The Business Year

Stanley Motta

Chairman, Copa Holdings

Panama is a fortunate country compared to the region, and the growth of the private sector contributes to strengthening the economy. When one examines the financial sector, Panama has a strong position because it is a dollar-based economy. Additionally, the country has a small population, which, in my opinion, facilitates inward and outward business interactions. In addition, another advantage that Panama has, when it comes to foreign investment, is that it has been a country for transit for 500 years, which has attracted both investments and human capital to be part of its development. Panama has outstanding infrastructure for the development of the telecommunications sector. The development of the information storage sites and fiber optic infrastructure are strong. In fact, events such as Cybertech Panama 2019 are facilitating the exchange of ideas and initiatives that invite entrepreneurs to increase direct investment. In addition, these projects are bringing new talent to Panama. They, in turn, then interact with Panamanian talent. The secret is to find good people. I define that as people who are ethical, have a passion for what they do, and can communicate the purpose and strategy of the company.

Aimeé Sentmat de Grimaldo

President, Banistmo

Latin America is still deficient in infrastructure investment, and Panama has a great track record, so we have traditionally been an ally for these projects, either via the government or the private company that bids on these projects. There are large investments to be made, and we are poised to support the commercial sector and even participate in the free trade zones. Free zones have historically been a competitive advantage of Panama, and this sector still has business opportunities. In fact, we and our clients still find opportunities to serve them. Finally, we are committed to working on value proposals that allow us to be a relevant player in the financial sector for every Panamanian or resident. The government of Panama is a great client of our operation in the country, and we have managed Panama’s dual issuance for USD1 billion that was placed both on the international and local markets. This participation demonstrates that we have laid the foundations as a financial group that allow us to support the government in its projects, issuances, and capital needs. This is the result of several years of work.

Ana Patricia Salazar

CEO Panamá, Ana Patricia Salazar

We have been operating in Panama for the past 10 years, but we did a relaunch in 2018 and transformed the business into almost a greenfield operation. It took us one year to do the whole relaunch because we looked at every single business area and element. It always starts with technology and the network. In order to be the market leader, we have to become the operator of the future, staying three or four steps ahead of our competitors. To date, we are the only provider that offers LTE Pro (4.5G) in Panama. We are able to deliver higher speeds and optimize our spectrum so that customers can have a better experience. When we launched in 2018, we did so with 30% more LTE penetration than anyone else in the market. We had to choose between starting with LTE only in main cities, a traditional approach, and then growing it progressively, or going all in. Our approach made LTE available to people who had never had access to it before. In the innovation labs, we are setting up products specific for Panama. The government aims at wholesale digitalization, and the market is ready for it.

Harry Abuchaibe

Country Manager, Argos Panama

Seguros FEDPA is a 100% Panamanian company. It is cooperatively owned. This is something that distinguishes us from other companies in the market. We have our origin in the cooperative movement, and 100% of our shareholders are Panamanian cooperatives. This is a unique feat in Panama. We have produced great results for the last 15 years. At present, we are ranked among the top insurance companies; we have a 2.5% market share. We have a leadership position together with the five-largest companies that sell car insurance in Panama. In addition, we have managed to develop collective life insurance, accident insurance, and automobile insurance. Our expansion model is one of our most important achievements. Undoubtedly, we have a strong nationwide presence. Seguros FEDPA either has a direct presence through branches or an indirect presence through agencies. As a matter of fact, we do not only focus on population centers. This allows us to reach many people who previously did not have access to insurance. At present, thanks to our management, we can sell insurance to the most remote places in the country. In terms of the number of insured people and the number of insured risks, we are one of the leading companies.

Amí­lcar Córdoba

General Manager, Seguros FEDPA, S.A.

Our history in Panama started in 2000 through a joint venture, though upon seeing the great potential here, in 2009 we sought to acquire the total participation of Cementos Panamá. After a successful consolidation process based on the understanding of local culture and knowledge transfer, in 2013 we made the brand change and offered all our experience and innovative processes to the local market. Panama is definitely one of the two most relevant markets in the Caribbean and Central America region. It is an important logistics center and has the dynamism of a developed market, despite being relatively small. This market offers us important knowledge and allows us to contribute to the construction of dreams that boost development and transform lives. Thanks to our value proposition we have accompanied the strategic development of the country through the delivery of our products for projects as important as the expansion of the Panama Canal, Terminal 2 of Tocumen Airport, and the Metro. Our higher purpose is to build dreams that boost development and transform lives in Panama. For this, we want to be allies of our customers and carry out infrastructure, housing, and community development projects.

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