Saturday 21 September 2019

Aircraft and car manufacturer Brazil offers Latin America opportunities

Minister of State for Trade, Business and EU Digital Single Market, Pat Breen TD led a five-day trade mission to Brazil in September. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Minister of State for Trade, Business and EU Digital Single Market, Pat Breen TD led a five-day trade mission to Brazil in September. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Melissa Feddis

With a population of 208 million and an expanding middle class, Brazil is Latin America's largest economy. Now emerging from recession, growth in the market is forecast to stand at 1.2pc for 2018 and 2.5pc in 2019 according to the OECD.

Brazil accounts for 21pc of all exports by Enterprise Ireland-backed companies to Latin America. In 2017, Irish SMEs grew their sales in the country to €42m.

To strengthen business relationships in this increasingly important market, Pat Breen, Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, led a five-day trade mission to Brazil in September, accompanied by eight companies supported by Enterprise Ireland.

Brazil's major industries are petrochemical, automotive, and agri-food. Key sectors targeted by Irish companies include engineering, fintech, life sciences, telecom software, Internet of Things, and education services. Brazil is the world's third-largest aircraft manufacturer and has a well-established car manufacturing sector, areas in which Irish companies are increasingly competitive internationally.

During September's trade mission, Mr Breen opened the new Sao Paulo office of Crowley Carbon, an energy services business that helps to reduce energy consumption for global industrial and commercial customers. The Co Wicklow company employs five staff in Brazil and aims to employ a further 10 in 2019.

"Opening our new office in São Paulo marks the latest expansion of our international business," said Crowley Carbon founder and chief executive Norman Crowley.

"Having a significant presence in Brazil will support the delivery of innovative solutions to existing and future customers. Our story is a great example of how an Irish organisation can transform into a global enterprise.

"The driving force behind our unprecedented growth has been the high calibre of our service and quality of our people, which has led us to triple in size each year for the last three years."

Smurfit Kappa, a global Irish company, also has a significant presence in Brazil, having acquired two packaging businesses in 2015 with an investment of €186m. The company recently opened an Experience Centre in Sao Paulo.

Combilift, the Irish materials handling and storage manufacturer, has achieved €20m in export sales to Brazil since 2008. The company's largest client in the market is retail and online giant Magazine Luiza, which owns Brazil's largest fleet of Combilift trucks.

HealthBeacon, an Irish medical technology company, promoted its smart sharps system during the trade mission. Earlier this year HealthBeacon secured regulatory approval to bring their product to the Brazilian market.

Uniao Quimica, one of the biggest Brazilian pharmaceutical companies specialising in both human and animal health, hosted the minister at its Brasilia site for a meeting with HealthBeacon and Prodieco, a global Irish engineering firm specialising in pharma process lines and blister packs.

Education is an important link between Ireland and Brazil. The country's main language is Brazilian Portuguese with only 5pc of the population speaking English, according to a 2014 study for the British Council. Approximately 16,000 Brazilian students come to Ireland each year, the majority to study English. Increasing the number of third-level students and research projects between the two countries are key goals.

In recent years, Irish firms have sustained impressive growth in Brazil, even as the country as a whole experienced low growth, a sign of the valuable opportunities worth pursuing in Latin America's leading economy. Successfully accessing the Brazilian market, however, requires resources, market research, and most often, a local presence, whether in association with an established local business, or by appointing a team on the ground. This is particularly important here as Brazil's standards and regulations often differ from those familiar elsewhere in the world.

With an office in Sao Paulo, Enterprise Ireland is on hand to provide advice and supports that can help you win business in this exciting market.

  • To learn more, register for our webinar Doing Business in Latin America:
  • Melissa Feddis is manager for South America at Enterprise Ireland

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