The Business Year: Portugal 2023

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Economy | Green Economy & Energy | Finance | Industry & Agroindustry | IT & Media Transport | Construction & Real Estate | Health | Education | Tourism PORTUGAL 2023


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When asked, “What are the advantages of doing business in Portugal?” our interviewees for The Business Year: Portugal 2023 struggled to elicit an answer that did not sound obvious. The advantages are plentiful and apparent. Somehow pointing them out explicitly is an exercise so straightforward that it becomes tricky. Many interviewees focused on the weather, the quality of the Portuguese workforce, and political stability. Some answers even seemed to cross between the business and lifestyle realms.

Portugal is attracting investment of astounding magnitude because the investment rationale is simple: Portugal is an idyllic place to live and work.

Matters of lifestyle are the anchor via which Portugal boosts critical sectors. The education sector, with private universities, has tapped into lifestyle to promote the country as a destination for higher learning. Universities are flooded with international students who understand that Portugal offers an unmatched student experience. Nova SBE, a leading business school in Portugal, hosts almost as many international students as Portuguese. Simultaneously, the real estate sector has also tapped into lifestyle to promote real estate investments in Portugal, residential or hospitality. The residential real estate market is dominated by international buyers who, in addition to the regions of Algarve and Alentejo, are eyeing cities like Lisbon and Porto to live and retire in. As

President of the Chamber

of Commerce and Industry Portugal, summarized succinctly: “Portugal offers an excellent environment to live and do business.”

This unbreakable link between lifestyle and business is a unique asset driving economic growth in Portugal. It accounts for the internationalization of business. Moreover, it is a fundamental quality that surpasses economic cycles and motivates investor spending even in today’s sellers’ market. Being a great place to live permeates all business decisions regarding investment in Portugal.

The dynamic shaping business in Portugal is internationalization. Accelerated by COVID-19, Portugal is luring a swathe of digital nomads and roving entrepreneurs. In money terms, this reflects as a potent capital inflow. The Portuguese business leaders and economic experts we interviewed for this report mentioned that that inflow is precisely what the country needs. The business conditions in Portugal are the fertile soil for foreign-financed projects to take hold. The ripple effects of this economic boom have the Portuguese unemployment rate at record lows. They are also creating life-changing opportunities for the local business community, with service provision opportunities or complementary businesses.

Portugal is experiencing a moment of extraordinary economic momentum. The interviewees in this publication are savvy business leaders taking advantage of the juncture, utilizing it as a multiplier of prosperity. ✖

ISBN 978-1-80506-006-2

This publication has been produced by The Business Year International’s expert cadre of journalists, writers, editors, and designers. The content contained within is original and was compiled by our team on the ground.

In partnership with:

5 From the editor’s desk

9 Executive summary

11 Timeline

13 António Costa, Prime Minister, Republic of Portugal • Inside perspective


15 Strength in numbers? • Chapter summary

16 António Saraiva, Former President, Confederaçao Empresarial Portugal (CIP) • Interview

17 Rui Miguel Nabeiro, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Portugal (CCIP) • Interview

18 TBY Analytics Portugal 2023

19 I understand • Focus: The Lusophone world

21 António Martins da Costa, President, American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Portugal)

• Interview

22 Portugal’s potential for foreign investment under the spotlight

• Focus: Unlocking Portugal: Investment Insights & Opportunities

24 Miguel Seco, President, Portuguese-Spanish Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCILE)

• Interview

25 Bernardo Maciel, Partner, Yunit Consulting

• Interview

26 Setting the stage for success

• Focus: Portugal’s recovery and resilience plan (RRP)

27 Helping people find their own piece of paradise in Portugal since 2007 • Communiqué: Casaiberia

29 Voices from the sector


31 Picking up pace • Chapter summary

32 Pedro Amaral Jorge, CEO, Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) • Interview

33 Miguel Pernes, Country Managing Director Portugal, Hitachi Energy

• Interview

34 Renewables • Forum

36 Shared concerns, shared solutions

• Focus: Green optimization


39 Money talks • Chapter summary

40 Nuno Amado, Chairman, Millennium bcp • Interview

41 Finance players Forum

42 Finance consultants • Forum

43 Marta Graça Ferreira, President, Real Vida Seguros • Interview

45 Keeping it regular • Focus: Antimoney laundering

Printing partner
33 40 17


47 The new revolution • Chapter summary

48 Marco Galinha, CEO, Grupo Bel

• Interview

49 Like peas in a pod • Focus: Data and industry

50 Appliances Forum

51 João Paulo Ferreira, Country Manager, Haier • Interview

52 Jorge de Melo, CEO, Sovena

• Interview

54 Food • B2B

55 Sébastien Bidault, General Manager Portugal & Angola, Atlas Copco • Interview


57 Digital life • Chapter summary

60 Alexandre Rosa, CEO, Noesis

• Interview

61 Fernando Reino da Costa, President & CEO, Unipartner

• Interview

62 Making things attractive • Focus: Innovation & technology incentives

64 IT consultants • Forum

65 Benedita Miranda, General Manager Multilingual Region, Foundever™ • Interview

66 Hugo Pinto, Partner, BI4ALL

• Interview

67 A brand that combines human and digital • Communiqué: Foundever

68 Francisco Pedro Presas Pinto de Balsemão, CEO, Impresa • Interview

69 Fernando Silva, CEO, Revista Business Portugal • Interview


71 All aboard • Chapter summary

72 Antonio Alberto Sotto Mayor Vaz, Director, AASMVAZ • Interview

73 Automotive • B2B

74 On the right track • Focus: National Railway Plan (PFN)

77 Ports • B2B



79 Real good • Chapter summary

80 Hugo Santos Ferreira, President, Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors (APPII) • Interview

81 António Carlos Rodrigues, CEO, Grupo Casais • Interview

82 David Poston, CEO, Portugal Homes • Interview

84 A window on things

• Infographic: Real estate sector

86 João Campos Forte, CEO, Tecniarte • Interview

88 Developers • Forum

90 Jorge Ferreira Mendes, Managing Partner, Mencovaz • Interview

92 Pedro Lancastre, CEO, JLL

• Interview

94 Realtors • Forum

96 TBY Analytics Portugal 2023: Real estate & construction

97 Daniel Tareco, Board Member, Habitat Invest • Interview

98 Filipe Nóbrega, Managing Director, KONE Ibérica • Interview

99 José Dias, Sales Director, Hydro Building Systems Portugal

• Interview

101 Séverine Boutel, CEO, Nhood

• Interview

102 Voices from the sector

104 Ayres Neto, Managing Partner, The Agency • Interview

105 Paulo Lopes, General Manager, Casaiberia • Interview

106 An action plan • Focus: New real estate code

108 José Covas, General Manager, Aura Real Estate Experts (Aura REE) Interview

109 Retail • B2B

111 Claudio Guerra, Country Manager Portugal, Norton Edificios Industriais • Interview

111 Marco Santos, Head of Region Portugal, Arcadis • Interview

7 65 72 80 51


113 Pharma-suitable • Chapter summary

114 Manuel Pizarro, Minister of Health • Interview

115 Nelson Pires, General Manager, Jaba Recordati • Interview

116 Alberto Navia-Osório, Country Manager, Viatris Portugal

• Interview

117 Miguel Garcia, CEO & Founder, LxBio

• Interview

118 International pharma • Forum

119 Vasco Antunes Pereira, CEO, Lusíadas Saúde • Interview

121 Germano de Sousa, CEO & Founder, Grupo Germano de Sousa (GdS) • Interview

121 Carlos Monteiro, Founder & President, Biojam Holding Group

• Interview

122 Alexandre Lourenço, Executive Board Member & Co-Founder, GrupoConcept • Interview

123 National platform for innovative biopharmaceuticals • Communiqué: LxBio

124 Beach and doctor’s appointment

• Focus: Medical tourism

127 Francisco Sá Pena, CEO, NB Clinic Interview


129 A win win • Chapter summary

131 Ana Cristina Perdigão, General Director, National Agency Erasmus+ (ANE)

• Interview

132 Carlos Santiago Neto Brandão, President, Estoril Higher School of Hotel Management and Tourism (ESHTE)

• Interview

134 João Duque, Dean, ISEG, Lisbon School of Economics & Management • Interview

135 João Calvão da Silva, ViceChancellor, Universidade de Coimbra (UC) & President of the Board, AULP

• Interview

136 Cristina Montalvão Sarmento Secretary-General, Association of Portuguese-speaking Universities (AULP)

• Interview

137 Daniel Traça, Former Dean, Nova SBE

• Interview

137 Rodrigo Marques Guimarães Junior, Founding Associate, Rodrigo Guimarães Institute

• Interview

138 Come one, come all • Focus: Internationalized education


141 Smooth operator • Chapter summary

142 Luís Araújo, President, National Tourism Board of Portugal & President, European Travel Commission (ETC) • Interview

143 Gonçalo Rebelo de Almeida, CEO, Vila Galé Hotels • Interview

144 Miguel Mendia Montez Champalimaud, General Manager, The Oitavos • Interview

145 César Silva, General Manager, Corinthia Lisbon • Interview

148 Those behind the magic • Focus: Developing skilled tourism workers


The Business Year is published by The Business Year International, Trident Chambers, P.O. Box 146, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The Business Year is a registered trademark of The Business Year International, Copyright The Business Year International Inc. 2023. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrievable system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopied, recorded, or otherwise without prior permission of The Business Year International Inc. The Business Year International Inc. has made every effort to ensure that the content of this publication is accurate at the time of printing. The Business Year International Inc. makes no warranty, representation, or undertaking, whether expressed or implied, nor does it assume any legal liability, direct or indirect, or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information contained in this publication. The paper used in the production of this publication comes from well-managed sources.

8 Portugal 2023 114 119 131 142
thebusinessyear thebusinessyear thebusinessyear TBYupdates thebusinessyear


Portugal has turned things around superbly since the 2010s and is today leveraging EU funds and its strong appeal to foreign investors, especially in real estate, to build a more sustainable economy.

THE INFLOW OF FOREIGN CAPITAL shaped the Portuguese economy during 2023. The main sectors boosted were hospitality, real estate, and education. The US ranked as the number one country by investment volume for the first time. The increase in investment is creating inflation pressures and affecting low-income nationals strongly. The government is adjusting critical aspects of the policy to correct inflationary pressures.


The construction of high-end residential projects and renovation are occupying the time of Portuguese construction companies. EUR30.7 billion was spent on residential real estate in 2022, representing 40% of Portuguese GDP. The construction ecosystem caters to expats with high purchasing power lured to Portugal by hypermobility options, lifestyle, and incentives such as the non-habitual residency agreement (NHR). This trend is driving residential prices and contributing to an expansion outward of urban centers. The government is weighing possible solutions to increase the availability of housing. Some proposals are strengthening law protections for tenants to encourage more properties to the market. The Mais Habitação program raised eyebrows with radical proposals such as granting properties with a commercial-use license the right of use as residential spaces.


The country’s higher education institutions are building a solid rep-

utation worldwide. Five Portuguese business schools appear on the Financial Times’ Top 100 ranking of business schools worldwide. Portugal is a unique option for Europeans considering school abroad in a post-Brexit landscape. Heightened collaboration with the private sector is another dynamic strengthening higher learning. Universities are designing curricula together with industry to ensure that teaching reflects the application of knowledge post-graduation. This situation contrasts starkly with the reality of public universities, where low wage salaries have motivated teacher strikes.


Portugal was selected as the top European tourism destination by the World Travel Awards 2022. The country has extensive experience receiving travelers. It has become a source of substantial economic development, as services linked to tourism take advantage of the industry’s spillover. Hospitality-related construction is one such sector. The country’s levels of English proficiency are another advantage that contributes to Portugal’s unique value proposition in tourism.


Portugal’s healthcare system ranks among the best in the world in the verticals of quality and coverage. Pharmaceutical companies are aware of the strong professionalism of local health workers and believe in the country’s potential as a home to carry out clinical trial studies. Red tape is one factor that impedes R&D spending in the

Image: Michele Rinaldi

country. In parallel, the country struggles with a scarcity of doctors, especially in rural areas. To correct this, Portugal incentivizes foreign-born professionals to choose Portugal for residency through attractive work conditions and benefits packages. The country is also attempting to expand the number of school graduates choosing a career in medicine.


This year, President António Costa announced one of the decade’s most notable projects of national interest: constructing a high-speed train line between Lisbon and Porto. To be finalized by 2030, the project will connect the two largest Portuguese cities via a new highspeed rail, with an estimated travel time of one hour and 15 minutes. EUR10.5 billion has been allocated to this project. Portugal is highly competitive in transport-specific metrics with a developed railway network and ample port capacity. The country is investing heavily in the modernization of ports and is expanding its urban and suburban transport network links.


The two most sought-after skills within tech are tech-savviness and foreign language skills. Portugal is a powerhouse in terms of English proficiency. It ranks ninth out of 111 countries in the EF English Proficiency Index 2022. This, coupled with low salaries by European standards, has made the country attractive as a base for tech talent. Foundever, for example, made Portugal its hub for the multilingual region. Other advantages make Portugal interesting for IT development, such as an attractive lifestyle brand that lures digital nomads. Portugal is keen to tap into that potential with symbolic gestures such as hosting the Web Summit.


Portugal’s cultural links with Africa and Latin America make the country strategic for disseminating technology. Portugal has taken this on board, hosting technology consultants and fintech companies with a global projection to their business. One area where this is evident is in technology for financial compliance, or regtech. International

compliance requirements are increasingly stricter, with pressure on lenders for complete client information. This has spurred a breeding ground for fintech companies in Portugal. Compliance experience is aplenty in Portugal, making the country a leader that can share its experience. Institutions abroad are importing Portuguese regtech, for example, AML, or anti-money laundering technology. This is further strengthened by the fact that former colonies have been seen to draft legislation based on Portuguese or European standards.


The energy crisis has spurred a frenzy of investments in energy optimization, in Portugal like all of Europe. This injection of economic activity is driving job creation. It is also renovating assets such as production plants and buildings, anticipating the environmental compliance laws of tomorrow. The need for energy security accelerated a green energy transition already underway because of net-zero emissions targets.

The renewable energy sector has also benefited from pressure on energy pricing. Energy inflation supports the rationale for renewable energy generation projects. The country is leading the way with innovative methods such as offshore wind. One of the biggest obstacles in the renewable energy vision is a tight grid capacity.


The Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) is an investment blueprint based on three structuring dimensions: resilience, climate change, and digital transition. It is the Portuguese roadmap within Europe’s Next Generation package. It includes reforms to increase the efficiency of the labor market, public spending, and the healthcare sector. It also has reforms to contribute to income convergence, i.e. narrowing the productivity gap between Portugal and other European economies. Portugal is anchoring its economic program for the future on the RRP. The plan consists of 83 investments and 32 reforms. They will be supported by EUR13.9 billion in grants and EUR2.7 billion in loans. 38% of the plan will support climate objectives, and 22% of the program will foster the digital transition. All reforms and investments must be implemented by August 2026. ✖



SOURCE: EC 5.4%e




10 Portugal 2023
1.5 1 0.5 0 -0.5 -1 -1.5 -2 -2.5 -3 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
THE WORLD BANK 2016 2018 2020 2017 2019 2021 253.7 221.4 229 206.4 242.3 240



The government creates a new type of visa for foreign workers




Portugal’s government unveils a EUR9.2billion plan to modernize and expand the country’s rail network



The Council of Ministers approves a package of EUR2.4 billion to help families amidst the cost-of-living crisis



The government announces plans to invest EUR7 billion in renewable energy over the next five years

The EU approves a partnership agreement with Portugal, with the country receiving a total of EUR22.6 billion in EU funding for the 2021-2027 period



Portugal’s unemployment rate falls to 6.1%, the lowest level in over a decade



Portugal’s exports reach a record high of EUR60.5 billion in 2022



Portugal’s government approves a EUR5.5 billion investment plan for the country’s healthcare system

11 TIMELINE Contents
12 Portugal 2023

reliable PARTNER

In light of global conflicts and the pressing need for climate change action around the world, Prime Minister António Costa highlights Portugal’s commitments to upholding peace and keeping to its energy transition and climate actions.

IN 1945, DELEGATES FROM 51 COUNTRIES met in San Francisco to found the United Nations. They made a commitment to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, and “spare future generations the scourge of war.”

77 years later, we still haven’t achieved these goals. Around the world, many children—and even adults—have never known peace. In Europe today, we are confronted with the unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, in flagrant violation of international law, primarily of the United Nations Charter. We cannot, therefore, fail to condemn once again the Russian aggression and here to reinforce Portugal’s support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Peace was not definitively won in 1945, but the world has changed radically since then. We need a representative, agile, and functional Security Council that is able to respond to the challenges of the 21st century without becoming paralyzed, and whose actions are scrutinized by the other members of the UN. A Security Council that incorporates a comprehensive view of security, recognizing, inter alia, the role of climate change as an accelerant of conflict. A Security Council where the African continent, and at least Brazil and India, have seats. And where small countries are more fairly represented. A global vision of security is essential, with the New Agenda for Peace advocated by the Secretary General. An agenda focused on conflict prevention and capable of ensuring adequate, predictable, and sustainable funding for peacebuilding.

