Brazil offers $20bn infrastructure projects to UK businesses

Eight Brazilian infrastructure contracts have been opened up to businesses in the UK by a trade delegation from Sao Paulo.

Trade Minister, Lord Green welcomed the delegation, which presented $20bn worth of Public Private Partnership projects to potential British contractors in the City of London on Monday.

The construction and maintenance programmes available included three subway line projects, a monorail, an intercity train network, three prison complex schemes and four new hospitals.

Bids for the first contract will open this month, and bids for the final project will open in November, while construction is due to begin on the different schemes between June 2013 and April 2014.

Lord Green commented: “As Sao Paulo prepares to host the World Cup in 2014, there are some great infrastructure projects ready to get underway in Brazil.

“Our construction sector is one of the world’s biggest and best, and UK companies are ideally placed to capitalise on these excellent opportunities.

“For the London Olympics 2012 we showed the world what we can do. We have already witnessed the incredible regeneration of east London, with world class facilities and a new urban park created.

“We are now working hard, alongside firms around the country to follow up the contacts, networks, announcements and momentum created by the Games.”

Sao Paulo’s deputy governor, Guilherme Afif Domingos, added: “The State of Sao Paulo today is alone the 18th largest economy in the world, accounting for 33% of Brazil’s GDP and it has a credibility track-record to attract investments in infrastructure through partnerships with the private sector.

“Moreover, the European crisis opens a window of opportunity to awaken the healthy appetite of foreign investors in search of good business options in emerging markets.”

“The event will involve a roundtable with UK infrastructure companies and banks, which will be introduced by Lord Green and Deputy Governor Afif.

“There will also be an evening reception at Mansion House, hosted by the Lord Mayor of London, where Lord Green will sign a Memorandum of Understanding between UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Invest Sao Paulo.”


Group 1 Automotive rolls into Brazil with UAB Motors buy

Group 1 Automotive (GPI.N), the United States’ fourth-largest U.S. auto dealer group, has agreed to buy Brazilian automotive retail firm UAB Motors Participacoes S.A for about $146 million in cash and stock, to expand into Brazil’s fast growing market.

Group 1 said on Thursday it reached a definitive agreement to buy UAB for $47.4 million in cash and 1.45 million Group 1 shares, valuing the deal at about $145.6 million based on Group 1’s close on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

The U.S. auto dealer, which will also assume about $62 million of UAB debt, said the deal should be modestly accretive, adding 3 cents to 5 cents a share to its 2013 earnings.

The deal will give Group 1 ownership of 18 dealerships — two Toyota, four Nissan, two BMW, two BMW/MINI, three Renault, three Peugeot, one Land Rover and one Land Rover/Jaguar — which are expected to generate about $650 million in annual revenues.

“To enter one of the largest auto markets in the world with a well-established retail infrastructure and management team provides Group 1 and our shareholders with an incredible growth opportunity,” Group 1 chief executive Earl Hesterberg said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close around February 28, 2013.

Source: Reuters

Brazil attracts growing number of MBA students

In May of last year, Spanish businessman José López Gonzalez, responsible for the small- and medium-sized company portfolio at Bankia, Spain’s fourth largest bank in assets, came to São Paulo to take a course called Brazil: A View from Inside. The one-week intensive course was part of an executive program he was taking at one of the most renowned learning institutions in Spain, IE Business School.

To him, Brazil is one of the best-poised economies to face challenges in the current economic cycle and Latin America’s main development engine. “Besides expanding my professional experience, the course brought me closer to my clients who are developing new business in Brazil,” Mr. González says. Including him, the first edition of the course was made up of 23 foreigners.

Rodrigo Amantea, executive education coordinator at Brazil’s business school Insper, says the program was developed for foreigners interested in getting to know the Brazilian market and who want to do business in the country. In 2012, the course had one inaugural class and for this year, two editions are expected. “Now, along with the agreements we have with international schools that send their students to take the course here, we are going to offer the program directly to the public.” The need to create the program, he says, came from contacts with foreign learning institutions requesting a course for its executive education students. “This demand is coming mainly from  the economic contraction in Europe and all attentions turned toward Brazil,” he says.

Just like Insper, most business schools in the country began to recently offer executive-level courses directed to foreigners and focused on Brazilian reality.

Also last year, Brazil was included in the international masters’ degree route, through Escola Brasileira de Administração Pública e de Empresas da Fundação Getulio Vargas (Ebape/FGV): The International Masters in Practicing Management (IMPM), co-founded by Henry Mintzberg, currently one of business’ biggest experts in management.

