account for 50% within the next five years. Last year we saw a marked decrease in our sales to Colombia as the Colombian peso was devaluated to Ps2,400/USD, as a result of which Colombia lacked the financial muscle to import products from Ecuador, or in fact anywhere but Europe. We faced aggressive competition from European products. Despite Ecuador’s strategic geographic advantage concerning exports to Latin America, we still face high costs in transportation, especially over land, to Colombia and Peru.

What are Imptek’s plans for regional expansion?

The infrastructure we have at the moment demands we go to bigger markets. We are currently at only 50% capacity in this new plant. We have a strategic plan to search for markets in the US, Mexico, and Brazil. We are always looking in America and hopefully one day we will go to Asia. We made an effort to introduce our products in Spain, but there are a lot of competitors at our same level there—it’s not the right moment. If the Euro goes back up, we could do business with our products.

What is Imptek’s goal for 2015?

In 2015, our main goal is to produce at a capacity utilization rate of at least 70% at the new plant. We have started at 50%, and adding that 20% would enable a rise in sales of over 50%.

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