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Ana Maria Antunes dos Reis, President of CETENCO

Interview - November 24, 2011
CETENCO is devoted to the community; it wants to help its people develop


Ms. Reis we would like to introduce our interview by talking about the remarkable economical situation that Angola is facing now, nearly ten years after the Peace Treaty was signed. Could you please tell us what in your view have been the most important achievements for Benguela during this period?

Back in the years 2003 and 2004 there were no channels of communication due to the war which had been very severe in Benguela; there were no roads or villages. We started working in the interior of the province as there was no infrastructure there.

CETENCO started working in partnership with the government; we helped building roads, housing and the infrastructure for hospitals and villages. The Government implemented the Habitational Plan which consisted of the construction of the houses of the villagers in Benguela as well as around Angola. The land had to be restructured and the infrastructure for the water systems and electricity had to be constructed as well. The most important thing was to undertake construction with order and logic and we helped with the construction of more than 50 hectares of land.

We would now like to know the story behind CETENCO, how did it start and what were the biggest challenges the company faced when entering the Angolan market.

In Portugal we were in the Real Estate sector, we were developing and selling houses. When we came to Angola we started constructing the sites for private owners as well as for the government. We have built 320 houses and an entire neighborhood. Everything was created here. Our biggest challenges were that you cannot find construction materials here in Angola, everything is imported and the few materials that are actually produced here stay in Luanda, therefore it was very difficult to find iron and materials for the foundations of a house as well as the plumbing. At the beginning we used to buy the materials we needed in Portugal and bring them here but the years passed and now we have our own quarry.

CETENCO is expanding its size and trying to accommodate its structure to its needs in Angola and so striving for vertical integration in its services. Could you comment a little further how are you doing so?

Yes, we are teaching our labor force as well as training all of the workers for their job here at CETENCO. They work for us as autonomous employees but they have a very strong working bond with CETENCO. Even more, all of our administrative staff has a bank accounts which is not very common here in Angola. We believe one of the greatest achievements of CETENCO is the relationship with its workers: we have very strong personal and professional bonds as the social and human part of the company is very well developed. CETENCO also has very good logistics and communications systems.

What are the main projects that CETENCO is working on at the moment?

In line with the Habitational Plan, we are registering all of the land where we construct and have a public deed for each of the construction sites which is something very unusual here in Angola. That way we give stability to the people as well. Even so we now provide loans to the buyers of our houses in order to help them buy a house. We are very proud to say that everybody knows us in Benguela and we are recognized by the quality of our work, we try to help the community in every way we can.

What are the plans of expansion that CETENCO has?

Our expansion is focused on getting to more areas of the interior of Benguela and we are thinking of going to Huambo as well. Not to Luanda where we believe that for our sector the market is very saturated and there are better opportunities elsewhere.

CETENCO has a very important partnership with the government in Benguela as it is one of your biggest clients.

Definitely. We have been working in Baia Farta which is a very nice region in Benguela. We have been hired to construct 10 compounds, with houses and suites for the staff working there, a Police Headquarters and a part for external medical consultation in a Hospital. In accordance with the Habitational Plan, we worked together with other building companies to the rebuilding of the houses of the region.

Globus Vision is a company which works with a leading German magazine called Capital where its readers are looking to create alliances with local companies in Angola to start a business here. Is CETENCO looking to increase the share capital of the company and look for new partners?

CETENCO is a small company: it earns yearly less than 10 million dollars, we are two partners each of them owning 50% of the share capital and we are interested in having more partners in Angola. The market needs training and know-how and the truth is that the Germans are very welcome: they are pioneers in technology, engineering and know-how.

This is a much more stable country than for example Brazil, and with a little you can do a lot, so guess what you could achieve with a lot! There is a lot to do in Angola. There are many opportunities and many things to do! We are working on a business of prefabricated houses and we need to launch a business of woodwork too.

How does CETENCO care about the environmental impact and the quality of the capacitating of its people?

CETENCO is a strong believer of taking care of the environment and not building without limits, that is another reason why we need the help of the German investors to bring us more know-how in that sense.

Angola is a calm country, it is stable and there are many opportunities here but the Angolans need partners to keep growing even more.

How would you describe CETENCO with adjectives and what message would you give our investors?

CETENCO is devoted to the community; it wants to help its people develop. We want to build an entire new neighborhood to hold all the Benguelese. In addition, we already have been constructing medical centers, small housing areas and schools. But we want to do more things, we do not stop, we have the quality and capacity to keep growing.

We want to create a company focused in the metal industry, woodwork, a quarry, and we need to train our people; we want to construct an adjacent office to train and restructure the company. We have many ideas and we want to consolidate them so come and invest with us!!!