“Exposing Brazil is the big motivator of [the country’s] insertion in the program,” says Alvaro Cyrino, vice director of Ebape/FVG, headquartered in Rio. According to him,  classes approach issues such as carrying out big ideas and overcoming hurdles in an unpredictable environment with institutional voids. Along with theory, executives visit national companies to better understand how they do business in an environment fraught with infrastructure difficulties. Begun 15 years ago and directed by experienced professionals, the IMPM is divided into five modules. During a year and a half, students travel around the five host countries of partner institutions: England, Canada, India, China, and, most recently, Brazil.

In a slightly different line of study, Ebape/FGV also begins to integrate, this year, the International Masters of Management (IMM) Executive MBA. It’s a global program geared toward leaders with over ten years of experience, which brings together seven business schools from around the world.

In a slightly different format, Ebape/FGV closed a partnership last year with Spain’s IE Business School, which sent a group of MBA students to take a module about Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Wharton has done the same for three years. Mr. Cyrino says these classes are made up of students interested in understanding the Brazilian market in view of the country’s potential. “In general, they take elective classes that last one or two weeks. It’s a customized program, discussed with the partner school.”

Eighteen students from 14 countries took the inaugural edition of the course. The institution held a study with students to determine to where the trip would be. “Brazil was quite solicited,” says Julia Sanchez, executive director of IE’s MBA Internacional. “The country attracts students as it is an emerging market, with swift economic growth and offers good job opportunities.”

Besides those who arrive via agreement with international programs, Ebape/FGV hosts individual students who come to do an exchange program in Brazil. Last year, there were 75, more than twice those from two years ago. Mr. Cyrino says that the school receives even more requests from those interested without the support of another school, but says the school is at its limit for receiving this type of student. “They have realized that understanding the Brazilian market gives the executive a vanguard position,” says the vice director.

Business school Iese, also from Spain, took on a similar strategy to its competitor IE. In the second year of the school’s full-time MBA, students choose a location outside of Spain to take an optional module of the program. These executives have had the opportunity, since the 2011/2012 academic year, to come to São Paulo to get to know the Brazilian business environment. Alternatives are New York, Shanghai, Singapore and Nairobi. In the first edition, 18 students chose Brazil. In the following academic year, 2012/2013, the number rose to 28.

Brazil’s Ibmec has also bet on the strong and growing demand of foreigners interested in getting to know the Brazilian market. Rio de Janeiro’s unit will start to offer, this year, the Doing Business in Brazil program, with the first class scheduled to begin in March. Besides the country’s economy calling foreigners’ attention, Fernando Schuler, general director at Ibmec, highlights particularities of the city of Rio de Janeiro, such as the 2016 Olympics and the oil and gas and infrastructure sectors. “In view of this scenario and the city, specifically, we have gotten many requests from overseas schools and institutions who want to get to know the Brazilian business environment,” he says. 

The Ibmec course is concentrated in six areas: Brazilian economy, finance and banks, geopolitical analysis, legal aspects, macroeconomics and demographics, as well as cultural aspects and their interference in doing business in the country. “Proposals flooded in from abroad and we didn’t have a program structured to meet this demand,” Mr. Schuler says.

Last year, International Business School (IBS) from São Paulo, started a similar program, called Brazil – Economic Outlook. The first edition of the program had nine students. For the next class, which goes from January 28th to February 7th, there are 15 confirmed students, and for July, a new group is expected, which already has 28 students enrolled.

“The students don’t live in Brazil and are in search of work or business here,” says Ricardo Britto, founder and general director at IBS-SP and course coordinator. “Starting this year we are offering this same format for foreign professionals who are already working in the country,” he says.

Easp/FGV, headquartered in São Paulo, is a pioneer in receiving foreigners interested in the Brazilian scenario. “The school has been receiving students from overseas since its creation. We have had a class formatted for this public since 2001, though, says Rodrigo Bandeira de Mello, director of the program also named Doing Business in Brazil, offered by the institution in São Paulo.

The program lasts one to two weeks includes all-day classes with teachers from the school and guest speakers, visits to companies and socio-cultural activities. The public, according to Mr. Mello, is made up of MBA students who come to the country as part of the course they are taking abroad.

MBA students from international schools are still most of those interested, but there is a new profile with growing participation in the program, according to the school’s directors: groups of executives – from one single foreign company or several companies, but from a single country – who arrive here wanting to know more about Brazilian reality. Mello cites a group of Swedish executives that has come recently, representing companies from the country, like Scania and Volvo, and a group of 40 oil and gas company managers from the French company Total.

According to the director, the number of foreigners in Doing Business in Brazil has doubled since 2010. Last year, there were 500 participants and for the first half of this year there are over 250 enrolled. “Brazil still has a favorable perspective in foreign eyes,” he says.