Over the past decades, my country has established itself as a reliable partner for

global peace and stability. Currently, at the service of the UN, we are present in four theaters of peacekeeping operations, namely in MINUSCA. I am very proud of the recognition our military and security forces have received for their contribution to crisis and conflict management on all continents under the aegis of the UN, NATO, or the EU.

It is undeniable that there is a link between climate and security. Today, more than ever, we are feeling the effects of climate change. Countries like Portugal, which suffer from coastal erosion, increased droughts, and the drama of forest fires, clearly understand the urgency of climate action. We hope that COP-27 in Sharm-el-Sheik can be a moment that leads to an inclusive transition, ensuring a more balanced allocation of climate finance between mitigation and adaptation.

Portugal has been at the forefront of the decarbonization process, having been the first to commit to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, as early as COP 22 in Marrakech. We believe that this goal is feasible from an economic and technological point of view, a promoter of employment and a generator of social justice.

We will seek to accelerate these commitments as we have already done with our goal of ending electricity production through coal, which we achieved last year. By 2026, we want to increase from 60% to 80% the weight of renewables in the electricity consumed. To this end, we will continue the strong investment we have been making in solar, wind, and ocean energies, and invest in the use of renewable gases such as green hydrogen.

The sea is one of the platforms where climate is projected. We welcome the active participation of all states in the sec-

ond Oceans Conference, which we had the honor of co-organizing with Kenya. The Lisbon Declaration constitutes a real action plan for achieving SDG14 on the conservation and sustainable use of ocean resources. As part of the commitments made by the various countries and entities present, Portugal also reiterated its commitment to protect at least 30% of marine areas by 2030. We went further—by then we want 100% of the maritime space under Portuguese sovereignty or jurisdiction to be assessed as being in good environmental status.

After Lisbon, there is still a lot of work to do on the ocean agenda and I am sure that France and Costa Rica will pursue this mission with redoubled energy.* ✖


António Costa has been the Prime Minister of the Republic of Portugal since 2015. He has 24 years’ experience of political activity and has been the Secretary General of the Socialist Party of Portugal since 2014. In Portugal, he was the Mayor of Lisbon between 2007 and 2015 and was first elected MP in 1991. In 2004, he assumed the VicePresidency of the European Parliament and has a long experience in the Council, in the European Parliament, and in the Committee of the Regions.

* Sourced from an address given at the 77th General Assembly of the UN in September 2022.

The Colombo Shopping Centre in Lisbon

Country 20XX
UNEMPLOYMENT (%) SOURCE: MACROTRENDS, TBY RESEARCH 14 12 10 8 6 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 AUG FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT, NET INFLOWS (% OF GDP) SOURCE: THE WORLD BANK 5 4 3 2 1 0 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 NATIONAL DEBT (% OF GDP) SOURCE: STATISTA 140 130 120 110 100 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23 e '24 e '25 e
Image: Martina Pellecchia


One of the most illustrative facts about the Portuguese economy is that over 90% of companies in the country are SMEs. This is both an asset and a weakness. On the one hand, this means that there is diversity, which gives the economy balance and solidity.

On the other hand, having a small number of large companies hinders economies of scale and hurts their competitiveness on the global stage. Both António Saraiva and Rui Miguel Nabeiro, the two presidents of Portugal’s leading business associations, stressed the importance of consolidation in Portugal’s business community. The current pressure of interest rate hikes makes that consolidation more pressing and, indeed, more likely. With consolidation, Portuguese companies can achieve the size and efficiencies that will make them more competitive.

However, aside from M&As, there are already ways in which Portugal’s business community is advancing economically. For one, companies are accessing finance and strengthening their business models. Portuguese companies are tapping into European Central Bank aid and, in the process, improving their bottom line. Application often requires the culling of inefficiencies.

In this context of SMEs, pedagogy and collaboration play an essential role. This is why com-

pany associations carry so much weight in Portugal. Sharing insights is a crucial strategy through which Portuguese businesses assist one another. At medium and small levels, pedagogy can unlock potential and ensure the viability of business long term. It is very encouraging to witness high levels of adherence to industry associations.

Internationalization is another aspect in which horizontal cooperation is crucial. Internationalization expands a company’s market and can catalyze revenue. Companies of small and medium scale can explore the possibility of joint ventures in partner markets. Association membership is an essential step in a company’s sustainability strategy. In these types of spaces, companies encounter case studies of successful international ventures and can plan accordingly.

The interviewees in this chapter demonstrate that Portugal is committed to private enterprise as a tool for development. At an association level, Portuguese companies help each other anticipate market needs and contour to changing conditions.

The bets on sustainability and digitalization demonstrate that Portuguese companies are committed to long-term business. Companies understand Portugal will play a role in the international marketplace of tomorrow. ✖

15 Economy CHAPTER SUMMARY Economy

VOICE OF experience

In 2024, CIP will celebrate its 60th anniversary. What values has the confederation maintained throughout its history? Since the beginning, CIP has served as a meeting point for businesses, championing the values of an open market. CIP has witnessed all the changes in Portugal wrought by the revolution as well as by the entry into the EU. The revolution aimed to bring about democratization, decolonization, and development. The former two have been fulfilled, though development is progressing gradually. The economy needs to grow more than 4% per year. CIP always promotes reindustrialization by spreading the message at conferences, seminars, and congresses and sponsoring projects. Over these last three years, our objective remains to deliver to the country proposals on economic and business growth.

What are the main tasks of the CIP?

CIP’s primary role is to anticipate future developments and participate in finding the best opportunities for companies in terms of the regulatory framework. This has been the confederation’s role since its inception. As the fifth president since CIP was established, I uphold this objective to defend private enterprise and support entrepreneurs. CIP aims to serve as a guiding light for businesses to navigate the current challenges of the global economy, the sovereign debt crisis, the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine. Our primary objective remains supporting the economy by helping businesses.

What are the main industry trends in Portugal, and how does CIP help companies adapt?

gate Portugal’s micro reality, for example through mergers, achieve greater scalability. The second objective is innovation, as businesses have to differentiate themselves in an increasingly efficient world and offer specialized products or services. This innovation requires investment and capital, which is not always easily available in Portugal today. CIP strives to find ways to assist companies further when talking about capital and investment. The third objective is internationalization, as having size and a focus on innovation will make it easier to achieve global reach. Portugal is currently on that path, with exports today representing 50% of the country’s GDP up from 28% 10 years ago. The objective is to reach 70%, and to achieve this we must ensure the economy has scale and innovation.

How does CIP help members in regard to internationalization and reaching new markets?

CIP plays an active role by advising the Portuguese government on strategies to improve and define the internationalization of the economy. As a member of an advisory council, CIP works with partners and sectoral associations from all sectors of activity to define the best internationalization export strategies for each company type, taking into account trends, markets, opportunities, and risk. CIP also offers support to its members through industry-specific chambers, which provides guidance on how to enter new markets and expand their business.

Where do you see growth opportunities in the economy, and what is its outlook for the future?


António Saraiva is the Former President of CIP as well as Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council of Portugal. He has become one of the most influential figures in Portuguese society and has dedicated over 40 years of his life to supporting associations. Saraiva is chairman of Taguspark and was recently appointed chairman of the advisory board of FUTURE GROUP and chairman of SPAL. He also sits on the board of the Institute for Employment and Professional Training and is a member of the Strategic Council of SOFID, IFIC SA, and a board member of Global Media. Saraiva received the Order of the Prince by the Portuguese Republic for outstanding services.

Portugal faces several challenges, including climate change and energy and digital transitions. The country’s recovery and resilience plan (PRR) has outlined three key national objectives: resilience, resistance, and economic transition (digital and climate), with EU aid allocated to meet these goals. CIP is working to help companies adapt to these challenges and meet the objectives outlined in the PRR. One of the main challenges is the size of Portuguese companies, with 97% of them being micro or small companies with up to 10 workers. They must have the necessary dimension or size to face the economic challenges outlined. CIP aims to find ways to aggre-

The Portuguese economy has demonstrated its ability to reshape and transform itself. By adding value and innovation to their products and services, Portuguese companies are creating their own brands and expanding into new markets. The metal sector, for example, has achieved record export volumes, reaching major markets such as Germany. Other companies are also forging their own paths by transforming and innovating their offerings. We are now seeing the results from a strategy that began 10 years ago to create our own brands, innovate, and add value. The Portuguese economy continues to transform and see positive results. ✖

INTERVIEW 16 Portugal 2023
CIP helps its members reach new markets through industry-specific chambers and advises the government on internationalization strategies and growth opportunities in the Portuguese economy.


CCIP supports the growth and internationalization efforts of Portuguese SMEs by providing training, information, and networking opportunities, as well as organizing missions to foreign countries.

What are your main objectives for CCIP?

CCIP must be a reference for Portuguese companies, helping them build a bridge to reach international markets. As around 90% of the companies that operate in Portugal are SMEs, our goal is to help them merge and become more prominent. Additionally, CCIP aims to support Portuguese businesses in their efforts to internationalize and gain scalability, which is essential to remain competitive internationally. The chamber has an important role to play in providing training, information, and networking opportunities to small companies seeking to expand their international presence. We can offer insights into the economics of a country and facilitate networking, creating strong relationships between members and sister companies abroad. We also contribute to attracting investment and assisting investors who are interested in investing in Portugal.

How else does the chamber support members?

In addition to providing networking opportunities, the chamber also supports its members by organizing missions to foreign countries. During these missions, we arrange meetings with potential clients and providers to facilitate business opportunities for our members. Furthermore, we offer extensive training to our members, and we are proud to host a landmark event in April that addresses the challenges faced by small companies during the internationalization process. The event seeks to educate companies on the risks and benefits of going abroad and raise awareness of the differences in regulations, fiscal requirements, and human resources practices in different countries. Providing knowledge is critical for com-

panies, and we strive to extend these educational tools so our members can better understand their markets and operate more effectively.

What types of challenges do SMEs face, and how can CCIP help them?

Companies are currently struggling with inflation and rising interest rates. Sustainability is not only about the environment but also applies to the economic survival of a company. For this reason, it is crucial for small companies to scale up and become bigger, as larger companies have a better chance of weathering crises like the ones we are currently experiencing. Larger companies can offer better pay and training for their employees. Portugal needs larger companies that are able to better address sustainability and internationalization challenges. Companies need to achieve economies of scale, which can be accomplished through mergers and acquisitions. There are numerous opportunities available for investing in financially struggling yet economically viable businesses. Lisbon has a thriving ecosystem of start-ups, with many young entrepreneurs bringing new innovative ideas and companies to the city. Lisbon offers an excellent platform for launching new products and ideas, as evidenced by the fact that many of the start-ups here end up going abroad.

What role do large companies play within the chamber?

Large companies provide networking opportunities that bridge the gap between small companies with good ideas and larger companies with the funds to invest in those ideas. CCIP is responsible for facilitating those connections

to foster business growth. Additionally, sharing knowledge is critical to the success of entrepreneurs, who may lack the managerial skills top turn their ideas into thriving businesses. Most start-ups fail because of financial miscalculations, and not because the business is not viable. The chamber has a key responsibility to help entrepreneurs become better managers, particularly in the early years when a business is not yet generating revenue.

How would you evaluate the potential for and advantages of setting up a business in Portugal?

Portugal offers an excellent environment to live and do business. Despite comparatively lower salaries, the country presents significant market opportunities, making it the ideal location for new businesses. Portugal’s regulatory framework, though complex, is business friendly, and with the help of a good lawyer, setting up a business is easy. Fiscal stability and incentives offer added advantages of doing business here, particularly in rural areas, where there are attractive incentives to establish a company in industry or agriculture. Furthermore, Portuguese workers are highly skilled, talented, and proficient in English, which is essential for today’s economy. ✖


17 Economy INTERVIEW
Rui Miguel Nabeiro is the Executive Chairman of the Nabeiro-Delta Cafés Group. He graduated in business management and holds a master’s in applied management from the Catholic University of Portugal. He took over the presidency of CCIP in 2022.


108 interviews were conducted for The Business Year: Portugal 2023 Analytics.



How confident are you about the outlook for business in Portugal this year (1-5)?














What are the most commonly mentioned advantages and challenges of doing business in Portugal?


• Strong renewable energy sector

• Political stability

• Human capital and education

• Foreign investor incentives

• English proficiency

• Geographic location on global shipping lanes

• Strong trading relationship with US

• Thriving start-up ecosystem

• Comparatively lower salaries

• Robust real estate sector


• Restrictive environmental regulations

• High debt-to-GDP ratio

• High taxes

• Inflationary and interest rate pressures

• Scale issues caused by high ratio of SMEs

• Rising real estate costs

18 Portugal 2023


What is the Lusophone world, and how can Portugal use these cultural links to benefit both itself and its former colonies?

PORTUGAL IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE of a former maritime superpower that has succeeded in turning its post-colonial ties with countries in Africa and Latin America into something positive. The Portuguese Empire took its language to places from Macau in the East to Brazil in the West, where it is widely spoken to this day as an official language.

Of some 250 million individuals who speak Portuguese as a first language, just under 11 million are Portuguese citizens. This gives a unique soft power to modern Portugal, which is a dominant producer of knowledge, technology, and—in general—ideas.

The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), often dubbed as the Lusophone Commonwealth, was established in 1996 and has amassed nine member states. The fact that CPLP is built on linguistic and cultural similarities rather than on the ruins of an empire has made it notably successful. The organization’s activities range from defense cooperation and inter-parliamentary discussions to more youth-oriented activities such as student exchange programs.

Lusophone states influence each other in various ways. Portugal, for instance, plays a central role in knowledge-transfer. Thanks to the country’s network of science and technology parks, many business ideas have come to life in Portugal in recent years. Low taxes for startups, the presence of a young and highly skilled workforce, and a variety of financing options are further factors that have turned the country into a hotspot of new business ideas. There is a growing list of unicorns coming out of Portugal such as OutSystems, Talkdesk, and Farfetch, but to name a few.

Many of these enterprises rely on an overseas market in the Portuguese-speaking world to flourish. Technological products emerging from Portugal often quickly spread to the rest of the lusophone world. A consumer market of over 230 million is far more interesting for a business than a home market of roughly 10 million, particularly as other Portuguese-speaking territories, and Brazil in particular, are continuously improving in terms of purchasing power. This is not to say that Portugal continues to have a form of post-colonial influence over its former dominions. In fact, Portugal is also an avid consumer of cultural products from the rest of the lusophone world. Music and television programs produced in Brazil, for example, often find popularity in Portugal. This, as such, has largely been a give-and-take relationship.

To sum it up so far, Portugal’s historical ties with countries such as Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique have been largely a force for good in modern times, especially in areas such as technology-transfer. Portu-

gal has successfully emerged as a European powerhouse for creativity and entrepreneurship, with many Portuguese companies seeing a market for their innovation somewhere overseas where Portuguese is spoken.

Consultants such as Asseco, for example, have accelerated the digitalization of banking in Africa, where the number of unbanked individuals is significant. Such consultants have tried to capitalize on their knowledge of the target markets to streamline localization operations. “One of the primary challenges is meeting the ever-increasing demands of users who expect user-friendly technology,” notes Daniel Araujo, CEO of Asseco Portugal, in an interview with TBY, adding that “regulatory compliance is another obstacle faced by companies.”

Issue such as simplifying regulatory compliance for Portuguese companies is often beyond the control of companies themselves and takes shape within the larger context of diplomatic and economic relations between the Portuguese government and the rest of the Lusophone world.

Portugal-Brazil economic links are arguably the largest of the lot. Portugal exports roughly USD900 million worth of goods to Brazil, while importing twice that volume from the Lusophone Latin American nation. In terms of services, the game is quite one-sided, with Portugal exporting USD500 million worth of services to Brazil without importing any services. This perfectly suits Portugal’s status as a service economy and that of Brazil as a rising manufacturing hub.

Not everything that Portugal is doing across lusophone Latin America and Africa is strictly profit-oriented. The country, at times, invests in long-term initiatives that are intended to lay the foundations of certain African nations’ business ecosystem.

In 2022, for example, Portugal signed a deal with the African Development Bank (AFDB), offering a “big boost to business development initiatives for the Bank’s non-sovereign portfolio in its Portuguese-speaking African member countries,” according to the AFDB. Among the dignitaries in attendance during the signing ceremony were Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi and Portugal’s prime minister António Costa, which is indicative of such event’s high profile.

