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ANGOLA - Industry

Mario Lourenço

CEO, C.Woermann

Bio

Mario Rui Lourenco Ribeiro studied economics at the Munich Academy of Management and Economics, and is Managing Director of C. Woermann Angola Lda.

"Our group, with vast experience in Ghana and Nigeria, identified enormous potential in various sectors (energy, agriculture, and forestry), which were already part of our expertise on the African continent."
TBY talks to Mario Lourenço, CEO of C.Woermann, about milestones since 2005, investment opportunities, and goals for the coming year.
What is C. Woermann and how has the company developed over the years?

The C. Woermann Group was founded in 1837 in Hamburg, Germany and C. Woermann Angola Lda in 2005 in Angola. With exclusive representation of some internationally renowned-brands, such as STIHL, SAME, LIQUI-MOLY and JOST, we act as a reliable trading company that imports and sells high-quality products to the Angolan market, offering after-sales services above the norm. Our main customers are companies and corporations in the fields of construction, industry, energy, agriculture, and forestry. In Angola, we initially focused on civil construction and supported the boom at the time with imports of high-quality machinery and other equipment. Later, when construction almost stopped, we had to adapt to the new situation the market was facing and look for other business areas. It is very important for a commercial house such as ours to recognise the needs of the markets in good time so that we can adapt to them. Today we are strong and focused on agriculture, so we supply our products and services to most of the main national farmers.

What are the company’s milestones in Angola since 2005?

We were able to experience and accompany the boom in civil construction in Angola. At that time, our core business was the supply of machinery for civil construction and the energy sector. Between 2006 and 2013, we supplied hundreds of generators for public buildings, such as hospitals, schools and other institutions. In 2009, we ensured the power supply for FILDA, with our generators. We also supported the construction industry with specialised machines. Faced with the slowdown of the construction boom, we had to adapt and open new business areas. We have also built over the last years a reputation around the agricultural sector: that of offering innovative and reliable products. We can also point to a number of completed agricultural projects, although we always have to be flexible, looking at other sectors of the market.

What are some of the highlights of the events that C. Woermann has been participating in and how do these contribute to the national economy?

In recent years we have successfully participated in several fairs and events in Angola, such as in the Benguela International Fair (FIB) and the FILDA. We generate revenue through direct-sales of our products and services at the trade fairs, which contributes to the national income of the country. Furthermore we are in a position to offer business solutions tailored to our customer’s needs. With the new focus on agriculture, we dedicate ourselves to a very important sector for this country. We want to contribute to the necessary development of this sector of the Angolan economy, in a sustainable way. We also direct our activities to the area of supporting various charitable and sports activities in the form of sponsoring or partnership presents.

What are the investment opportunities in the sectors that C. Woermann operates in?

Even back then we could see that Angola had a different dynamic to many other African countries. Our group, with vast experience in Ghana and Nigeria, identified enormous potential in various sectors (energy, agriculture and forestry), which were already part of our expertise on the African continent. After 17 years, we can say that we do not regret having believed and invested in this country, even though we are aware that the «golden times» won’t be coming back. During the last few years, our company also had to adapt to the new market reality, which forced us to make some adjustments in our areas of activity. While the civil construction industry was booming and was, besides oil, the main engine of the Angolan economy in the years between 2007 to 2013, today the paradigms of a sustainable business are different, even when we know that we have not yet achieved a healthy diversification of the economy, for the development and sustainable growth of the country. We, as C. Woermann Angola, are now more focused on the sectors of agriculture and forestry, which have been growing in recent years. We supply our products and services to most of the main national farmers.

What are your projects for 2023 and beyond?

We want to be a driver of the local economy with our know-how and services. We want to supply high-quality products at an appropriate price to local production and processing industries, while at the same time contribute to sustainable development. The creation of new jobs, which we fill for the most part with qualified national specialists, will always be an important factor for the company. With the support of the C. Woermann family foundation, of the German parent company, we offer our employees the opportunity to further their education in various specialist fields. After completing their training, we guarantee them a job in the company. Furthermore, we are currently creating a training centre in collaboration with other companies, mainly in the field of agriculture, where we also have the support of the German Government. Our employees are our capital; they are the ones who provide the face of the company in front of the customer. With our experience in this field agriculture and in specialised items, we hope to continue to make our contribution to a better Angola for all of us.

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