Source: Valor International



Rio 2016 Olympic Hiring Goals Announced

The Organizing Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games has revealed its plans for “ambitious hiring goals” in the coming year, with at least 224 positions for professionals to be advertised in 2013. By 2016, it is expected the committee will directly employ 4,000 people.

The new openings for 2013 will include posts in a range of areas, from engineers and medical staff to journalists and various technicians, administrative staff and transportation specialists, with “another ninety posts” to become available once the committee’s headquarters are moved to the city center.

“The vast majority of the Organizing Committee’s functions will end in 2016, and the length of contracts will depend on each role, although some will extend into 2017 for administrative reasons,” says Rio 2016 Human Resources Director Henrique Gonzalez in an interview with The Rio Times.

Gonzalez confirms that all positions are open to non-Brazilian professionals, although the announcements given only in Portuguese require a candidate with fluent Portuguese.

Positions not requiring Portuguese are available on the English version of the Rio 2016 site, and those with previous Olympics experience will be prioritized. The organization also confirmed with The Rio Times that Rio 2016 will assist successful foreign candidates in obtaining work visas.

Mr. Gonzalez says that along with a wealth of experience that Rio 2016 workers will gain throughout the event, the Games will leave a legacy for Brazil. According to the Committee, those hired will both gain a raft of new skills, including leadership, planning and management, and be more attractive to the jobs markets as a result of working for Rio 2016.

The Organizing Committee is hoping the “unique cultural exchange” provided by the Olympics, plus competitive market wages, will attract candidates from all over the world.

Already the Rio 2016 organization reports positions such as a Systems Assistant has received 2,433 applications, a Licensing Manager 1,611 and a Sponsors Relations Specialist had 1,471 submissions.

Rio 2016 says 36,000 other professionals will also be hired indirectly. Around 70,000 volunteers are expected to help with the Games and associated events around Rio to cater for the big influx of tourists expected in Brazil.

Hettie Alison, Brazil Manager for MLA TRUE Communications, part of Vero Communications, which was heavily involved in the 2016 Olympic bid, says that both the World Cup and the Olympics offer important opportunities for Brazil and for the companies and brands that are connected to the events:

“[We] set up an office in Rio to link into the increased demand in Brazil for agencies with international sport experience. We did that because of a belief in Brazil. We can already see top-level sponsors [involved],” Ms. Alison tells The Rio Times.

International development consultant Martin Gower-Smith, who advised on Olympic business as part of a UK delegation in Brazil, says that, as well as jobs, the Olympics provide a great short-term boost to national pride and to business, although admits the long-term benefits are less clear.

He tells The Rio Times that he is hopeful that Rio can follow in the footsteps of Barcelona, which has flourished into one of Europe’s most popular short break destinations after it transformed large rundown, derelict parts of the city to host the Olympics.

Throughout Brazil, millions of reais have been plowed into new stadiums and infrastructure projects aimed at making the 2014 World Cup and Olympics memorable events that will also benefit Brazilians, and Rio 2016 had already directly hired 371 employees by the end of 2012.

Those interested in applying for Rio 2016 positions should visit:

Source: The Rio Times

Small businesses can go further by exporting to Brazil

One international market hat should be considered more by small businesses looking to expand is Brazil. In the past decade, Brazil has become one of the fastest growing emerging markets. It has the largest economy in Latin America and the seventh largest in the world; in 2012, it overtook the UK in the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) World Economic League Table.

The prime minister, David Cameron, travelled to Brazil in September and came back encouraging UK businesses to boost their exports to the country. According to UKTI, the government agency charged with increasing exports, Brazil is one of the world’s most rapidly developing economies with a GDP per head greater than China.

For small companies, Brazil has lots to offer. It will host two of the world’s largest sporting events in the next four years; the Fifa World Cup in 2014 and the summer Olympics in 2016. The accompanying investment in new infrastructure must lead to new business and partnership opportunities.

However, as with any business venture, it is essential that entrepreneurs understand the dynamics of the business environment of the market which they are targeting. Here are a few things to consider when looking at breaking into the Brazilian market:

Brazil’s culture

Before any small business considers exporting to Brazil, its needs to do some research as there are 26 different administrative states all with their own character, traditions and economic profiles. Finding the best one for your business can make all the difference in generating the best results.

Take advantage of partnerships and joint ventures

It’s vital to understand the regulations attached to the business sector before embarking on any venture. Many small businesses face obstacles exporting to Brazil due to the taxation system. There are 60 separate processes involved in opening a business in Brazil, which take on average 120 days to complete. Businesses are often advised to enter the Brazilian market through a partnership or joint venture to allow time to learn the market from someone who’s already familiar with it.

These helpful sites provide useful information on the market and regulations:

• The Brazil Business offers information on topics such as tax, import, legal and investment.