Portugal has promised to extend EUR400 million, in the form of guarantees, to private sector projects in Africa deemed worthy by the AFDB.

In addition to Angola and Mozambique, the list includes smaller African nations such as Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe, where we are soon likely to witness the blossoming of Portugal-backed enterprises. ✖

19 Economy FOCUS The Lusophone world

Belém Tower, a 16th-century fortification that once served as an embarkation and disembarkation point for Portuguese explorers and as a gateway to Lisbon

20 Portugal 2023
Image: Aniczkania


AmCham Portugal serves as a two-way street for promoting transAtlantic business links, with objectives that include networking, advocacy, and providing services to members.

What is the history and structure of AmCham?

AmCham was founded in 1951 by a group of American expatriates in Portugal, and its initial focus was to attract American investment and trade to Portugal. Over the years, it has become a two-way street, which also promotes Portuguese investment to the US. AmCham is a road for businesspeople and partners that want to do business on both sides of the Atlantic. We are also members of AmCham Europe, which consolidates the views of all the European American chambers of commerce. In terms of membership, our community includes both corporations as well as individual associates. AmCham’s board is composed of 25 members. Big boards and small structures allow the chamber to remain lean while attracting the key business figures in the country that can form and execute strategy. Of those 25 names on the board, according to our bylaws, the majority are American companies. In addition, AmCham is home to Portuguese companies from all sectors that are investing in the US. Finally, we also have institutional board members such as universities and the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD), a foundation created jointly by the Portuguese and US governments. One key partner of AmCham is the US Embassy, and AmCham liaises with the embassy’s departments for economy, trade, and commerce.

What are AmCham’s objectives, and what mechanisms are in place to promote trans-Atlantic business links?

The main objectives of AmCham are to promote networking, strengthen advocacy, and provide services to its members. To facilitate partnerships, we host two key annual events. One of them is AmCham Tributes, where companies that have made a difference in the relation-

ship between Portugal and the US are recognized. The second is the Trans-Atlantic Business Summit, a space that brings together Portuguese and American thinkers to discuss the bilateral relationship. Advocacy is focused on defending, through dialogue, the policies supported by our businesses research. Finally, the third component is a service to members. To our associates, we disseminate information around macroeconomic prospects concerning Portugal, the US, and the EU. AmCham’s business missions are that extra step that serves to execute the findings of research. We have agents and special committees focused on research key areas of relevance such as technology, innovation, data science, cybersecurity, healthcare, R&D, education, tourism, sustainability, and the energy transition. By coordinating business tours for members, AmCham acts as the bridge between theory and execution.

Which areas of the economy pose opportunities for Portuguese and American companies going forward?

Having a shared understanding of needs helps Portuguese and American businesses collaborate and form partnerships. Two areas that offer attractive business opportunities are energy transition and digital transformation. There are also opportunities for businesses that address logistical challenges such as supply chain disruptions, inflation, and the scarcity of raw materials. These wider macroeconomic trends can benefit rapprochement between the US and Europe. One example is nearshoring. American companies are looking to locate important strategic assets in friendly markets such as Europe, which can be interesting for Portugal. The war on Ukraine is putting pressure on the reshuffling of logistics chains, and Portugal is a good candidate because of its

geographical location, competitive costs, and maritime experience. For example, Portugal and Spain are the two countries that can best receive the liquid natural gas (LNG) that is so needed in the center of Europe.

Why is Portugal an excellent place for American companies to locate investment?

The US is currently the fourth-largest market for Portuguese exports. In 3Q2022, Portugal exported USD6.5 billion worth of goods to the US and imported USD3.5 billion. This makes the US Portugal’s fourth-largest partner and is the reason why this relationship is crucial, especially given that our trade balance is positive. American investment in Portugal performs steadily between EUR1.5-2 billion. As a final note, Portugal receives 1.2 million American tourists annually. This is the fifth-largest contingent of tourists, while their daily expenditures and duration of stay is also among the highest by nationality. ✖


António Martins da Costa is President of AmCham Portugal, President of the Strategic Council of Proforum, VicePresident of APGEI, Vice-President of the Portuguese Business Council for Sustainable Development, and a member of several boards of business schools in Portugal. He is an advisor to the executive board of Energias de Portugal, CEO & Vice-Chairman of the board of EDP Brasil, Chairman & CEO of EDP Renewables North America/US, and a member of EDP Renewables’ board of directors. Before that, he worked in the financial sector. Da Costa is a civil engineer from the University of Porto with an MBA from Porto Business School and has completed programs from AESE/IESE in Lisbon, Wharton Business School in the US, and INSEAD in France.

21 Economy INTERVIEW

Unlocking Portugal: Investment Insights & Opportunities


The Business Year gathered figures from across the local business community at its latest event, Unlocking Portugal: Investment Insights & Opportunities.

SENIOR EXECUTIVES from across the Portuguese business community gathered for Unlocking Portugal: Investment Insights & Opportunities, the first event held by The Business Year in Portugal.

Six high-level speakers from business associations and leading companies spoke to a C-level audience about their perspectives on the short- and long-term opportunities and challenges facing Portugal.

The event, which was opened by TBY Portugal Director Cristina Villegas, came shortly before the release of this publication, TBY’s latest publication dedicated to the country, and delved into many of the same topics. To produce it, Villegas led a team that spent four months researching and conducting more than 130 interviews with senior executives from various sectors of the Portuguese economy.

Attractive tax incentives, highly skilled workforce, and social and political stability are some of the advantages highlighted by American Chamber of Commerce in Portu-

Portugal 2023 22 FOCUS

gal (AmCham Portugal) President António Martins da Costa, who opened the event with an overview of the Portuguese economy. Martins da Costa also referred to the resilience shown by the national economy to respond to some of the recent macro challenges, such as COVID-19 and the subsequent inflationary and interest rate pressure.

Worth EUR30.7 billion in 2022, residential real estate remained the leader in wider real estate investment last year, according to Hugo Santos Ferreira, President at the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors (APPII). In a speech that followed Martins da Costa’s, Santos Ferreira spoke of the importance of the real estate sector as one of the main sources of FDI, describing it as a segment that is attracting particular attention from US investors despite the end of the Golden Visa program.

The end of the Golden Visa was the first topic addressed in a roundtable discussion featuring four speakers: Gonçalo Santos, Head of Capital Markets at JLL; Daniel Tareco, Board Member at Habitat Invest; Miguel Pernes, Managing Director Portugal at Hitachi Energy; and Bernardo Maciel, Partner at Yunit Consulting. During the discussion, panelists commented that the existence of other investment tax regimes will help mitigate the end of the Golden Visa program.

Other topics addressed included Portugal’s leading position in the European renewables sector, the strength of its small- and medium-sized companies and the efforts they are making to digitalize, opportunities in the real estate sector beyond residential properties, and steps being taken to decarbonize the economy.

The debate was followed by a networking session at the Corinthia Lisbon to close the event.

The event was hosted in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce in Portugal (AmCham Portugal), the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIP), the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors (APPII), and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Portugal (CCILE), and supported by Revista Business Portugal, as media partner, Between Collective as video partner, A3 as graphic arts partner, and LXPRO as audio partner. ✖

23 Economy

NATURAL partners

CCILE has been working to significantly increase its visibility and streamline internal processes, while growing the bilateral economic relationship between Portugal and Spain.

How is the chamber strengthening its faculties to support trade between Spain and Portugal?

We have implemented two main strategies, mainly to enhance the chamber’s visibility and streamline internal processes. To increase our visibility with business leaders and political figures from both countries, we have resumed our business breakfasts and sector-specific seminars to promote partnerships between companies. We have also participated in international events to foster stronger relationships with bilateral chambers in Portugal, France, the UK, Germany, and Italy, attracting new multinational companies to our chamber. Internally, we are restructuring our staff and reassigning roles and responsibilities. We have received support from Spain to execute an ambitious digitalization plan, which includes updating our communications system and website. We are also setting up an editorial council to promote and enhance our magazine and have revamped the format of our monthly newsletter to focus more on economic content rather than advertising. In 2023, we will continue to organize business lunches to maintain our visibility, which typically attract 150-200 attendees and generate mass communications.

To what do you attribute the growing economic relationship between Portugal and Spain?

companies find Portugal an attractive investment destination, with a similar culture and where language is not a problem. The country’s market size, logistics services, financial and legal support, political stability, and legal system that are similar to Spain also make it easy to do business in Portugal. Legal support is easily available here as well, with 40 law firms that are members of CCILE. Finally, and importantly, Portugal’s political stability supports a long-term investment rationale.

What are the most attractive aspects of Portugal’s macroeconomic policy?

In the last five years, Portugal’s economic policy has remained stable, resulting in an improved image of the country. The Prime Minister has been a guest of our chamber some months ago. Despite some initial problems during his first administration, he is aware of institutional policies regarding Portugal’s position in the global economy. The government’s goal is to provide the best conditions for foreign investment in the EU. Its economic diplomacy is excellent, there has been stability in monetary policy and public expenses are being controlled. Four years ago, Portugal had a public expense debt of 130%, and despite the pandemic, in 2022 its debt was lower than Spain’s.


Miguel Seco holds a degree in economics and business studies from University of Santiago de Compostela followed by an MBA from ESADE, Barcelona. He was part of the team responsible for setting up the first branch of a Portuguese bank in Spain (BPA), and in the last 20 years he has been director of the Iberian Business Center of Millennium (bcp) and head of the Iberian Business area of Banco Sabadell Portugal. He was also president of the Galician Centre of Lisbon. Seco is the current president of CCILE and is a regular speaker at various business and social forums. In 2009, he received a Commendation of the Order of Civil Merit (Spain) and an honorary degree awarded by the Portuguese-Spanish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2017.

The economic relationship between Portugal and Spain has strengthened over the years, and both countries have benefited greatly. Despite the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, bilateral trade surpassed all expectations in 2021 and continued to grow over 29% in 2022. The total sum of exports and imports between the two countries surpassed EUR40 billion for the first time, reaching around EUR48 billion at the end of 2022. The open market policy, the proximity of the countries, the availability of knowledge, and the fact that Portugal is a natural expansion area for Spanish companies are some of the factors that have contributed to the increase. There are some 4,300 companies with Spanish capital in Portugal, and 90% of these companies are SMEs. It is easy to come to Portugal because of its logistics and financial support services. Spanish

What industries are vital in the bilateral dynamic between Spain and Portugal?

The tourism and renewable energy sectors are essential areas where both countries have many joint projects. Spain and Portugal aim to establish themselves as a renewable energy producer for the entire EU and are collaborating on hydrogen-related projects. They are also studying the feasibility of investing in lithium installations in both countries or just having one facility for both nations. There will be significant investments from both countries in logistics and transport, with a strong railway system providing greater value to Portugal and Spain. Additionally, the automotive industry is an important area of cooperation, because Spain has local factories of almost all car brands. The high levels of production reaffirm Spain’s role as an exporter. ✖

24 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW

adding KEY VALUE

Yunit supports SMEs through challenges and key decision-making processes, providing sustainability-oriented consulting and innovation in all areas, including partnerships.

What role does Yunit play in the commercial success of SMEs?

Our goal is to be relevant to companies by supporting them through challenges and by being beside them as they make key decisions. Yunit is the right partner for SMEs because we have the skills, transversality, availability and diversification that they need. Our strategy is to combine the expertise of our team in serving our clients. We are experts in management, finance and engineering. Yunit engages in strategic thinking, supports decision making processes and carries out projects with a technical and business analytic optic. Finally, we seek to create value through partnerships. We are the consultant of reference for the main financial institutions in Portugal and collaborate with chambers of commerce such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIP) and the Spanish-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce. This adds value to companies, institutions, banks, and chambers while providing relevance to clients.

What types of industry do your clients belong to?

We are focused on SMEs regardless of their business focus and have experience in telecommunications, automotive, plastics, agribusiness, media, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. Our team is experienced in areas such as biomedicine, mechanical engineering, physics, electronics, energy, and nanotechnology; therefore, we understand how our clients work. We support companies by investing in their innovation and R&D— the bottom line is to help companies optimize for the sake of profitability and growth. For this reason, we work closely with companies helping them to raise

capital either through European grants, banking solutions or mergers and acquisitions operations. We advise and prepare companies through capital adjustment processes. To continue investing, it is important to secure strong capital.

What methodologies do you use to help clients?

SMEs cannot have managers for all specialties, as the numbers do not support that. So, we try to be by the managers during moments of transition to give them the value they need to make better decisions. For example, when they are going to make an investment, we help them decide on the optimum route in terms of the focus of the investment and the financial strategy to realize it; that is the first step. EU loans are highly relevant for SMEs in terms of investment, and we are specialized in this. During 2020, the last program of European grants, we supported several hundred million euros of investment. That amounted to over 1,000 applications, and we represented the largest number of Portuguese applications to European grants. Meanwhile, we also work on operational organization, reviewing processes and helping firms decide on the technology they need to acquire.

What is the importance of sustainability-oriented consulting?

We help clients understand the full scope of opportunity in matters of sustainability. As well as the environment and energy, we address the larger concept. Generational transition is a special issue in family companies, and ensuring sustainability allows the company to continue past one generation. Some operational consideration, such as re-

ducing operational costs by conserving energy, for example, are factors we can identify as areas for improvement and to promote awareness on the importance of reputation for stakeholders and the community. We drive innovation, which is necessary for sustainability. We consider small companies unable to compete in quantity or price, and ultimately you can only be competitive in the long term if you remain innovative.

What does innovation mean for Yunit?

We show clients that innovation is not researchers with white gloves in a laboratory; that you can innovate on the factory line, and improve in all processes. That is what we do best. The other thing is partnerships. The partnership model is in our DNA. We try to promote partnerships everywhere we work, even with banks. It is beneficial to have a third party that balances the feelings of both SMEs and banks. Our sales team works with branch managers to identify clients that need capital to combine with European grants, for example. We build many bridges. ✖

Bernardo Maciel is CEO & Partner at Yunit Consulting and an entrepreneur with investments in the areas of textile fashion, catering, music, and corporate events. He has degrees in management and strategic change management from the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, in business development from AESE Business School, and a postgraduate degree in business marketing and sales. He is an experienced professional in business transformation, investment support, strategy, and innovation in SMEs.

25 Economy INTERVIEW

Portugal’s recovery and resilience plan (RRP)


Portugal’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) is now halfway through its implementation, but how relevant are its objectives in 2023?

IN 2021, PORTUGAL UNVEILED a mid-term stimulus package to alleviate some of the economic woes brought about by the pandemic and its aftermath. RRP set out to put right many things that seemed wrong with the nation’s economy at the time, especially the economic divergence from the rest of the EU, which the nation’s politicians were warning about.

What is more, the plan intended to accomplish its objectives in the most resilient manner against the backdrop of a national drive to achieve digital transformation, while taking into consideration issues such as climate change.


Now in 2023, things may have taken a new course compared to the panicky days following the pandemic, but digitalization, resilience, and sustainability remain key for the success of an economy such as Portugal. There has been no shortage of additional stressors since 2021, when Portugal launched its RRP initiative: inflation across the Eurozone made life difficult for many European economies in 2022, while the ongoing war in Ukraine has continued into 2023, keeping most of Europe under the specter of a potential energy crisis.

There is no doubt that the resilience which Portugal’s national plan set out to achieve in 2021 has continued to be helpful over the last couple of years. The economic stimulus package designed in 2020 is still relevant today, almost halfway to its completion in August 2026, by which time 83 investment projects and 32 reforms will be completed, making Portugal’s economy more aligned with the rest of EU and less vulnerable to unexpected turns of events.


But one may wonder where the financing will come from for such a massive initiative. It will be paid largely by the EU. Indeed, it is probably the largest stimulant package in the history of the bloc financed by the EU. Fortunately, according to the EU’s own forecasts, as of 2022, the stimulus package has worked and things have gone moreor-less according to plan: “Portugal’s economy continued growing in the final quarter of 2022, despite challenging global conditions.”

Approximately EUR13.9 billion will be provided in the form of grants as well as an additional EUR2.7 billion worth of loans. While 38% of these finical aids will be extended to those initiatives which help Portugal’s goals in terms of eco-friendliness, another 22% of the funds is earmarked to be spent on fostering digital transition. The aforesaid sums are large enough to influence Portugal’s GDP, which

is expected to go up by 1.5% to 2.4% each year until the end of the initiative in 2026, directly as a result of the RRP.


“Green transition” is a phrase that comes up quite frequently in the documents outlining this initiative, but fortunately it is more than a buzzword. Instead of playing with vague terminologies, the Portuguese government is prepared to raise the real and tangible indicators which collectively lead to a green transition. “Portugal’s plan supports the green transition through a large-scale investment program of EUR300 million to improve the energy-efficiency of residential buildings,” according to the European Commission. This makes more sense in light of the energy crisis which threatened Europe in 2022.

