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Sintagma Miguel Murargy

MOZAMBIQUE - Economy

Miguel Rodrigues

CEO, Sintagma Holding

Bio

Miguel Murargy holds a BA (Hons) in Economics at University of London (UCL) UK, and an MBA at the Institute of Finance and Management in Geneva, Switzerland. Over 15 years of experience as an executive and entrepreneur in the logistics, infrastructure and renewable energy sectors in sub-Saharan Africa with Mozambique as a focus market. Fluent in three languages, (Portuguese, French and English), he has been actively involved in the development of Mozambique’s young entrepreneurial ecosystem. He is also a Board Member of the CCIFM – Chambre de Comerce e Industrie France-Mozambique.

"Sintagma Holding was founded in 2014, and we refer to ourselves as an industrial investment holding company."
TBY talks to Miguel Rodrigues, CEO of Sintagma Holding, about the foundation of Afrigotel, partnerships, and industrialization in Mozambique.
What are Sintagma Holding’s main activities in the country?

Sintagma Holding was founded in 2014, and we refer to ourselves as an industrial investment holding company. Our vision was to promote and invest in niche capital-intensive industrial projects in Mozambique and play a key part in its industrialization and economic development. Ten years down the line we have diversified our portfolio and the sectors we are now actively involved include: logistics, renewable energies, construction, and, as of recently, oil and gas services.

As the chairperson of Afrigotel, can you tell us more about it?

Afrigotel, a subsidiary of Sintagma Holding, is a cold chain third-party logistics provider (3PL), opened in late 2016 in Maputo with a state-of-the-art facility comprising over 8.000 m³ of cold storage, and was our first business venture. The facility features 13 chambers catering for both frozen and refrigerated products as per our clients’ needs, with added value services such as inventory management and stock controls, all the while adhering to best practices of hygiene and food safety. The initial years of operations were very challenging as 3PL in cold chain was a fairly new concept in Mozambique and clients were skeptical of entrusting us fully with their products. Our commitment to good service and quality, as evidenced by our ISO:9001 certificate in Quality Management, paid dividends as business started to pick up and nowadays, we work with many multinationals and some of the biggest food retailers and distributers in Mozambique. During COVID-19 we worked closely with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health as a key partner in the storage of vaccines. We opened our second facility, last November, next the Port of Maputo with a storage capacity of 6.700 m³. Today, with these 2 facilities, we can handle over 7.000 tons of products. Furthermore, the Maputo corridor is an important corridor for the fruits and citrus sector from South Africa, and we are positioning ourselves to ensure we are also involved in that booming opportunity. We are now engaged in an aggressive expansion strategy with facilities due to open in Pemba, Nampula and Beira within the next 18 months, with our long-term goal of having a facility in every province in Mozambique.

Who are Sintagma Holding’s local and international partners?

Our local and international partners are selected on a project-by-project case. In the case of Afrigotel the project was developed in-house from conception, design, financing, construction and operations. We are a co-founding partner of WHN Solar, a Mozambican renewable energy project developer, which is currently developing a 30 MW solar PV power project in Nacala, northern Mozambique. The company was awarded a grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) in 2018 to carry out the full feasibility studies, involving several international consultants, and we are now entering into the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) negotiations with the local power utility, EDM. This will be our biggest project to date as we are talking about a USD 50 million solar PV power plant. Meanwhile we are also developing 2 new solar PV power projects, though still at preliminary feasibility study phase.

What are your thoughts on the pace of industrialization in Mozambique?

When we started Sintagma Holding, we had major plans and ideas for Mozambique’s industrialization as we were all aware that it doesn’t make sense to import everything we consume when we have a vastness of natural resources and raw materials. Recently, we became an active member of Mozambique Industrial Association (AIMO- Associação Industrial de Moçambique) and we feel that its rejuvenated policies will be a catalyst and an incentive to produce and transform locally. If we want to compete with world markets, Mozambique needs to keep up with innovative technologies. The pace is still slow, however Mozambique is on the right direction and has enormous potential for growth.

What was the objective behind establishing SISM?

Sintagma joined forces with another reputable Mozambican company and created SISM- Soluções Integradas e Serviços Moçambique. In anticipation of a potential Oil&Gas boom in Mozambique with the vast reserves discovered in the Rovuma Basin, we placed significant focus on SISM in 2018, investing heavily in the company’s structure and certifications. The purpose of the company was designing and implementing client driven solutions and services to the extractive industries, in order to assist and partner up with international companies wanting to establish in Mozambique. Our range of support varies from market research, legal assistance, company registration, permits and licensing, institutional relationships, networking support, senior local staff allocation, to accounting and admin support services, as well as procurement and logistics.

What do you want to achieve in 2024?

The priority today is the expansion of Afrigotel and the opening of our Pemba facility this year, our first step towards completing a nationwide cold storage network. Regarding renewables, our objective for 2024 is to sign the PPA and reach financial closure in our Nacala Solar PV Power Project. Our goal is to have an energy portfolio of over 200MW within the next five years. On the construction side, we want to consolidate our operations and make sure the company has a strong foundation in order to take the next big step, which is securing larger contracts within the oil and gas and industrial sectors. For Sintagma as a whole, 2024 will be the first year where we consolidate our accounts. This is a milestone for us in affirming the integrity of our holding company. We intend to be a key player in the industries that we are involved in today.

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