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Sr Guilherme

MOZAMBIQUE - Industry

Guilherme Soares

CEO, Oceana Distribution

Bio

Guilherme Pereira Soares is Managing is CEO of Oceana Distribution. He is 45 years old, born in Maputo. He has been the sole owner of Oceana Distribution, Lda since August 2022 and a partner since 2014, with over 27 years of experience in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) commercial area. However, Oceana has been operating since August 2010,  specialized in sales, marketing, brand development, warehousing, and the distribution of consumables and food products from internationally renowned brands. He graduated in Communication and Marketing from ISPU. Before becoming a partner at Oceana, he worked as Country Manager for Mozambique, Malawi, and Angola for Cadbury Schweppes, Kraft Foods, and Mondelez International in South Africa for 17 years. He also has a passion for construction, having built several houses and, most notably, the warehouse that currently serves as Oceana’s headquarters.

"We are present in five regions of Mozambique, namely Maputo, Pemba, Nampula, Beira, and Tete. In 2025, we will have a branch in Chimoio, Inhambane and most probably in Quelimane too, where we already have sales representatives."
TBY talks to Guilherme Soares, CEO of Oceana Distribution, about the company’s notable achievements, expansion plans, and goals for 2024.
Could you provide an overview of the company, your services, products, and the main brands that you represent in Mozambique?

Oceana is a 100% Mozambican owned Distribution Company, founded in 2010. We represent world leaders in FMCG with companies such as AVI International from South Africa with brands like Baker’s Biscuits, Five Roses Tea, Freshpak Tea, Danone from France, Kellogg’s from America, Arcor from Argentina, Upfield with Rama brand and PepsiCo Group soon joining us with Ceres Juice brand.

What are some of the company’s notable achievements?

One of our key achievements is to be considered has one of the largest Mozambican owned FMCG companies a position that is not easily found in most owned Mozambican companies. We proudly represent strong world leading brands making us responsible and accountable for their success in Mozambique. .

What have been the main challenges and opportunities for consumer goods distribution in Mozambique, and how is Oceana Distribution addressing them?

One of the main challenges in terms of distribution is the road network. The quality of the roads makes it difficult to practice a standard price for our products nationwide. consumers in Pemba and Nampula as a result pay a lot more for the same products due to high transport cost influenced by the road conditions. A recent challenge that we importers have been facing is with regards to the new regulation imposed by INNOQ for conformity assessment on all imports, if not well controlled it might not rigorously cover all importers therefore create gaps in the market. This will increase cost of most products in the market and if the regulators are not flexible enough to respond to the manufactures requests on time, the economy will have shortages of products and less satisfied consumers. Despite the challenges Mozambique continues to be a country with lots of growth and space to develop new brands and introduce new products.

Do you have any plans to expand elsewhere in the region?

Yes, we do. We are present in five regions of Mozambique, namely Maputo, Pemba, Nampula, Beira, and Tete. In 2025, we will have a branch in Chimoio, Inhambane and most probably in Quelimane too, where we already have sales representatives. We pretend to increase our sales representatives across the country. As we become well recognized in the market the is a tendency of our partners to invite us to open new branches in other countries and only time will tell

With the country aiming to industrialize, what are Oceana’s plans in this regard?

Mozambique has a completely different environment for business. To succeed here, you must know how business works. We have production projects that we intend to commence, but raw materials are locally scarce, creating the need to import or stimulate local producers/ cooperatives. As an example, I can get sweets from Brazil that are cheaper in comparison to the same product produced in Mozambique despite the freight cost that is included. To produce yogurt we lack sufficient fresh milk and therefore the need to import thus, a huge challenge. Although the is interest to mass produce local jam, to maintain a consistent production line we would encounter inadequate supply of fruits, difficult to compete and stabilize selling price. Industrialization is the future for Oceana and this is the right moment to invest in the country. To invest we would requires a aggressive fiscal government implementation to provide the right solutions and at the right price. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of money and fail.

What are your thoughts on innovation, and how are you approaching it?

It is always good to innovate, but based on something that is already well proven and accepted in the market. It is also a challenge to innovate without having the main pillars already in place. For example, Agua Vumba is already well stabilized in the market but the innovation must be based on success that is already attributed to the name to ensure lasting loyalty to the product. Yet, you need to stabilize the base first.

What is your advice for international investors considering entering the country?

You must first understand the market needs, because Mozambican market is specific in nature. More than 75% of the Mozambican population depends on agriculture and fishing, and is, therefore, not affluent. One must guarantee to deliver exactly what the public requires. Important to have the right partner to ensure that both are complement to each other, develop and consistently push the product for success.

What are your strategic plans for 2024?

We want to be strong enough to remain active over the next five-year period, and aim to double the business every five years.

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