The public will also receive tangible benefits in terms of digitalization. Among other things, a Digital Academy will be launched within the framework of the RRP initiative to raise the levels of digital literacy, so that the nation’s workforce will be able to keep up with the job market’s demands in the current ever-changing landscape. In the first phase, 800,000 individuals will be evaluated in terms of their digital literacy and potential. While the government will sponsor some to receive basic training, 200,000 will be chosen to receive more specialized in-person training in areas such as the application of AI in business.


Narrowing the productivity gap between Portugal and the rest of the EU is surely a desirable objective for the Portuguese citizens. Currently the minimum wage in Portugal is among the lowest in the bloc: EUR740 per month, which will likely rise toward the end of the RRP initiative. Meanwhile, around 50,000 jobs are also expected to be created. Though no specific statistics have been published so far in this regard, a mild decline of 0.8 percentage points in unemployment has been observed between the first quarters of 2021 and 2023.

The plan may be nominally more focused on issues such as digitalization and climate change, but according to the European Commission, the reforms will also focus on “bottlenecks to lasting and sustainable growth, while investments are targeted to address barriers to productivity and potential growth, such as those addressing restrictions of regulated professions and gaps in human capital.” This means that the effects of the RRP initiative will hopefully be felt by the wider populace before August 2026. ✖

26 Portugal 2023 FOCUS


INTEREST IN PORTUGAL has boomed over the last few years with more and more people discovering why so many hold this country in such high regard. Our team at Casaiberia work with a range of different buyers and sellers from all corners of the earth and whilst the appeal of Portugal is strong, many often struggle with the practical steps of purchasing a property or setting up a life here.

world and make it a priority to take the time to truly understand the needs and concerns of those who choose to either sell their property with us, or enlist our help to find their dream home.


or moving to a different country from Portugal and as such, have an understanding of the challenges our international clients often face.



Navigating any real estate market can be a stressful experience; purchasing property in a new country however, can be a particularly daunting task, especially if you are not familiar with the local market, laws and regulations.

Having a reliable team by your side, with the right expertise and contacts, who take the time to understand your unique requirements, is one of the most important steps you can take to help make the entire process easier. This is where we can help at Casaiberia.

As a company, we have worked hard to set ourselves apart from others in the real estate field in Portugal. From the onset we have taken a customer-centric approach to the work we do, taking into consideration both customer feedback and changes in the market, to help tweak and improve the service we offer. This way of thinking has helped us provide a consistently high level of service to our customers, and quickly adapt in a constantly changing market.

We are serious about our clients. We work with a diverse clientele from all over the


Casaiberia was founded by our Commercial Director Elza Lopes alongside our Development Director Rainer Beck; and General Manager, Paulo Lopes. We started out with just a small office and team in the city of Lagoa sixteen years ago, and since then we’ve expanded across the Algarve and into Lisbon. Our presence across Portugal, together with our global partnerships, has helped to establish Casaiberia as a reputable and respected player in the Portuguese real estate market. Today, Casaiberia has a multinational, multilingual in-house team, coming from a diverse range of backgrounds and career paths. Together our team has a considerable amount of experience in the Portuguese and international real estate sectors.

Over the years we have also built up an extensive network of contacts and partnerships with local developers, contractors, and reliable professionals who can aid our clients with the various planning, legal, and financial aspects that can be involved in the buying and selling process.


Many of our team have gone through the experience of moving to Portugal from abroad,

As Casaiberia continues to grow, our focus will expand more and more into the investment sector. Portugal is a hugely attractive country for international investment, offering a supportive and stable environment for foreign investors. With its growing economy, absence of restrictions on foreign capital entry, and freedom to invest in any industry, Portugal offers a wealth of opportunities for foreign investors looking to take advantage of its favorable business climate.

As a company we have a strong background and understanding of the investment and development sector in Portugal, and we want to use this to help foreign investors break into, and expand their presence within, the Portuguese market.

Whether you are looking to purchase a second home, a full-time residential property, or are looking for an investment opportunity in Portugal, our team would be more than happy to help. ✖

Economy COMMUNIQUÉ Casaiberia
content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Cityscape of Lisbon at sunset

28 Portugal 2023
Image: Magdalena Paluchowska

What makes Abreu Advogados stand out and a good partner for investors?

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023, Abreu Advogados has grown to become one of Portugal’s top four independent, full-service law firms. We have been recognized as the 11th fastest-growing firm in Europe. Abreu Advogados is also proud to be among the 40 most innovative firms in Europe, as recognized by the Financial Times. These achievements speak to our strong focus on innovation and the high-quality work we provide to our clients.

How does Abreu Advogados help international clients overcome challenges and facilitate investments in Portugal?

We have an international clientele with various differences in the way they work, their expectations, and their market situations. At Abreu Advogados, we prioritize understanding our clients’ specific concerns and tailoring our approach to address them effectively. Our extensive know-how of the Portuguese context acts as a bridge between our clients and the regulatory landscape, and we focus on communicating with our clients effectively to help them as best we can. Some clients may have preconceptions or expectations of the market, and we work with them to ensure a smooth investment process.

What specialized services does MTW offer, and what organizational needs did you identify?

As a daily motivated company, we help all sorts of leaders communicate their worth with wisdom, which is extremely important in Portugal. Around 15 years ago, when we started, it was common for executives and leaders to go on stage and give a speech. Also, leadership training was not focused on communication. This was an opportunity to create value in upskilling and reskilling that are critical for leaders, providing media training, public speaking, and presentation training services and consulting. Nowadays, we work with different organizations to ensure personal communication and leadership development for leaders and their teams. With the emerging needs of the market and the challenges of retaining talents, we also use science and technology in our consulting approach to the digital and cultural transformation of businesses through human behavior. Ultimately, our primary purpose is to help executives realize their worth and communicate it effectively.

What is Ship4You’s value proposition to the business community?

How do you evaluate the receptiveness of the Portuguese business community to technology?

Esri has the largest market share in Portugal, and both the public and private sectors recognize the strategic importance of location. When we speak to CIOs or CEOs, we showcase the capabilities of our platform, and they see the potential for development. Our platform can be configured to suit the specific needs of any business, and within a matter of weeks, companies can have access to the data they need.

What are the advantages of being a market leader in the industry?

Our leadership position is a responsibility to act. We allocate 25% of our annual revenue to innovation and continually present new solutions, approaches, and methods of doing business. As a cross-sector and client-focused organization, we listen closely to clients and listen to their feedback on what they need to enhance their work. We have communities of practice with clients every day. Sometimes, we analyze products together with clients to improve their processes, and we subsequently implement it. There are functionalities, capacities, or solutions that we have created as part of our client-focused approach. We have a portal for ideas where clients can provide us with feedback on our tools, and we implement their suggestions on our roadmap. We constantly revise our software with based on customer feedback and design products with the needs of end users and companies in mind.

We have several areas of activity: data entry, verification, payment processing, preparing packaging, and delivery. Our range of client types is diverse, from e-commerce companies to mail companies, and we cater to both Portuguese and international clients. Their needs also vary, with some requiring warehousing and others requiring only data entry. We go beyond being a service provider and offer strategic support based on data. We help our clients sell and offer consulting services. Within this service line, we go as far as helping companies with accounting and company registering. By partnering with Ship4You, clients gain quality, efficiency, safety, and know-how. Some of the pain points we address are opening digital sales channels, complying with invoicing systems, declaring VAT, and structuring an international commercial venture.



Country 20XX
solar panel on a seaside villa in Madeira
OIL PRODUCT CONSUMPTION (KT) SOURCE: ENERDATA 16 14 12 10 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BREAKDOWN BY SECTOR (2021) SOURCE: ENERDATA 33% Industry 1% Transport 29% Residential 32% Services 5% Other RENEWABLE ENERGY AS PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL ELECTRICITY GENERATION SOURCE: ENERDATA 2017 40.9 2021 65.55 2018 51.37 54.24 2019 2020 59.63
Image: Nikiforov Alexander

Green Economy & Energy


The pressure on companies to optimize operations in search of sustainability is felt acutely across industries. Investors are pressing directives to meet efficiency targets and eliminate ecological risks. Especially in businesses with long-term investment horizons, stakeholders are rushing to anticipate sustainability demands. Regulatory requirements regarding emissions and waste are coming at increased and accelerated rates. The tide is already here. And profit-makers are paying attention.

Businesses in the sustainability game are growing at an astounding rate. From green energy vendors to environmental consultants, sustainability today is a crucial area of economic activity that creates jobs and drives spending. Auditors are already aware of the importance of sustainability audits. Engineering works have also received a push from sustainability The drive toward sustainability is a business opportunity, and free market incentives are already on their way. In this frenzy, Portugal saw its chance.

Portugal knows the Iberian region has a strategic and symbolic role concerning renewable energies and electrification. One of the first countries to achieve green energy self-sufficiency, Portugal

is betting heavily on gaining a first-mover advantage in other sustainability-related areas. The country is investing in new technologies such as hydrogen and liquid natural gas, aware of their disruptive capacity. Portugal is one of the only European countries operating a large-scale hydro plant—Iberdrola’s Tâmega plant provides 880MW of hydro-generated power. The country is also investing in photovoltaic energy with landmark solar panel parks such as the Fernando Pessoa, the most prominent photovoltaic project in Europe, with an installed capacity of 1,200MW.

The government aims to generate 47% of its gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030. The country has set ambitious energy targets and is tapping into technology to reach them. Within the B2B market, digitalization and sustainability are advancing jointly. We are witnessing a unique moment in the history of energy. The rate of innovation has quickened, and companies are destroying the old frameworks of the energy business. The free market will deliver on carbon neutrality before a regulation clench.

This is a chapter composed of innovative businesses. Businesses that year on year redefine what is possible in energy and green economy. ✖

31 Green Economy & Energy CHAPTER SUMMARY


APREN represents more than 90% of all installed capacity of renewable energy sources in Portugal and is charged with coordinating, representing, and defending the common interests of its members.

What mechanisms are at APREN’s disposal to promote renewable energy in Portugal?

APREN’s members are singular or collective entities that are authorized to produce renewable electricity, but also official entities and corporates that are part of the broad renewable energy cluster and clearly contribute to meet APREN’s mission and scope of activity. APREN develops its work together with official authorities and other similar entities, either national or international, being an important key player in the development of energy policies in Portugal, thereby promoting the deployment of renewable energy resources for electricity generation, green hydrogen production, and RFNBOs. The association privileges the coordination and permanent contact with the government, the ministries responsible for energy, environmental, and infrastructure issues and their official agencies, as well as a dialogue with the crucial national stakeholders acting in the renewable electricity sector and with representatives from the civil society. APREN has also a strong involvement at the European level, which is primarily manifested through the participation in European projects and through its partnership with several associations.

What advances have been made in network resiliency, market, and regulatory stability?

In Portugal, a few decisive steps have already been taken in this direction, notably with the publication of the guidelines for the organization and functioning of the national electricity system and the reform and simplification of administrative licensing, within the framework of “simplex,” though there are still some ways to go through in terms of regulation. Portugal aims to reach 10GW of offshore wind by 2030, and the first offshore wind

auction was announced by the government to be tendered this year. APREN is one of the main entities involved in the full process and participates in the working groups created by the government for the planning and deployment of the future centers. Solar energy is also growing fast. Portugal ended 2022 with 2,591MW of installed photovoltaic power, almost 10 times its capacity in 2013. If developments continue at this rate, the country will reach more than 3.5GW of solar power in December and a new record of installations, confirming the dynamism of the market.

What is the current scenario in Portugal concerning renewable energies?

In January and February 2023, 75,6% of the electricity consumed in Portugal was generated by renewables. Hydro represented the largest share, with 39%, followed by wind, with 27%. Biomass (5.2%), pumping (4.3%), and solar (4.2%) ensured the rest of the generated electricity. Between January 1 and February 28, Portugal had the third-highest renewable incorporation in electricity generation in Europe, behind Norway and Denmark. In 2023, renewable energy continues to minimize the impact of the abnormal rise in electricity prices at a time when we are still experiencing some high prices in European wholesale markets. Despite the remarkable results achieved, the current scenario should not make us slacken our efforts in the face of investment in renewable energy capacity that need to be deployed to meet the decarbonization targets. There is a lot of renewable power to install, especially solar, to complement the energy mix. Green hydrogen projects, for sectors that cannot be directly electrified, also deserve attention.

How have Portugal’s renewable energy targets changed, and what steps are being taken to fulfill the new commitments?

Accelerating renewable energy deployment is one of the main pillars of REPowerEU. The plan includes a proposal to raise the 2030 target for the share of renewables in final energy consumption from 40% to 45% in an amendment to the Renewable Energy Directive. The government intends to increase the weight of renewables in electricity generation to reach 80% by 2026, thus anticipating, in four years, the target established in the National Energy and Climate Plan. Carbon neutrality in Portugal is set to be achieved by 2045. To achieve these goals, bureaucracies must be reduced. Another challenge is the need to territorially densify the public service electricity grid to receive all the new renewable power. APREN is preparing a licensing and permitting manual for renewable energy projects in collaboration with the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) and the Directorate General for Energy and Geology (DGEG). ✖


Pedro Amaral Jorge graduated in mechanical engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico and also holds an EMBA with a focus on finance and operations from IESE/AESE. In his previous professional experience, he worked as a specialist in structuring and financing projects in the private sector investment aspect for the African Development Bank (AfDB) focusing on the sub-Saharan region. Jorge has accumulated more than 15 years of international experience, having worked and lived in different markets, especially in Europe, South America, Africa, and the Middle East, and a total of 20 years of professional experience in top management positions.

32 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW


Hitachi Energy is present in over 90 countries, which gives it profound knowledge of the best technologies available in each to pass on to customers.

What is Hitachi Energy, and what is the company’s mission?

At Hitachi Energy, we advance a sustainable energy future for all. Our core business is bringing energy, which involves power transmission and distribution networks. Essentially, everything goes with the necessity to bring energy to the next village, country, or region. Electricity and electrical energy will be the backbone of a sustainable energy transition. The world has ambitious targets regarding carbon neutrality, where electricity will play a major role in the process. We are strongly committed to achieving excellence and to supporting customers and partners in achieving their energy goals. For that, we take safety, integrity, and quality as our license to operate and as part of our DNA.

How is Hitachi an apt consultant and partner to companies looking to transition to a more sustainable energy use?

As the pioneering technology leader, we collaborate with customers and partners to enable a sustainable energy future – for today’s generations and those to come. By joining the tradition of the two companies—ABB and Hitachi—we have over 200 years of experience in power systems. We have developed and helped society progress in a way that brings energy wherever required. There is a long tradition of research development, which puts us in the role of transmitting confidence to the customer. Reliability is essential within the business in terms of our commitment to sustainability. For example, we have recently announced that all the energy we consume today at our factories is 100% renewable. We are paying somewhat more for it, but it is a commitment we are pleased to make. We want to be the partner of choice, for cus-

tomers and players in the market, in their technology needs associated with the energy transition because we know that we achieve more together. There are a lot of constraints at this moment, by which I mean the scarcity and price increase of raw materials. From a digital perspective, we are more exposed than we used to be two or three years ago. Every product that we buy needs interconnection. This has created a tremendous demand for chips and electrical components, and we are facing a scarcity of raw materials. We can strike the correct balance and support our customers developing their projects in the short term through partnerships with suppliers and partners.

What is your customer profile?

Around 60% of our business is in utilities, distribution, and transmission utilities. They made up 80% in the past, but utilities today claim a lesser share. There are other players in the market, such as promoters of renewables, especially solar, which is booming in Portugal, and wind and hydrogen production companies. The range of segments that we are addressing is becoming more balanced than what the market used to be. The industry also plays an important role. As we see today, industrial leaders are also pursuing sustainability targets and outside of their traditional comfort zones to see where they can improve production while consuming less energy. They are exploring other parts of the market by having assets in the country that can be deleveraged to improve energy efficiency and sustainability, reducing the carbon footprint as much as possible. Achieving these new targets will take industry-leading experience, deep domain knowledge, and pioneering technologies built on a rich heritage of innovation.

To what extent is being international an asset for clients partnering with Hitachi Energy? It is a tremendous asset. Being a company present everywhere gives us a network of knowledge. This opens many doors. I occasionally have requests from foreign offices that learn that we have developed a certain solution, and through the company network we are able to support them. We achieve this across sectors, geographies and every step of each customer’s journey. Being international is an integral part of who we are. This means that clients access the best practices available internationally, ensuring they stay at the forefront of technology. It is crucial that we take on the challenge of accelerating the pace of change, and we need to support this global challenge that requires a global solution with our Hitachi Energy. ✖

Miguel Pernes graduated from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), a Portuguese university in Lisbon, as Electrical Engineer (1986-1991). He started his career in 1991 as Electrical Engineer for ABB, namely on the Protection and Automation Systems Department, on which he had the opportunity to develop their skills on the engineering field, namely on protection and substation automation projects. In 1997 he took the position of Manager of the Protection and Substation Automation Department. In 2001 he was appointed as Local Division Manager for the Power Products & Power Systems Division with ABB, S.A., becoming a member of the Executive Commission of ABB in Portugal. In December 2011, Miguel was appointed country managing director of ABB in Portugal, and subsequently integrated the Executive Commission of ABB Spain and Portugal. With the acquisition by Hitachi Energy of ABB’s power system division, Miguel assumed the role of Country Managing Director Portugal in 2020.

