I would like to start by presenting the company for those who don’t know us well, not least given our culture of keeping a relatively low profile. Grupo Visabeira encompasses more than 100 companies in 16 countries and offers products and services in more than 100 national markets. The group is divided into three sub-holdings: Visabeira Global, operating in the fields of telecommunications, energy, technologies and building and construction; Visabeira Indústria, operating in the field of ceramics and glassware, the manufacture of kitchens, the processing of natural resources and the manufacture of personal protective equipment; and Visabeira Turismo, Imobiliária e Serviços, operating in the fields of hospitality and real estate. In order to undertake all these activities, Grupo Visabeira has more than 12,000 employees of different nationalities in the various countries where it is established.
At a time when we hope to overcome the current economic and social difficulties caused by the health crisis, we aim to boost the group’s growth by focusing on distinctive factors such as innovation, digitisation and internationalisation. In recent years Visabeira has been developing management tools and associated routines in most businesses, with a view to fully adopting advanced digitisation processes. The skills that we have been able to develop, by dematerialising many processes and tasks, are helping us overcome the current situation without major organisational upheavals.
In addition to Angola and Mozambique, where we have for several decades overseen pioneering projects in Africa with TV Cabo Angola and TV Cabo Mozambique, we have been focusing on the growth in telecommunications and energy network engineering services at the European level.
Europe already represents 87% of Grupo Visabeira’s turnover. In addition to Portugal we are established in France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy, above all with our core activity of telecommunications and energy network engineering services, which is still our fastest growing business area.
Growth and the business dynamics in these markets have been predominantly organic, although we have made acquisitions in some countries through our unit Constructel Visabeira, so strengthening our skills and technical resources and optimising synergies. This policy, in conjunction with Constructel Visabeira’s operations in these territories, has helped make this company one of the largest, most respected and reputable service providers of engineering services for European telecommunications and energy networks.
In the ceramics and glass industry, the results of recent months of the Vista Alegre group point to a gradual recovery, as a result of both the corporate dynamics and the company’s resilience. In line with this recovery, Vista Alegre has secured new and important supply contracts for the second half of 2021. These have added to the existing dynamic order book of its vast distribution network, which has evidenced significant activity of late. Currently, Vista Alegre sells to more than 70 countries and foreign markets represent about 80% of its business.
A combination of factors has contributed to the brand’s recovery in recent years: the repositioning of the brand, a clear investment in product strategy, a stress on communication (mainly online and PR), an updating of and investment in productive capacity, and internationalisation. The key factor was, without a doubt, the decision to put the consumer at the centre of the organisation; to this end, a demanding policy of new product development was defined. At the same time, these products were promoted and made known to the general public in Portugal and abroad through trade fairs, branded outlets and a strengthening of communication. In parallel, a strategy was defined for enhancing the brand’s image with consumers, who now see it as a prestigious luxury brand.
The tourism sector has been badly affected by the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, but there are already now signs pointing to a recovery to take place in the second half of 2021, and in a more sustainable fashion in 2022. In the meantime, the hotel units of the Montebelo Hotels & Resorts chain have undergone renovation and upgrades to improve their infrastructure, responding to some needs and updating equipment. In 2022 we plan to open a hotel in Lisbon, in the Chiado neighbourhood, and, in Alcobaça, a hotel designed by leading Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto Moura in one of the cloisters of that city’s famous monastery.
In summary, despite the uncertainties that have dominated recent times, Grupo Visabeira is committed to pressing ahead with internationalising its businesses further and moving up the value chain, adding services and intelligence. We are very focussed on growth in areas such as renewable energy, the construction of new fibre-optic networks across Europe, investments in 5G technology and smart energy networks. We are in step with the future.