• The British Embassy Brazil assists businesses on every step of the exporting journey in both the UK and overseas.

• The International Trade Advisers work with companies on developing a new market strategy to ensure it is tailored to their needs.

Tap into networks

Businesses should not just form individual partnerships but join the right networks. Such networks enable a business to make strategic connections, build up a customer base, and start to understand the market opportunities and demands before fully committing to a full operation abroad.

LinkedIn groups like Brazil – All things Business are good starting points for making initial connections with people in the country.

Members organisation the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain hosts more than 20 events a year and produces newsletters or research reports, including Latin America Business Monitor and the quarterly Brazil Business Brief.

Opportunities for women entrepreneurs

Nearly half of Brazil’s entrepreneurs are women. Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, has encouraged many women to start their own ventures. The second annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) conference was held in Brazil. Dell has also created the Women Powering Business Network on LinkedIn to nurture a community of female business leaders by providing access to knowledge, experts, and capital. Powered by Women 2.0 and Ellas 2.0, it reaches a broader community of women entrepreneurs in Spanish-speaking communities in the US and Latin America.

Let technology work for you

Today’s technology allows businesses to communicate in real time and work together as they navigate the complexities of serving customers. For businesses looking to expand internationally, it is their ability to carry out cross-border trade and to provide levels of service and customer support that will set them apart from the competition.

Brazil is highly digitally advanced. Small businesses that see technology as a competitive advantage have an opportunity to take control and scale a business. Brazil is ranked the sixth largest IT market in the world, with more than 70 million people online in the country.

Most leading-edge technology is developed by small-medium businesses, emerging into responsive businesses that change with their customers’ needs. This is similar with the emerging economy as new technologies are adopted immediately.

A wealth of support and resources are available to aid entrepreneurs who are looking to make the leap. Businesses that are thinking about exporting into new, overseas markets should design a comprehensive plan that includes understanding cultural differences, tapping into networks and looking into partnerships or joint ventures as it will make the move smoother for the business.

When it comes to exporting goods to new markets or expanding a business, many people think taking a small business global is “mission impossible” – but that could not be further from the truth.

Source: The Guardian

Burson-Marsteller Study Reveals Growth in Corporate Use of Social Media Platforms across Latin America

Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm, today launched the Latin America Social Media Check-up 2013, which examines the use of social media platforms by the top 225 companies in Latin America. The study looks at how these companies use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and, for the first time, Google Plus.

According to the study, 65 percent of companies in Latin America are now active on at least one social media platform, marking an increase of 16 percentage points since 2010 when the first Latin America Social Media Study was conducted. Facebook maintained its popularity, and the study showed an 11 percentage point increase in use of the platform since 2010. However, Twitter now rivals Facebook as the platform of choice. Indeed, more than half of the companies (53 percent) examined have at least one Twitter account, an increase of 21 percentage points from the previous study.

“This year’s study not only shows the rising presence of companies on social media platforms, but also a significant increase in their engagement with stakeholders through these channels,” said Ramiro Prudencio, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Latin America. “More than half of corporate accounts engage with followers through @mentions or retweets, and the number of likes per company Facebook pages grew exponentially. Rather than pushing content, companies are establishing dialogues with their audiences. This two-way method of communication is fairly new in the region.”

In addition to increasing their use of social media platforms, companies are also creating specific profiles for each of their brands, allowing them to engage with target audiences in one or even multiple markets.

“There is evidence that companies are creating content to meet the needs of each of their stakeholders,” said Cely Carmo, Lead Digital Strategist for Latin America. “The usage of social media is becoming more strategic, and both content and language need to be platform and audience specific.”

Burson-Marsteller compared data collected during 2012 with Burson-Marsteller’s Latin America Social Media Study 2010, The Global Social Media Check-Up 2010 and The Global Social Media Check-Up 2012. The sample included the 25 top companies, based on revenue, from each of the following markets: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela.

To access the complete analysis of these findings, visit

Other key findings include:

  • The average number of followers per corporate Twitter account was higher in Brazil (66,958) and Mexico (43,017) than any other market.
  • The percentage of companies with Facebook pages more than doubled in Argentina (48 percent in 2012 v. 20 percent in 2010), Brazil (52 percent in 2012 v. 16 percent in 2010), Peru (52 percent in 2012 v. 25 percent in 2010) and Puerto Rico (24 percent in 2012 v. 5 percent in 2010).
  • Companies in Peru are most responsive to Facebook fans, averaging 27 responses to fans’ posts per corporate page in one week of data collection.
  • Nearly one-third of companies (30 percent) are actively sharing content on YouTube.
  • Forty percent of companies in Brazil, 32 percent of companies in Mexico and 40 percent of companies in Peru are on Google Plus.

Source: Yahoo Finance