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Renewables companies in Portugal are committed to experimenting with new innovations in the sector to remain at the forefront of trends.

AMBIPRIME provides investors with extensive insight into Portuguese environmental legislation, particularly in terms of the regulatory framework. This knowledge is essential for investors, which is where partners like us become extremely valuable. We conduct environmental compliance studies for companies and provide them with an action plan to address any non-compliance issues. Our role as an international bridge enables us to communicate with foreign companies, which is crucial for our business development strategy. As Portugal is increasingly opening up, it is important to clearly communicate the opportunities available to international clients. We also provide energy audits and create efficiency strategies, which is particularly relevant given the current inflation regarding energy prices. We aim to become stronger in matters of energy consulting because it is an area with great potential. Our knowledge of Portugal’s infrastructure and installation procedures is an important asset. This support is invaluable for international companies seeking to navigate the Portuguese business environment.

THE GREEN HYDROGEN SECTOR suffers from the age-old “chicken and egg” problem, a supply/demand mismatch whereby investment in upstream hydrogen production and infrastructure is hindered due to concerns around demand, while customers are reluctant to invest in new hydrogen technologies and equipment due to concerns about the availability of cost-competitive supply. Our modular, decentralized approach is a better fit for the current demand environment and will help resolve the problem, particularly for higher value applications such as mobility and synthetic fuel sectors that are expected to power incremental hydrogen demand through the rest of the decade. Our HEVO solutions, which can deliver competitive levelized costs for sub-5MW green hydrogen projects, have the potential to democratize access to hydrogen, giving producers and customers alike the opportunity to develop their own supply of green hydrogen without the significant upfront capital investment of a large scale centralized electrolyzer.

AKUO WAS FOUNDED with a strategy of diversifying energy generation among wind, solar, hydro, and storage, and to develop projects internationally. The business model is to keep ownership of the assets and sell the electricity, which places Akuo as a long-term player in the sector. The company has been present in Portugal since 2018, and, thanks to its success at the 2019 national solar auction, the country accounts for 25% of our total potential energy production. We develop, structure, finance, build and then operate the power plants. Construction is being launched this year on three solar plants for a total of approximately 450MWp. When we develop a project, we know it is not with the intention of selling it, which results in efficient and optimized projects. It is comforting for partners in the public sector to count on a company with such a longterm vision. As a fully integrated player, we took the strategic decision to set up our own operation and maintenance team to provide services to our projects and also sell services to third parties at competitive price.

FF VENTURES is an independent power producer (IPP) company in the renewable energy sector, founded in 2018. Apart from the executive founders, we also have as a shareholder the leading English energy fund, Octopus Renewables, which together with the original founders gives us the capacity to develop all the projects and diversify our activities. We are currently developing our own projects, as well as projects in collaboration with other companies and large self-consumption projects for the industry. We are involved with several technologies, such as solar PV, floating PV, storage, hybridization, and most recently wind farms, both onshore and offshore floating. In Iberia, we have around 3GW of projects under development across all technologies, of which in Portugal there are more than 1.3GW, in different stages of development. Currently, the first package of photovoltaic projects developed by FF Ventures is under construction.

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35 Green Economy & Energy
Wind turbines pictured in the Portuguese countryside Image: Serhiy Stakhnyk


Technical and financial efficiency are essential components of sustainable construction, and Portugal is shouldering the weight of going green.

AS THE VALUES OF ESG CONTINUE TO PERMEATE the corporate world, more and more companies abandon conventional annual reports in favor of the Integrated Report that showcases green credentials. In fact, many no longer consider it sufficient to be sustainable in isolation. Increasingly, a firm’s business dealings across the value chain demand compliance with wider national or global sustainability targets.


Construction and real estate have long been barometer sectors indicating the condition of economies. They are vast sources of employment, but also of resources, which, here, merits some numbers for context. The European Commission confirms that a minimum of 35% of buildings in the EU are at least 50 years old, and, hence, energy inefficient. This means that given today’s availability of advanced building materials, each continues to consume an unnecessarily large amount electricity to heat water, illuminate, heat and cool. So how big of an issue is this? To answer, let’s shift to a global scale, where we discover that buildings account for roughly 40% of annual global CO2 emissions. Broken down further building operations claim 28% annually, while building materials and construction—known as embodied carbon—claim a further 11% annually, according to the Global ABC Global Status Report for 2018. It is immediately clear that regarding existing building stock renovation is a massive undertaking.


While costs inevitably decline as demand rises no one pretends that the transition to green building is cheap. And so, the EU imple-

ments financial support initiatives to share today’s financial burden for a cleaner tomorrow. The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the wider EU institution offer alternative resources or buildings renovations to supplement member states’ initiatives. These include the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), Horizon 2020, and the European Local ENergy Assistance (ELENA) facility. The scope of the latter involves technical assistance for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in buildings and innovative urban transport. And between 2021 and 2027, additional financial instruments are set to support building renovations under InvestEU.


Data from World Bank organ the International Corporation (IFC) puts green investment at USD24.7 trillion by 2030. The core advantages of green buildings are economy, utility, durability, finally, health and comfort. Green buildings have a low carbon footprint, require low maintenance through smart monitoring, and offer structural durability. And in terms of their users’ research, it indicates that people thrive better in well-ventilated and efficiently lit green buildings. Harvard University studies perhaps unsurprisingly even point to improved cognitive performance.


On April 7, 2022, Ministerial Order no. 136-A/2022 regulating the incentive system from the allocation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PPR) to the investment TC-C13-i03 - Energy efficiency in services buildings (Ministerial Order) was published in Portugal’s Official Gazette. This order regulates the incentive system regarding the

Portugal 2023 FOCUS Green optimization

promotion of energy efficiency in buildings, as part of the climate transition dimension of the PPR, itself dedicated to promoting carbon neutrality. Accordingly, the tender process of the incentive system pertains to buildings in the commercial and services sectors located in Portugal and owned by legal or natural persons in the private sector, including tourism. Eligible expenses extend to the acquisition costs of new solutions, including consulting, within the scope of each specific project tender. The expenses covered include energy production from renewable sources for self-consumption, the related facilities, and monitoring technologies.


While outwardly sounding like an oxymoron, “sustainable heritage” is a workaround that enables green technology to be implemented in historic buildings subject to strict conservation codes. A recent environmental renovation project proved between 2016 and 2019 just how much could be achieved, despite exacting technical

limitations. With over a century of history behind it, Lisbon’s Paços do Concelho City Hall was calculated to be around 40% more energy intensive than its residential peers. This applies to all similar buildings, which challenges the EU’s most recent target of a 55% cut in emissions by 2030 in step with its Renovation Wave Strategy.

With aesthetic considerations outweighing green materials, clever solutions included camouflaging solar panels so as to preserve celebrated views of the building from various vantage points. Meanwhile, 2,000 chandelier light bulbs were swapped out for LED technology. The results were startling, as energy consumption dropped 50% from 493.72MWh annually in 2016, ahead of renovation, to 246.93MWh in 2019. This decline equated to an 84-ton slashing of CO2 emissions. And the payback time for the EUR420,000-invested from city coffers—with an additional EUR168,000 of EU funding through the Sharing Cities project—is a mere decade. Portugal, then, has confirmed that building efficiency is among the cheapest routes to reducing CO2 emissions. ✖
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The Bank of Portugal building in Lisbon

Country 20XX
Image: goga18128 STOCK MARKET RETURN (%, YOY) SOURCE: TRADINGECONOMICS 2017 15 2021 21.5 2018 9.5 2019 2 2020 2 TOP-5 PORTUGUESE BANKS BY ASSETS (USD BN) SOURCE: PAYSPACE MAGAZINE Caixa Geral de Depósitos 100 Banco Comercial Portugues 91 Banco Santander Totta 46 Novo Banco 45 Portuguese Investment Bank 37 GENERAL INSURANCE GROSS WRITTEN PREMIUMS GROWTH (%) SOURCE: GLOBALDATA 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 f '23 f '24 f


In the wake of the formation of the single-decision grouping of the EC, ECB, and IMF, known as troika, in the aftermath of the European debt crisis, Portugal posted one of the sharpest turnarounds in public financing. With a series of public policies to promote international investment and reduced public spending, Portugal achieved the perception of being a business-friendly jurisdiction with unique economic attributes. This and programs such as the Golden Visa have put Portugal on the map. Being on the radar of investors is highly favorable because attracting capital from abroad is precisely what the country needs for development. The investment conditions regarding the fundamentals are its world-class infrastructure, an enviable talent pool, and a spectrum of productive and acquirable businesses, among many others. If the country can complement these advantages with a political discourse that reassures long-term investment, it will amass the capital it needs for job growth and economic development. In terms of finances, Portugal needs foreign backing.

However, the country is already making significant strides in its internal financial markets, which is a positive sign of things to come. Portugal’s banks maintain healthy loan-deposit ratios and seem committed to the digitalization of banking. The country is a net banking technology exporter, with Portuguese fintech companies being of reference within the Lusophone trading bloc. This is an advantageous position for Por-

tugal to be in. Portuguese banks understand the importance of proximity to the market and lean on technology to benefit clients. For example, in light of hiking interest rates, Portuguese banks are diffusing the pressure with attractive digital products and a solid commitment to relationship-based business. These strategies ensure the health of the Portuguese financial markets long term.

As Portugal restructures some of its public policies regarding finance, it must remain attentive to the opportunities made available by technology. Data insights allow financial institutions to extract more value from transactions and clients. It also helps them optimize their exposures and minimize risks. Portuguese financial institutions can derive benefits from technology. This can be impactful also as a counter-weight to policy. Technology can maintain Portugal’s attractiveness at a jurisdictional level.

The SIFIDE program is a powerful example of how incentives at a financial level can nudge businesses in the direction of growth. SIFIDE, which stands for System of Fiscal Incentives for Research and Development, is a mechanism that looks to promote the competitiveness of companies through fiscal stimulus. It provides tax relief to companies that investment in research and development. Widely considered a success, SIFIDE should stand as an example of the types of mechanisms Portugal must lean on to prop up its business base. ✖

39 Finance CHAPTER SUMMARY Finance

HEALTHY operations

Millennium bcp is a unique Portuguese bank with a focus on commercial banking and customer relationships, maintaining a healthy loan-todeposit ratio and investing in digital services and products, as well as cybersecurity.

What makes Millennium bcp’s profile unique in Portugal, and how does the bank contribute to the financial strength of the country? Millennium bcp is the Portuguese bank of excellence. The only listed bank in Portugal, there are no other institutions quite like it. The bank’s main market is Portugal, and we are from and controlled by the private sector. Being a bank with characteristics that others cannot match means that we have an obligation, proximity to the market. That is our objective, and we have to be transparent in achieving it, because we are listed on the Portuguese Stock Exchange. An important characteristic of Millennium bcp is that we are a commercial bank. Such a bank is based on relations rather than products. During the pandemic, we were the number one bank to support the financing of small, medium, and corporate-sized businesses in Portugal. This is core to our growth and for the evolution of the country. Additionally, we are a bank of reference for individuals. Our market share for individuals is between 18% and 20%. We are focusing our efforts and targets on providing the right solutions to meet to the needs of individuals, while maintaining support for companies.

What aspects of Millennium bcp’s business performance during 2022 are worth mentioning?

of smaller size than in the past. We invested strongly in a digital customer base and improved systems to support the remote banking business. The three areas of investment were digital service, digital products and cybersecurity. BCP’s mobile app ranked as Portugal’s most user friendly. We have more than 6.5 million customers, of whom more than 70% interact with us primarily through digital banking. Over 80% of bank transactions during 2022 were remote. The largest impact on customer satisfaction is processes. BCP was by far the number one bank to support customers during COVID-19, which was because we were able to automate processes to swiftly handle a heavy volume of requests. Going forward, we want to expand the penetration of innovative banking methods by leaning on excellent client relations and the human touch.

What are Portugal’s advantages as a destination for investment and business?


Nuno Amado studied business administration at ISCTE Business School and completed an advanced management program at INSEAD in Fontainebleau. In 1985, he joined the audit and consulting department at KPMG, and five years later he began a banking career, working at Citibank Portugal, Banco Fonsecas & Burnay, and Deutsche Bank Portugal. In 1997, he joined Banco Santander Totta and became the Group CEO for Portugal in 2006. In 2012, he became CEO of Millennium bcp, and in 2018 he was named Chairman of the bank’s board of directors.

We maintained a healthy loan to deposit ratio of 80%, and we would prefer to maintain this balance rather than expand it. This is a more balanced level than 10 years ago and also more optimized than it was three years ago. Our mission is to have a solid balance sheet. Millennium bcp wants to be dependent on customers rather than markets as much as possible. We use customer fees to finance customer needs. And while we could leverage the balance sheet we prefer not to do so, but to maintain a conservative approach that in the long term proves more stable.

How do you envision the future of banking, and which technologies pose interesting opportunities for business development?

The bank has a modern branch structure

Portugal enjoys political stability and is in the right periphery. Fundamentals such as infrastructure and telecommunications support sustainable growth. On the business side, Portugal is recovering from a complex macroeconomic context but there is staunch commitment to reduce Portugal’s debt to GDP debt ratio. The projection is to leave the top five in Europe by level of debt. It will be closer and closer to the European average. This will contribute to the sustainability of economic performance in the country. Finally, Portugal has a workforce with language skills, and its universities are in the top 25 of European universities. For a small country, that is important and affords Portugal a solid reputation. We have several disadvantages. These include high tax rates and a high level of government bureaucracy; however, while the tax burden for the Portuguese is high, it is much lower for foreigners who come to Portugal. This is an additional incentive for an international company to invest in Portugal because the large part of their foreign expatriates that came to Portugal enjoy attractive fiscal opportunities. ✖

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Both large finance companies as well as smaller entrepreneurs have found great success in Portugal as a result of its talented workforce and international outlook.

CITI HAS BEEN OPERATING IN PORTUGAL since 1979, first as a representative office and since 1985 with a full banking license. We primarily serve large corporates, banks, the public sector, and the subsidiaries of our multinational clients. In addition to investment banking services, we also offer traditional corporate banking activities, such as lending, transactional services, and markets solutions to clients in different sectors with diverse needs and ambitions, including mid-sized companies to scale faster and grow larger internationally. We also assist our clients in tapping into debt capital markets as a means to secure long-term financing through the public or private bond markets, advise them on capital structure, M&A ambitions, or potential expansion into other markets. Citi is present in more than 90 countries and does business in nearly 160 countries and jurisdictions across five continents. Our global footprint is a key advantage in providing services to help our clients identify opportunities for growth and support their expansion to new markets. We have an extensive network all around the world, with clients across the sovereign, corporate, or finance institutions space. Citi can act as a bridge for Portuguese companies to explore different overseas markets. Our primary objective is to be considered the trusted advisor for our clients and the most relevant international bank.

FINANGESTE WAS FOUNDED in 1978 by the Bank of Portugal to purchase and manage toxic assets and NPLs, being the only Portuguese institution with such expertise at the time. In 2014, the European Central Bank issued a norm that forced the Bank of Portugal to separate from Finangeste. Becoming a private business, Finangeste was thoroughly restructured and expanded and is today an institutional investor in the real estate and credit markets, as well as one of the main real estate developers in Portugal. The company combines its multidisciplinary team with high competence at a national and international level with a massive grid of brokers, consultants, and other public and private contacts that was inherited through the firm’s public legacy and has grown exponentially since its acquisition. Finangeste is currently involved in a wide and varied number of projects, and actively participates in every step of each program: Fundraising, financing, acquisition, development, asset management, and sale. The team is experienced in achieving high financial returns through added value, obtained by the execution of sharp acquisition strategies and an active role in asset management, in line with risk management, investment, and ethical principles. Throughout the years, we have built an unmatched relationship of trust with our investors, as we do not just provide innovative concepts but also steel-sharp execution.

