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Marcelo Zoega

Country Manager, Atlas Copco

Sébastien Bidault

General Manager (Portugal and Angola), Atlas Copco

"We have centralized R&D and production centers in Europe, Asia, and America, though our focus in Angola is machine sales and aftermarket service."
TBY talks to Marcelo Zoega, Country Manager, and Sébastien Bidault, General Manager (Portugal and Angola) at Atlas Copco, about the company’s operations in Angola, training and developing human resources, and plans for expansion.
What were the reasons that attracted Atlas Copco to come to Angola in 2008?

Atlas Copco started its operations here 16 years ago and the initiative came from our office in Portugal because of the ties between the two countries. Our main focus in Angola has been compressors, air treatment and gas generators, though we also work on the other businesses areas as well. In 2023, we celebrated our 150th year as a company, and we have a long-held tradition as a group to remain close to our customers. Today our group employs around 50,000 people, has operations in more than 90 countries, and we also reach out to customers directly or indirectly in 180 countries. Our four business areas are with compressors, construction, power generation, vacuum technology and industrial tools. Atlas Copco has been here in Angola since 2008 amidst the ups and downs and has a solid understanding of the business dynamics of the country. We are committed to remaining in the country and continuing to invest here.

Can you provide an overview of the services Atlas Copco offers in Angola?

We have centralized R&D and production centers in Europe, Asia, and America, though our focus in Angola is machine sales and aftermarket service. Our sales representatives as well as service technicians act as customer consultants to provide specialized advise, service and maintenance. With this configuration, we are able to provide customers with the best sustainable solution. Thanks to our local expertise, we can identify and import the best option from one of our production centers in other parts of the world.

Can you elaborate on Atlas Copco’s initiatives in Angola aimed at training and enhancing the qualifications of its workforce?

We have 13 employees in Angola today, of whom only one is an expatriate. We aim to attract people with a positive attitude, and we subsequently provide training opportunities for them to learn about our business and products. These training sessions mainly take place on a central learning platform, though we also organize workshops where people from all over the world can exchange knowledge. In addition, we have a partnership with LinkedIn Learning, where our employees can find of thousands of courses. Another initiative related to ongoing training is our Global Learning Week, where for one week we offer several training sessions to all the employees. Every month, we release new products, which means our employees must keep up as well. Providing up-to-date knowledge about our products to our employees is key given that they interact with customers and promote the best solutions. Learning is a key element of building a growth mindset with all our employees to drive innovation for our customers.

Given Atlas Copco’s global focus on sustainability, can you provide insights into the specific ways in which you integrate the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) framework into your operations in Angola?

Being a Swedish company, we place heavy emphasis on governance, from our shareholders who have a large influence all the way to the board of directors and the management team. Every year, every single employee must sign a business code of conduct, and we conduct mandatory online and face-to-face training about it. Sustainability has been driving business in Atlas Copco for a long time but we see an exponential acceleration in the recent years. As a technology company, we invest heavily in terms of money, time, and resources in our products because there is a conscious awareness that we have a role to play. We are by far the largest provider of solutions in our sector, and our mission as the leader is to demonstrate and lead by our actions. The transformation of the industry and the journey toward a low-carbon economy is necessaryand we feel responsible to support our customers to make this transition as fast as possible. Another important reason why ESG is so central to our strategy is because this is a tremendous business opportunity here. As the only manufacturer present in Angola, we have a unique position. Every time we visit a customer, we see manufacturing facilities that have been designed remotely. Our mission is to accompany our customers through their growth journey and help them evolve from a set up that was designed remotely at the beginning to operations to a system optimized for their future. Atlas Copco is present in all segments of the industry, from food & beverage to the oil and gas. On the social side, one of our major charities is called Water for All, which works to provide drinking water in remote places. By providing our assistance in drilling and establishing a local water production facility, we are able to help provide access to drinking water for local communities.

What are your plans for growth in the country and expansion in Angola?

We have identified various projects with potential in the country. It is important for Atlas Copco to demonstrate its presence in the country and provide the proper consultation to customers. We intend to remain close to companies and promote our solutions to all the stakeholders. Apart from that, we also plan to increase our business and hire new people. The focus for us is always on hiring locals and developing them to work for us—in fact, this is our priority. Our immediate focus is to play the role of consultants to help the industry sector transition to sustainable solutions and assist the Food & Beverage and any size of local industries to scale up for the high demand that they are currently facing. We also seek to support the health sector in making the right investments and developing the right infrastructure. We want people to know that we are here and we can help them achieve their goals.

In the context of Angola’s economic landscape, where do you see the most promising sectors for potential growth and investment for Atlas Copco?

The industry in Angola has huge opportunities to grow in the area of sustainable development as we can see initiatives from the government to promote the local production and environment. We can talk about industries that started with small production lines and gradually implemented other lines replicating the previous ones to industries with big operations that have opportunities to be leaner. In all those situations, we can support with investments customized to their business to have the most efficient solutions.

Given Atlas Copco’s extensive global reach, could you provide insights into the unique characteristics and dynamics of the Angolan market?

Angola has a multicultural market with presence of companies from several countries and sometimes the projects are developed outside of the country not considering the best operational solution to the momentum of the business. I am referring to possible solutions that only a local supplier can support, interacting and consulting to find the best sustainable solution and create opportunities for growth to a next level of efficiency with lower operational costs. The promotion of local production environmentally friendly, makes the perfect scenario to pursuit those objectives.

Could you explain how Atlas Copco’s international presence enhances your ability to streamline and accelerate the importation process in various countries, including Angola?

Atlas Copco has R&D and Production facilities in several regions as Europe, Asia and Americas and, with this configuration, can provide equipment and spare parts from anywhere always considering the best cost and lead time. Logistics wise we can also explore the Distributions Centers present in those regions and partnership with global forwarders to deliver goods in any part of the world in the most efficient route and shorter delivery time.

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