REVOLUT HAS COME a long way since it launched in 2015. We have developed from a card that was born primarily for travel, offering the best FX rates, to a fully-fledged digital bank with over 25 million customers worldwide that offers various financial services, such as payments, currency exchange, and accounts for companies and individuals, but also more innovative products like crypto investment, travel features, among others. In our quest to develop the first truly global super financial app, we now offer over 70 different features with our app, all oriented toward helping our customers make the most out of their money and better manage their finances. We want our customers to find in one place all aspects of their money, while enjoying a seamless in-app experience. We decided to open our office in Matoshinhos in 2019 because we identified Portugal as an emerging fintech hub in Europe. Portugal, due to the quality of its professionals—with great proficiency in languages—the quality of life, and unique weather conditions in Europe, is a great place to attract and nurture talent. Currently, Portugal is Revolut’s second-biggest employee force right after the UK, with over 1,200 employees in the region. Meanwhile, we are actively hiring in the region to provide products that really suit the needs of Portuguese customers.

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These finance consultants employ their international experience to collaborate with clients and provide them with top-of-the-line technology solutions to address today’s challenges.

DIXTIOR WAS ESTABLISHED in 2013 and so the business is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The financial crime markets for software are experiencing growth north of 30% per year. Being market pioneers gave us the opportunity and the knowledge to offer our clients unique options in the local market. The primary objective of Dixtior was to create and market anti-money laundering (AML) technologies. In this objective, data analysis is one of the most crucial components, and data analysis and AI provide our product its competitive edge. To create the software, we formed dedicated teams and along the way forged various partnerships with Matrix Stream. It is the global leader for GRC Solutions, and we represent it in certain markets, such as Portugal. We started with AML but wanted to have a strong presence in the compliance market. For AML, 65% of our business is international. Banks and financial institutions have faced huge investments since 2021 in terms of regulatory compliance, and the outlook is that this will not slow down. In terms of compliance, we provide consultancy for banks and financial institutions that range from governance, risk management, and compliance to financial compliance and anti-bribery and corruption. Additionally, we offer our own financial crime solution and modules for financial risk, internal audit, and other topics.

FI GROUP is an international finance expert present in 14 countries on three continents. It has 1,700 employees and more than 20 years of experience in financing innovation and R&D. With its headquarters in Barcelona, FI Group has been in Portugal for almost 15 years, helping companies receive annual R&D funds and tax relief. It seeks to develop different approaches and connected solutions, such as funding and tax relief. In addition, we are positioning ourselves as a strategic consulting firm. We seek to develop personalized approaches for companies by assessing their needs to provide a better service. Growth in our client base comes from the IT sector, which reflects the influence of SIFIDE in Portugal—IT companies are the ones that typically apply for tax relief. We currently hold 20% of the market share in SIFIDE, even though there are more than 200 consulting firms in Portugal. We have a competitive advantage not only because of our international presence but also because we are the only company in Portugal to use the SIFIDE platform. For example, instead of trying to share Excel sheets and emails, clients can input their information onto this platform, where we can then access it. We are the only ones in the market with this tool, which sets us apart.

IN TODAY’S WORLD, technology plays a vital role in the financial sector, and one of the primary challenges is meeting the ever-increasing demands of users who expect user-friendly technology and quick completion of tasks, putting significant pressure on firms to continually innovate and stay ahead of the curve. Asseco Portugal has been in the industry for over 30 years and has worked with different entities in different countries and geographies, providing a wealth of experience to draw from when helping clients. Asseco Portugal believes in a collaborative approach and works with clients to find the appropriate solution that best fits their needs. Our global reach enables us to determine the best and most suitable technologies and provide clients access to top-of-the-line solutions. Partnering with a company that offers a wide range of services and specialties has several advantages. Clients have one single point of contact for a large part of their portfolio, making communication and project management more manageable. Asseco Portugal’s broad portfolio allows it to diversify, enter different markets, and work with varied customers in separate areas. Our ability to address all of a company’s needs is one of our significant advantages. Having a positive experience with Asseco Portugal’s services can encourage clients to hire them for different areas.

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insights into market trends, and the feed-back that we gather allow us to design and implement the best solutions.

How have you innovated your business?

What is the focus of Real Vida Seguros and what differentiates the company?

Real Vida Seguros is an insurance company specializing in life insurance, offering a broad range of insurance products for individual protection. Our offer includes not only life insurance, but also health and personal accidents. As such, we are able to provide a complete coverage solution to our clients, adapting the covers and/or amounts covered according to the needs and client profile. On top of that, Real Vida has also savings and investment solutions, adapted to different financial objectives of our clients. Across all the different areas within the company, we are an experienced team dedicated to quickly responding to challenges. We strongly believe in the quality of service, and that a well-informed client is a more satisfied client. Real Vida invests heavily in the training and follow-up of our agents. Being close to the day-to-day operation of our agents provides us with important

We understand that our clients want easy and quick solutions for subscribing and managing insurance policies. That availability of service is extremely important: our clients want to engage with us whenever they want, and not just from 9am-5pm. That’s why we continue to invest in the simplification of our process and providing dedicated web services, Áreas Reservadas, where our clients and agents can easily manage their policies and communicate with the company. Technology plays an important role in this process. For example, Real Vida has implemented a process that allows the online submission of new insurance proposals, available 24/7. Furthermore, this process is integrated with an automatic risk analysis process that collects from the client the relevant information, evaluates that information, and provides a decision. In consequence, our agents can, whenever required, access our service, and issue a new insurance policy in a matter of a few minutes and in a completely paperless experience. ✖

BIO Marta Graça Ferreira holds a degree in economics and a specialization in marketing and sales from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a master’s in applied management from ISCTE Executive Education. She has additional training such as Xponential Business Administration by Nova School of Business and Economics, as well as in several other areas. Ferreira has 24 years of experience in the insurance industry, having started her career as a sales executive before taking on roles such as agency manager, coordinator, director, coordinating director, administrator, vice president, and currently chairman of the board at Real Vida Seguros.
44 Portugal 2023
Image: Robson90


In the ever-evolving financial sector, the notion of future-proofing may seem paradoxical. Yet, at the heart of RegTech, which prevents dealings with unsavory agents, lies avoidance of long-term reputational damage.

WITH THE WORLD INCREASINGLY DEFINED BY the networking of industry, finance, commerce, and public services, individuals and businesses alike have never been so vulnerable to digital abuse. And with smart cities the template for tomorrow’s world the race is on to ensure that they do not provide an address for hi-tech crime. The key word here is regulation.

Regulatory technologies are the means by which fintech pursues compliance with regulatory frameworks and prevents the transaction of countries and Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) on a banned list, say, subject to international sanctions. The monitoring of financial processes scans for money laundering and other nefarious financial transactions and accounts.


Unlike the uphill slog of building a corporate reputation, the loss of one is instantaneous, and occasionally irreversible. Yet, in the competitive commercial arena time is no friend of the decision-maker. Therefore, the challenge for financial institutions is two-fold. First, to build a complete, accurate and up-to-date profile of actual and potential clients to avoid risking reputational damage from doing business with a compromised entity. And secondly, to avoid untimely disruption to customer onboarding from over-lengthy compliance that can cost banks business.

Ultimately both bank and client are fighting the clock. The growth of regtech since 2015 attests to the sheer volume of regulations put in place worldwide that all legitimate financial agencies are subject to. And with so much at stake for systemic reputation, infractions in AML compliance merit the full weight of the regulators’ authority. Sector data reveals that over the past decade alone around USD26 billion in financial penalties has been levied against financial institutions for anti-money laundering (AML), know your customer (KYC), and other violations in the US, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.


Regtech facilitates AML compliance in several ways. Operating as automated processes, regtech solutions increase and accelerate companies’ ability to meet their AML obligations while expediting customer due diligence (CDD) and enhanced due diligence (EDD). Through digital connection to diverse regulators and registries customer information is swiftly and accurately checked. Meanwhile, automated database searches allow institutions to immediately collate Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) structures thereby improving accuracy

and completeness. Furthermore, RegTech allows an institution to monitor an entity’s risk exposure based upon data from reliable media sources. How is this useful? Well, smart systems offer real time screening of changes in customer risk profile, whereby subsequent status changes do not mean irregularities falling through the cracks. Ultimately, what all this spells is a comprehensive audit trail of every step taken in the AML process.


As an EU member since 1986 in the bloc’s third enlargement, Portugal’s financial market is subject to EU regulatory controls, as well its own legislation. In Portugal the criminal offense of money laundering and its attendant penalties is provided for in Article 368-A of the Portuguese Criminal Code. Additionally, Law 83/2017 establishes preventive and repressive measures to combat money laundering and the funding of terrorism.

To these are added the central bank—Banco de Portugal—comprehensive regulatory standards. Among seven notices governing the behavior of banks may make note of Notice of Banco de Portugal No 1/2022 of June 6, 2022. This governs enforcement conditions, procedures, instruments, mechanisms, enforcement measures, reporting obligations, and other aspects that ensure compliance with obligations for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, within the activities of financial entities subject to the bank’s supervision, as well as the means and mechanisms necessary for such entities to comply with the duties stipulated in Law No 97/2017, and the measures that payment service providers must adopt to detect fund transfers with missing or incomplete information on the payer or payee. Meanwhile, notice of Banco de Portugal No 7/2009 of September 16, 2009, prohibits the granting of credit to entities headquartered in an offshore jurisdiction considered non-cooperative, or whose ultimate beneficiary is unknown. And Instruction of Banco de Portugal No 5/2019 of January 30, 2019, stipulates the requirements for entities subject to the bank’s supervision to regularly report on their efforts to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

Today’s financial services sector is witnessing such rapid development as to be in perpetual “early days” in one area or another. As such, regtech provides essential body-armor without damming up legitimate applications, transactions and financial flow. In short, the bigger the client the bigger the risk, and the larger the institution, the longer the drop for systemic reputation. The message truly is “compliance, compliance, compliance.” ✖

45 Finance FOCUS Anti-money laundering
Country 20XX
A Volkswagen facility in Palmela
MANUFACTURING, VALUE ADDED (% OF GDP) SOURCE: THE WORLD BANK 12.4 12.2 12 11.8 11.6 11.4 ’16 ’17 ’18 ’19 ’20 ’21 INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION INDEX (2015=100) SOURCE: STATISTA 103 102 101 100 99 98 97 ’21 ’21 ’21 ’22 ’22 ’22 ’22 JUL SEP NOV JAN MAR MAY JUL TOP EXPORT PRODUCTS (2021) SOURCE: OEC Cars $4.21 B Motor vehicle parts & accessories $3.11 B Refined petroleum $2.67 B Leather footwear $1.72 B Rubber tires $1.2 B
Image: David Jancik

Industry & Agroindustry


Industrial margin-based businesses are leaning so heavily on technology that the overlap between the two business focuses seems all but gone. On various occasions, interviewees of this chapter, be they manufacturing or agriculture managers, highlighted the importance of their work next to technology providers. Industrialists want to tap into AI, the IoT, and data to optimize business across all dimensions. Productivity is the obvious metric, but they also give encouraging signs of considering their business beyond immediate returns.

From both macro and micro perspectives, Portugal understands what tomorrow’s economy will look like. The Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) is peppered with mentions of sustainability and digitalization. The same applies to the private development plans of the companies in this chapter. Portuguese industrialists prioritize sustainability and, fittingly, have the tools of the fourth industrial revolution at their aid. One key example is the treatment of pests in agriculture. With more effective crop canvassing, pests can be detected precisely, leading to the targeted use of pesticides. Thanks to AI and IoT, advances in canvassing contribute to better sustainability objectives.

The industrial makeup of Portugal and the country’s global weight in industrial segments such as textiles or pulp manufacturing is surprising and indicative of a unique approach to business. For a country of its size, it is commendable to be leading globally in specific crops, as is the case with cork. The vision for the future also shows promising signs. In 2022, Portugal was the country with the most significant percentage increase in the production of almonds. Portuguese businesses want to be competitive internationally and are investing to be at the forefront of innovation.

The size of the domestic market means that Portuguese businesses are internationally oriented from the get go. This has imprinted a sense of competitiveness among Portuguese industrialists and, naturally, an inclination toward technology. Local industrialists benefit from the technology ecosystems that have sprouted across the country, and being competitive concerning technology is part of the Portuguese business acumen. The logistical challenges of the pandemic, the rigor of local legislation, and competition at a European level have made Portuguese industrialists strong by international standards and quick adopters of the fourth industrial revolution. ✖

47 Industry & Agroindustry CHAPTER SUMMARY

RESPONSIBLE entrepreneurship

Grupo Bel invests in building a more sustainable world, with a focus on responsible entrepreneurship, diversification through acquisitions, and investing in advanced technologies and cutting-edge research.

Can you provide an overview of Grupo Bel’s range and reach?

Grupo Bel is composed of 50 Portuguese companies that operate in six business areas: industry, logistics, real estate, communication, sustainable solutions, and innovation. Our companies are united by a shared commitment to delivering value, not just profits. We believe in creating capital that truly brings value to society. Our teams are fully dedicated to that mission, which has resulted in exponential growth over the years. We are on track to becoming a EUR-10 billion company in terms of revenue, with almost EUR1 billion in sales currently. Reinvestment has always been a critical characteristic of the group, and we invest 100% of the value we create into building a more sustainable world. Being sustainable is not only about being green or using solar energy. We want to have an impact on the biggest problems of society.

What is your strategy to ensure effective management and a broad focus?

Responsible entrepreneurship lies at the heart of our business. Investment in new business areas has proven to be fundamental for the development and diversification of Grupo Bel, and our conduct across all our activities is guided by sustainable and socially responsible growth. Our acquisition strategy has also played a crucial role in our exponential growth over the years, enabling us to leverage synergies between our companies and strengthen our financial and business operations. We have also professionalized and streamlined our management support departments, making them cross to all our companies in order

to provide specialized services. We also strive to align ourselves with society’s needs and keep a close eye on the evolution of the Portuguese economy, positioning our companies in competitive markets and sectors that drive economic growth. Finally, we invest heavily in advanced technologies and cutting-edge research, particularly are in the aerospace and automation sectors, which will drive the Portuguese economy in the coming years.

What pillars will ensure the solidity of the companies that make up Grupo Bel?

People are our most valuable asset. We hold true to the values that have always guided us from the beginning: creating value in the company, building for future generations, and creating social wealth. We believe a company cannot stand isolated from its surroundings, and we make sure to regularly participate in social, human, and environmental causes that promote a fairer, more prosperous future. In 2022, we placed ESG values at the center of our governance with the creation of an ESG Commission.

How would you evaluate the prospects and incentives for setting up a business in Portugal?

Portugal is one of the best countries in the world to invest. It enjoys social and political stability, and our history speaks to this stability, with the oldest border in Europe of almost 1,000 years. In terms of social values, Portugal has always been at the forefront. We have a long-standing tradition of respecting different nations and cultures, having had Muslim leaders in our history. We were also among the first countries to abolish slavery. Our

skilled and flexible labor force, combined with financial funds programs such as the PRR and Portugal 2030, make us an attractive destination for private investment. Additionally, we benefit from our prime location in Europe and unique natural resources.

What areas offer significant economic potential for Grupo Bel moving forward?

Innovation is a key driver for Grupo Bel, and we invest heavily in R&D to stimulate innovative solutions that generate new products and services, improve process productivity, and consolidate the technological advantage of our companies over the competition. We are exploring the use of autonomous mobile robots in logistics and hospital disinfection, for example, using AI to find flexible and innovative natural navigation solutions. ✖


Marco Galinha studied computer engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico in 1996, choosing not to complete his degree in order to establish his first company at the age of 20. In 2007, he joined the Harvard Business School to specialize in marketing and management. Galinha was recognized as Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Região de Leiria in 2011 and Portuguese of Value by Lusopress in 2014 and 2016. In 2015, he also received the AFCEA Medal for “outstanding services.”

Currently, Galinha holds the positions of Chairman & CEO of Grupo Bel, S.A., which he founded in 2001. In 2021, he was elected chairman of the board of Global Media Group. He was previously also counselor of Conselho Económico e Social (CES), board member of the General Council of Confederação Empresarial de Portugal (CIP), and vice president of Associação Nacional de Jovens Empresários (ANJE).

48 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW


Big data is already an essential tool for Portuguese industrial processing companies to manage their costs more efficiently and sustainably.

PORTUGUESE SPECIALTY MANUFACTURING and agricultural companies are positioning themselves as one of the world leaders. Applied to manufacturing or industrial crop processing, big data enables increased productivity and performance of facilities or fields thanks to data analytics that allow better business decisions to be made. One of the companies that best reflects the digitization of the Portuguese agricultural industrial sector is Sovena, specialized in the manufacture of cooking and olive oils.

“Agriculture today is different from what it was 15 years ago; it has benefited from big data and digitalization trends. Technology advancements enable companies to produce better olive oil, cheaper and in greater volume,” said Jorge de Melo, CEO of Sovena, during an interview with TBY. Sovena, which operates in the edible oils business, has implemented big data in order to be a more sustainable business by controlling the most efficient use of water and fertilizers so that they are used only when necessary.

“We work together with suppliers on issues such as irrigation and mapping, in order to capture actionable data that helps us track how the crop is evolving and how to optimize harvesting,” de Melo said. This is the example of a company that has successfully implemented a data technology program in the olive oil sector, a product that represents one of Portugal’s main exports and of which the country is one of the world’s leading manufacturers.

The global big data market is expected to grow from USD162.6 billion in 2021 to USD273.4 billion in 2026, according to a study by ResearchAndMarkets. And Portugal wants to be part of the industrial revolution that is driving this technology, not only in key sectors such as industry and textiles, but also by promoting the digitalization of its companies.

As part of the strategies to achieve this transformation, the country’s government will allocate 22% of the EUR16.6 billion that the EU approved in 2021 for Portugal’s Recovery and Resilience Plan to contribute to the country’s digital transition. This EUR16.6 billion is part of the EU’s EUR750-billion Next Generation program, which aims to support the digital and sustainable transformation of member states.

With this 22% allocation of the authorized EUR16.6 billion, the country is seeking to implement digitalization programs that include the expansion of big data in both the public and private sectors as one of its priorities. In the case of the private sector, the plan makes funds available to companies so that they can finance big data initiatives that promote efficiency in the industrial sector. In this way, they aim to advance their part in helping the EU achieve one of the goals of doubling semiconductor production in Europe by 2025, producing processors that are 10 times more energy efficient, and doubling the share of companies on the continent that use advanced cloud services and big data.

These technologies are of particular interest to margin-based businesses, making data control in manufacturing and agriculture particularly important, especially in an inflationary period. Another Portuguese success story is Navigator, one of the world’s leading pulp manufacturers, focused on achieving a decarbonized industrial process amid rising inflationary pressures on a global scale. In its financial reporting, the company identifies analytical intelligence and big data as some of the tools that will help improve its operations and have a positive impact on sustainable economic development.

These steps being taken by Portuguese companies are important in the process of digitizing society, as the country still has a long way to go in big data. This is reflected in its 15th place ranking among the 27 EU countries in the 2022 edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which provides a composite index summarizing five indicators of each EU state’s digital performance.

Portugal’s DESI document indicates that only 11% of companies are implementing big data initiatives, below the EU average of 14%. However, this context has all the elements to undergo a radical change thanks to the fact that digitalization occupies a prominent place within public policies and sectorial incentives for SMEs.

The level of digital skills knowledge of Portuguese workers is similar to that of other EU members, but with the work of the government and the push of leading companies in their sectors such as Sovena or Navigator, it is certain that more and more businesses will use big data in their industrial processes. ✖

Industry & Agroindustry 49
FOCUS Data and industry


Appliances companies are focused on developing better and more innovative products that can be integrated into and optimize consumers’ lifestyles, with special focus on the Portuguese market.

HISENSE HAS OVER 50 YEARS of experience in manufacturing and has grown significantly. It is number one for TV and appliances in China and is a market leader in other Asian countries, Australia, and South Africa. It has opened several development centers in Europe and the US and is creating specific products for these markets. A few years ago, it also opened multiple subsidiaries in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, and the Czech Republic, including factories manufacturing TVs and white goods. It is easier for us to manufacture products locally for our European customers instead of waiting for stock to arrive from China. Hisense is betting heavily on Europe, specifically Portugal, where it has been present since 2019. In December 2022, Hisense became the second-largest TV brand by market share, a significant achievement in just four years. Hisense develops products specifically for European customers at the right price and quality. People in Portugal have already started to link our brand name to TVs, and they will soon make the same association with our home appliances. Our advantage is that we have a wider spectrum of products for customers. For now, our main objective is white goods, even though we will continue to promote our TVs.

SMEG IS AN ITALIAN BRAND that places a strong emphasis on design and intelligence. With almost 80 years of experience, SMEG entered the Portuguese market in 2006 as a relatively small company compared to other appliance brands, though it excels in design. The company values performance and innovation in optimizing user experience, making its mix of design and technology a unique value proposition in the market. We are extremely selective with technology, including only technology that enhances performance and have our own division dedicated to catering products for professional use. SMEG produces most of the products it sells and has full control over the entire production chain. We essentially measure the plastic and produce almost every single component. Most of the products that we sell are made in Italy, even our small domestic appliances, and we are extremely proud of our origins. Our brand positioning is exactly where we want it to be. The company is extremely dynamic, with new products coming every year that use solutions that appeal to the Portuguese public. We seek controlled growth because we are heavily focused on quality and the principles of the company. We are committed to our character and are committed to reflecting this in the market.

LG PORTUGAL is, effectively, an important subsidiary at European level, assuming itself as a benchmark for other subsidiaries on the continent and, even in the world, in categories such as financial performance, brand health, the form and strategy of action and success stories, such as the case of our approach to sustainability and e-waste and the new values recruitment program LG Xplorers. This positioning is due to several factors, justified, first, by the excellent results obtained year after year, which confirm the trend of consolidated growth that has been reported since 2016. It is the preference and trust that Portuguese consumers place in LG products that allow these results to be achieved: the Brand Preference Index achieved in the national market places LG Portugal in first place among the remaining European subsidiaries in the Brand Preference category. This was only possible thanks to the perception that the Portuguese have of the brand and, above all, of our products. Features such as innovation, reliability, and sustainability make us, according to GFK, market leaders in the segment of TVs, washing machines, side-by-side refrigerators and monitors/ displays. The same is true for corporate customers, who have increasingly opted for customized and integrated solutions for air conditioning, digital signage, and commercial TV.

50 Portugal 2023 FORUM


Focused on expanding further in Europe, Haier’s key targets include growing its market share across all categories, with a focus on the built-in segment and investing in efficient home appliances.

Haier is the largest home appliances group in the world. Could you give us an introduction to the company’s global trajectory?

Haier group has held the number-one position in the global market for home appliances for 14 consecutive years thanks to the company’s size and international presence. Haier is the market leader in China, second in the US, and number one and two in India and all of Asia. The company experienced massive growth in Europe around 10 years ago. Business development in Europe was tough in the beginning, being a Chinese group; however, Haier showed consumers that it is a reliable company with excellent product offerings. Acquisitions have been a core strategy for business development. In the US, Haier bought the home appliances vertical from General Electric. In Europe. Haier Group acquired the Candy Hoover Group. That purchase was strategic because the Group is the leader in connectivity technology in the European market. That makes Haier the strongest brand for connectivity in the continent. Through partnerships, Haier enables control and monitoring over the energy consumption of home appliances on a smartphone app. It is one of the pillars that the company exports these days.

What role does Haier seek to have in terms of sustainability?

Haier is making substantial investments in Europe, such as the opening of a production plant in Romania. What do you think the role of Europe will be within the company’s international strategy?

Europe is a key strategic region for business development at Haier. European markets are nuanced and can be challenging for outsiders. Haier’s multi-brand strategy is, therefore, a key asset. Haier’s three brands complement each other. Europe will be the core focus for business development over the next decade. In terms of growth rates, it can reach first or second place for Haier within a few years. We started in eighth place three years ago, and currently we are in fourth. In Portugal, the situation is similar. As Candy Hoover, we already enjoy solid participation in the market. We have a good share in all categories that we play in. With Haier, we are competitive in the premium market segment. There is an appreciation for quality in Portugal, especially in terms of things that are related, for example, to food. That’s where home appliances can be potent.

What are the key targets within Haier’s business development plans?


João Paulo Ferreira graduated in sports and has completed courses for executives including Six sigma, GMP Católica, XBA Xponentional business administration Nova SBE, and more. He has 32 years of market experience, starting at Sanyo as salesman and leaving the company as sales manager after 10 years. He worked in Panasonic eight years as commercial director and general manager and at LG for six years as CE business unit director. He has been at Haier group for 11 years as its Country Manager.

Haier plays a major role in sustainability, because if home appliances are more efficient, they reduce energy use, and we can contribute to making homes more energy efficient. We need to know how consumers use the products to help them use technology differently. The idea is to teach people to improve their habits and promote an efficient use of home appliances because wastefulness is linked to incorrect use. Partners also play a key role in pedagogy and R&D. We need to learn, together with other companies, how to optimize processes. Finally, sustainability is a priority for Haier in terms of materials and manufacturing. State policies for recycling during production and after-sales are key in the pursuit of sustainability.

Our ambition is to grow market share across all categories, with the most important at the moment being built-in. We want to be present in new constructions and be a part of the new investments in Portugal. This is one of the pillars. And the other is Hoover. We are transforming the product through consumer input, connecting with the consumers to understand their needs and their appraisal of products. This is the basis on which to design the next generation of Hoover products.

In terms of strengthening the built-in segment, how significant are partnerships with real estate developers?

It is important. We work with the distribution and retailers and have a division that focuses on these strategic alliances. All the brands that have built-in are developed through these channels. This is one of the channels we must invest in and care about its growth. ✖

51 Industry & Agroindustry INTERVIEW


With a strong presence in the Iberian Peninsula, Sovena is now seeking growth opportunities abroad as demand for olive oil increases in non-traditional markets.


is Sovena’s business focus?

Sovena operates in the edible oil business; 50% of its business comprises vegetable oils, sunflower oil, and rapeseed oil. The other 50% is olive oil. We have a strong presence in the Iberian Peninsula—from crushing, refining, bottling, and distribution—both in terms of bulk and packaged goods. We have integrated the business across the entire value chain through key agriculture projects, not only in Portugal, but also in Spain and Morocco. In Portugal, we have around 8,000ha of olive plantations, in a business that has grown over the past few years. We have our own brands and a private label. Our goal is to consolidate our position in this market and strengthen the export business in key countries, namely Angola in Africa—where we are setting up an industrial operation for vegetable oil bottling. In addition to Spain and Portugal, we also have an industrial presence in the US, a particularly important market for olive oil.

To what do you attribute the company’s capacity for international growth?

The olive oil business in Spain and Portugal is mature, and so if you want to grow, you have to look abroad. In new

markets, as well as through direct market entry, we identify opportunities to carry out acquisitions or JVs. That is what happened in Chile, where we acquired a small participation in a company called Soho. We leverage their production capacity in order to export Chilean olive oil, namely to Brazil. Local companies have the knowledge of the market and can maximize our potential in terms of product and market know-how.

How does Sovena approach IT and R&D to maintain a competitive advantage?

Agriculture today is different from what it was 15 years ago; it has benefited from big data and digitalization trends. Technology advancements enable companies to produce better olive oil, cheaper and in greater volume. This results in benefits to consumers and the environment. We work together with suppliers on issues such as irrigation and mapping, in order to capture actionable data that helps us track how the crop is evolving and how to optimize harvesting. This has been a process between the two parts, namely Sovena and the suppliers of technology. Technology also enables us to be more sustainable. With drop-by-drop irrigation, we use water and fertilizer only

when needed. To prevent diseases, you only treat land where the diseases are prone to happen.

What are your views on the olive oil market?

We notice increased demand for the product in countries that traditionally did not consume olive oil. The US is an example of a market that has grown in recent years; however, the olive oil market is dependent on the production side. If you lack sufficient product, you will not be able to sell more. There is considerable potential for the product to grow, especially in the globalized world with greater cross over in eating habits. ✖


Jorge de Melo has a degree in management and business administration from Universidade Católica Portuguesa and has attended several postgraduate courses in the same field. He has a strong experience in business, consulting, and management in the consumer sector both in Portugal and the US. He assumed his current role as CEO of Sovena Group at the beginning of 2018.

52 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW


Food production in Portugal has grown by leaps and bounds, with the local market acting as a testing ground for new products while focusing on sustainable production and efficient water management.

pact on society and the community. In 2022, for example, Portugal was certified B Corp, which was a major milestone as Danone was the first company in the FMCG sector to obtain the certification. Danone has clear targets for 2030 in terms of reducing CO2 emissions by 30% as well as emissions from milk production and improving energy production by 30%. The company uses renewable energy and is selective about its partners in the sustainability journey. In terms of packaging, Danone is also significantly reducing the use of plastic by eliminating plastic sleeves and moving toward other materials such as paper. We are also collaborating to reduce waste and aim to move away from expiry dates to recommended dates instead. We provide consumers with information and knowledge so they can use their own discretion to smell or taste products before throwing them out, thereby also reducing wasted expenditure. It is about dispelling misconceptions and innovating in packaging to be at the forefront of consumer trends.

What is your main strategy in Portugal?

JUDITH GONZALEZ SANS Danone has had a presence in Portugal for almost 40 years, starting with the acquisition of a family company in Castelo Branco. As a global company, Danone believes in adapting its portfolio of products to meet the needs of local markets, including Portugal. This approach allows us to be more flexible and offer specific ranges for Portugal. Globally, Portugal is important to Danone, as it serves as a catalyst for certain product categories. The country’s openness to innovation and the size of its market make it the ideal testing ground for new products. Danone uses Portugal to pioneer and test products before launching them in other markets. This gives Danone an advantage as it can refine its initiatives based on the feedback from the Portuguese market.

TIAGO COSTA The Portugal Nuts Association started in 2020 with the mission to create the best conditions for the nuts industry in Portugal to thrive. The idea is to promote, distribute, and develop knowledge about the industry to ensure

sustainable and competitive production. Portugal is competitive regarding cost of production, and we use technology to achieve the best quality. We aim to create awareness about Portugal’s nuts industry as a brand and promote it throughout Europe. We also protect the interests of our members, influencing institutions and organizations that can make decisions impacting our industry. Nut production here is competitive in terms of cost of production compared to other regions like the US. We also producing a different quality more directed to the European market. We are also reducing our carbon footprint and producing more sustainably. Additionally, we have excellent soil and weather conditions for producing high-quality almonds and walnuts.

What efforts are you making regarding sustainability and technology?

JGS Danone is committed to becoming a 100% B-Corp in 2025. The company has clear objectives in terms of sustainability, including health and communities. Being a B-Corp is not just about sustainability, but also about a company’s im-

TC We are assessing the carbon footprint. The good thing about a permanent crop is that we can sequester carbon. And from a study we have seen that an adult almond orchard sequestrates around 15.2 tons of CO2 per hectare per year. At the same time, different activities would increase the sequestration of carbon. If you change the management approach, for example, and add cover crops, that could also contribute to this sequestration. On the other hand, we know that the emissions per kilo of output are also low compared to other crops. We also note that from a biodiversity perspective, we have introduced significant change, not only in terms of the layout of our plantations but also with cover crops and other best management practices that champion biodiversity. Additionally, we have been implementing efficient water management to avoid wasteful use. Over the past seven years, there has been an investment of over EUR500 million in nut-related agriculture. People are bringing much professional knowledge and completely different organizations to the industry. There is a big difference in investors’ approach to this crop compared to other agriculture sectors or crops. They are all looking to produce sustainably using the best technology available in the market with a completely different mindset than in other industries. ✖

54 Portugal 2023 B2B

What is the strategy to enhance your environmental credentials within Portugal?


Sébastien Bidault started working with Atlas Copco 19 years ago after he graduated in mechanical engineering. After a few years in France in various technical and managerial roles, he moved abroad and assumed positions in Belgium, the US, the UK, India and, since the summer 2022, Portugal. Most of his experience has been in management roles in production companies and acquisitions for the Atlas Copco Group, though he now drives the management of a sales and service operations in Portugal and Angola.

Can you begin by giving us an overview of Atlas Copco?

Atlas Copco is an industrial company, and our main purpose is to enable the transformation of the global economy. As a major player in the industry, we aim to help the world transition to a sustainable industrial process and tackle the climate crisis. We are a Swedish company established in 1873 and will celebrating our 150th birthday in 2023. We have a presence in over 90 countries with over 49,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue of EUR13 billion. We are present in every part of the industry, from transportation to electronics, construction, automotive, and more. All the active industries in Portugal offer opportunities for partnership.

Atlas Copco has made a firm commitment to science-based targets. It is a global movement where individuals and companies can sign up for and commit to goals regarding low carbon transition. And the group has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 46% by 2030 for scopes 1 and 2, namely emissions that are within our direct control, and by 28% on scope 3. Our strategy is to drive this message with our customers, with the market, to help society make that transition. This is the backbone of our current and upcoming strategy worldwide. This is much applicable in Portugal, which is already well placed, with over 50% of electricity being generated from renewables, and much more development being done there. By helping industries reduce their carbon footprint, we are accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy. ✖

55 Industry & Agroindustry INTERVIEW
Image: Michele Rinaldi




More challenging than predicting how technology will shape business is visualizing the speed at which it will do so. Artificial intelligence, data, and IoT are strengthening at an astounding rate, yet the application of these technologies is accelerating even faster. Businesses are thinking creatively about using these tools to improve their processes. They are disruptive across all areas of business, and their full impact is difficult to predict. For example, with the advent of digitalization, marketing today differs entirely from what it was in the pre-Instagram era only a couple of years ago. And operations, today, without data monitoring, seem outdated. The bottom line is that advances in IT are changing how we approach business and that the companies thriving are those leaning ambitiously on IT. It is then encouraging that Portuguese companies exhibit that commitment across the board.

Portugal’s technology ecosystem is one of the

world’s most robust. Lifestyle and fiscal incentives lure professionals within the digital realm that can work remotely. English proficiency, a must within tech, also favors Portugal. Portugal has the right conditions to attract workers into this service-based field. The industry has found in international-savvy Portugal a natural home. For example, Foundever, the multinational customer experience giant, chose Portugal as the home for its multilingual region. This proclivity from businesses is a fantastic asset for the country.

The Portuguese business community is doing well in building bridges with IT. It is aligned with Portugal’s vision as an early adopter of technology. In a country that prides itself on having more Teslas than Seats, it can be a factor that boosts its economy cross-industry. Portugal has already birthed seven technology unicorns. If companies in Portugal maintain an appetite for innovation, it will favor the country’s competitiveness long term. ✖

& Media


Country 20XX
TOP 15 SOURCE: NOMAD GUIDE COUNTRY SPEED (MBPS) Monaco 165.47 Denmark 156.04 Spain 130.86 Romania 118.51 Liechtenstein 113.30 Switzerland 109.72 Norway 104.02 Sweden 101.27 Netherlands 100.38 Portugal 97.37 Hungary 95.11 France 92.59 Moldova 92.21 Luxembourg 91.74 Malta 90.66
(%) SOURCE: STATISTA 2019 72.45 2020 74.24 2021 75.69 2022e 76.85 2023e 77.75 2024e 78.45 2025e 78.99 MOBILE VENDOR MARKET SHARE (%, JUNE 2023) SOURCE: GLOBALSTATS 31.2% Samsung 31.1% Apple 16.6% Xiaomi 9.04% Huawei 12.1% Other
Image: Sonia Bonet A satellite communication array near Lisbon

transformational TECHNOLOGIES

With almost 40% of its revenue coming from overseas, Noesis aims to strengthen its international operations by establishing local structures, hiring local employees, and providing services worldwide with a hybrid nearshore approach.

What areas of information intelligence is Noesis focusing on?

At Noesis, we operate under eight delivery units that provide several different services to our clients to help them foster their digital transformation. As an IT consultancy company, our goal is to offer a wide range of services in the most relevant IT-related topics, such as IT operations, infrastructure, cloud, cybersecurity, enterprise application integration, software development, low-code development, data analytics, AI, process mining, DevOps, automation, quality assurance, and professional services. Our focus is to be a reliable partner to our customers, and our strategy is to have best-of-breed teams in all these areas of expertise.

What makes Noesis stand out as a top partner for companies in their digital transformation journey?

Our broad range of services and portfolio is one of our differentiators. Our vision is to remain relevant in a fast-moving market where new game-changing technologies emerge daily in order to continue to be a reliable partner and consultant to our customers, allowing them to get the most from those technologies and transform their businesses. To achieve that, our strategy relies on two significant pillars. The first is strategic partnerships with such as Microsoft, AWS, OutSystems, TIBCO, Darktrace, and Celonis, among many others, in each area we operate. We have more than 30 strategic partnerships with market-lead technologies, and in some cases, we were pioneers in bringing those technologies to the Portuguese market. The second pillar is our teams, and our goal here is to level these technical partnerships with

high-level expert teams looking to have the best experts on those specific technologies. For example, in our Low-Code Software development practice, we work with OutSystems technology, the market leader in the low-code space, according to Gartner. Noesis is among the top three of OutSystems’ partners ecosystem, worldwide, and we have developed state-of-the-art apps using OutSystems technology that have transformed our customers’ businesses.

What are the main objectives in Noesis’ 20242028 roadmap, and what investments is the company focusing on to reach these milestones?

We are still executing our 2020-2023 strategic plan, with excellent results so far. We are achieving all our goals regarding our business growth, international footprint, and talent retention. Regarding 2022, we have achieved our revenue goal for the year and registered a revenue growth of 12% in comparison to 2021. We have also strengthened our international operations, representing almost 40% of our total revenue today. We are starting to develop our 2024-2027 plan, so it is premature to reveal our goals. Nevertheless, the primary goals will surely be to keep our growth path, improve our results, and expand our international footprint.

What is the value of international business for Noesis and what is necessary to strengthen this vertical?

Our international business represents around 40% of our total revenue, and part of our strategy in the past few years is to be an international company that can develop projects around the globe. With our integration into Altia Group in

2020, we strengthened this ambition and invested more in our international plans. This path is already in motion. The goal is to keep investing in our international operations, establish local structures, relocate some of our talents to those countries, and hire local employees. We want to position our locations as regional hubs that can provide services to companies in those regions. Also, keep investing in our technical teams based in Portugal and providing services worldwide with a hybrid nearshore approach, combining local resources with nearshore teams. In 2022, we increased our local structure in the Netherlands, and from our office there, we now provide services not only to Dutch-based companies but also in Benelux, Germany, and the Nordics. For the US, we recently appointed a managing director who has relocated from Portugal to the US. In Ireland, we plan to expand our operations to the UK and hire a local sales rep throughout 2023. Finally, in Brazil, we are also building a tech hub to complement our European teams, and we already have 80-plus employees. ✖


The top two values for Alexandre Rosa are honesty and sharing, with which he seeks to help businesses grow faster. The satisfaction of clients, partners, and company talents are the reasons why he has dedicated his career to technology and contribute to the betterment of society. His travels fuel his inspiration to innovate.

60 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW

partner OF CHOICE

Unipartner works with a wide range of organizations to provide services and solutions in Microsoft enterprise areas as well as digital transformation tools and sustainability.

Can you provide an overview of Unipartner and its business focus?

Unipartner is among the largest IT consulting firms based in Portugal, with a diverse portfolio of mostly European customers. Our highly qualified consulting team works with government organizations, financial institutions, NGOs, and commercial enterprises to solve their most demanding IT and business challenges. We assist them with our innovative portfolio of cross-industry and industry-focused specialized services and solutions that address specific uses cases.

What products and services drive business growth for the company?

As a major Microsoft partner, we cover all Microsoft enterprise areas, with teams that are not only highly trained and certified, but who have also been recognized as Partner of the Year in areas like the modern workplace, data center transformation, and security. We are, in fact, one of the first European companies with all Microsoft Security certifications. Additionally, we have solid partnerships with other global leading technology providers, namely Salesforce, Outsystems, and Sitecore.

What company types do you work with?

We primarily work with large organizations, at both regional and global scopes. If we narrow it down to industry, we have wide experience in the financial sector, namely banking and insurance, which make up for 50% of our business. We also work with the public sector: both central and regional governments, as well as organizations in health, utilities, commerce, and industrial, as well as NGOs.

What are the main IT pain points of companies within the financial sector?

One of the key challenges for companies in the financial sector is managing their

customers effectively. Understanding the customer profile is critical for compliance and risk management, as well as driving business growth. By gaining insight into customer spending and earning patterns, businesses can improve customer retention rates. We help clients harness the power of data to enhance their business management. We work with their existing data to support critical functions, including compliance, user acquisition, marketing and management. Additionally, we also provide support to our customers in their commercial and marketing areas.

How do you envision the future of IT consulting, and which areas are garnering traction?

Large enterprises must be agiled and accelerate innovation. Speed is a critical challenge because cloud technologies are ready to use, so they move quickly on the market. To address this, we have developed a program called Digital Innovation Factory with Microsoft. It brings together professionals from business, technology, and operations to provide training on the latest Power Platform tools and components available to enhance their businesses. Digital transformation is essential in all areas, from marketing and finance to logistics. To succeed, we must take a digital-first process-oriented approach and bring all these areas together proactively. The modern workforce is already established, with remote work becoming increasingly common; however, some organizations may need to accelerate their efforts or implement functional components to better support their workers, customers and partners.

In terms of digital transformation journeys, what is the importance of leaning on a partner company that is an IT expert?

At Unipartner, we focus on three main pillars: people, sustainability and digital.

Our purpose, as an organization, is to work with our customers to use technology to improve people’s lives and create a more sustainable and responsible world. For these reasons, Unipartner is a member and founder of a movement named Digital with Purpose, which has been created by the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI). GeSI has conducted several studies to analyze technologies such as AI, the cloud, IoT, and many others in significant organizations to determine the possible impact on sustainability in the next decade. The conclusion is that by leveraging such digital technologies for good, we can address the UN’s SDGs, namely 103 of their 169 targets. At Unipartner, we are currently working on digital transformation use cases that create a positive impact on the organizations where we implement them, and defining the ways we can measure their contributions to those organizations’ own sustainability targets. ✖


Fernando Reino da Costa, Unipartner’s President & CEO, leads a consulting team with the mission of supporting digital transformation in large enterprises, the finance and the public sectors, helping them innovate and evolve continuously. With more than 30 years of experience, da Costa founded Unipartner alongside four former directors of Unisys, in 2015, after its reorganization. Having a degree in management, he studied electrotechnical engineering, holds a post-graduation from ISEG, and a business and leadership master from INSEAD.



Through enticing tax incentives, Portugal is trying to attract entrepreneurial talent and foster innovation.

PORTUGAL HAS POSITIONED ITSELF as one of the most advanced European jurisdictions in terms of tax incentives as a tool to promote innovation and technology in its economy. Two of the most effective mechanisms to attract foreign talent and investment in innovation have been the digital nomad visa programs and the SIFIDE II tax incentive system for research and development.

Portugal's digital nomad visa is one of the most successful of its kind in the EU. Available to non-EU citizens, it allows freelancers or those working for an online business and earning more than EUR 2,800 per month to live in the country for one year. In return, they can access the country's social security services and the benefits of the non-habitual resident tax regime. Since its launch in October 2022 through the end of January 2023, the country has approved 200 visas for digital nomads, mostly from the US, the UK, and Brazil.

The non-habitual resident tax regime, which provides for a reduced income tax of 20%, has already been available for years to foreigner residents in Portugal who carry out activities classified as high value-added. Within this professional field are included activities of a scientific, artistic, technical nature or the candidate occupies a high-level managerial position. This regime has a maximum duration of 10 years, but for applicants of the digital nomad visa its duration is a maximum of one year. Thus, with this type of program, Portugal seeks to attract, through a beneficial tax regime, outstanding professionals in their sectors with the aim of attracting the best talent.

On the other hand, the SIFIDE II program allows companies with activities in the country to deduct from the payment of corporate income tax a portion of the amount invested in research and development. The base rate for this type of benefit is 32.5% of the expenses incurred in research and development, which can be increased by up

to an additional 50% under certain conditions. There is also the possibility for small and medium-sized companies to increase the prime rate of 32.5% by an additional 15%, in case they do not qualify for the increase of up to 50%.

Among other expenses, the SIFIDE II system also allows the deduction of expenses for per diems paid to personnel working in research and development, for the elaboration of environmental products, and those related to the registration and maintenance of patents. In addition, this special tax regime, which is in effect until the end of 2025, allows salaries of workers involved in research and development activities to be eligible for tax credits.

Another of the government's objectives to encourage innovation through tax incentives is to improve the regulation of startups. To this end, the prime minister's cabinet is working on a bill to have by 2022 one of the most competitive startup laws in the international market, according to the country's Minister of Economy, Antonio Costa Silva. Details are not yet known, but one of the objectives is to offer attractive tax treatment in relation to stock options so that Portuguese startups and scaleups can interest the most talented international executives.

Corporate income tax in Portugal is 21% on a company's net profit, although surcharges may apply. However, start-ups are eligible for certain exemptions, such as a reduced corporate tax rate of 17% for small and medium-sized companies on their first EUR 25,000 of taxable profits. Although this is not a very high profit threshold, it is an attractive percentage compared to other countries and for a sector, that of startups, which in the first years of operation does not usually break even. In the island regions of Madeira and the Azores, the corporate tax rate is 14.7%.

62 Portugal 2023 FOCUS Innovation & technology incentives

This interesting tax system for startups within the EU has also served to attract cryptocurrency-focused companies. One of the ways in which the country has been able to do this is with a tax scheme that does not have a capital gains tax for the trading of cryptocurrencies. While this tax does exist for cryptocurrency gains from professional or business activities, it does not apply when they occur in transactions carried out by individuals. This peculiarity has served to attract cryptocurrency startups to Portugal that offer platforms for the exchange of these digital assets. However, this is a situation that could change,

as a preliminary version of the country's 2023 budget had a provision to establish a tax on crypto gains of 28% when these assets were held for more than 365 years. This provision did not go into effect, but it could mark some of the changes the country could make with respect to cryptocurrencies in the near term. For the time being, the tax incentives offered by the country work as one of the best tools Portugal has to attract entrepreneurial talent with the intention of technologically and digitally transforming the economy of this southern European country. ✖

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63 IT & Media


IT consultants play a key role in helping customers unlock their potential and drive positive change through technology, be it cybersecurity, cloud, automation, or consulting.

THE COMPANY has evolved considerably over the past 25 years, and we have reached several milestones that demonstrate that we are able to adapt to whatever the market requires, and the directions that IBM lead us. One of the major milestones came in 2007 where IBM Portugal entered as a shareholder of Softinsa. That gave us to have a clear direction in which to position our offerings in the market, namely what offerings we should address in Portugal. Another huge step for Softinsa was the creation of nearshore centers that we started in 2013. We started by establishing a nearshore operation in Tomar, where we have built a strong partnership with the Polytechnic of Tomar and City Hall. The initial projection was to have around 150 resources working there in the first five years, though we have already reached 400. Our services span everything concerning IT and the digital transformation of our customers. We serve all major banks in Portugal, as well as insurance companies, oil and gas enterprises, and SMEs; however, we are not a niche company as we have a wide spectrum of services and target clients. We also focus on helping cities transform, offering solutions that elevate the quality of life of citizens.

ABACO was founded in 2004 and is fully dedicated to the implementation of enterprise resource planning. We support and create all services related to SAP. We customize by developing specific applications to meet our partner’s business requirements. Our main focus is industry manufacturing and we work at the heart of companies’ information systems. We contribute to remote data accessibility and the digital transformation of operations. Given the uptick in delivery, online shopping and online labeling such as tracking deliveries we need to adapt to help our customers. Companies want to be ready to deliver when demand rebounds and therefore continue investing in optimization and on their digital presence. Part of our job as consultants is to understand our customer business and our key advantage is providing business diagnosis and tailor-made solutions. Our SAP business has 25 verticals, and we focus on five: engineering and construction, textile and footwear, food and beverage, automotive, and discrete manufacturing; our expertise lies in production, and our major focus is on its cost effectiveness. We generate actionable data for management team that help them transform their business models. Security is also something that clients are focused on and are requiring from a tech provider.

OUR PURPOSE is to create technology that affects positive change. As a multinational company with over 10,000 people across Europe and other areas, we have the advantage of being able to understand what the market needs in terms of new trends and meet our customers’ expectations. We organize ourselves by practices such as data, the cloud, automation, and others to ensure we have the best experts working on these issues and collaborate with colleagues across the team to develop better solutions for our customers. Our customers appreciate this international insight and are always keen to know what others in their sector are doing around the world. Devoteam helps companies unlock their full potential and realize the opportunities in their business in terms of efficiencies and even safety. Cybersecurity is a particularly important area, and we have acquired a company focused on it. We understand a client’s problems not just from a technical perspective but also from a business perspective. We always look for the return on investment that the customer wants to have, the overall goals of a project, and what the customer expects as a return. Our ability to integrate business acumen with technological expertise differentiates us as a company, enabling us to address our customers’ challenges.

64 Portugal 2023 FORUM

a people-centric BRAND

FoundeverTM is one of the world’s top-three providers of customer experience (CX) products and solutions and is thriving in Portugal.

What is the trajectory of Foundever™ in Portugal, and why is the country strategic for the company?

Foundever™ has been present in Portugal for more than 25 years. When I joined in 2010, Foundever™ (then Sitel) had 283 employees in the country and was already assisting clients in more than 12 different languages. However, despite the company’s skills and outstanding potential, it was not marketing itself effectively, and companies were unaware of what the value we could provide was. My first task at Foundever™ was to promote the company in Portugal so the business community could better understand our capabilities and how we could grow their reach both in Portugal and abroad. Since 2010, the company has experienced 20-fold growth in Portugal, with over 4,000 employees. Portugal is currently Foundever™’s largest multilingual hub in the world.

What sets Foundever™ apart in the field of customer experience management?

Two unique approaches differentiate Foundever™. The first is the way we prioritize our employees’ experience and satisfaction by cultivating a carefully thought-out company culture. We focus on our employees' satisfaction because we believe this is how they will provide our clients with a great customer experience. Second, our language capabilities are another of our strengths. They allow us to offer the right solutions to our clients’ needs while maintaining high quality.

What makes Portugal an ideal location for customer experience centers and BPO services?

It is a combination of factors. The first would be the personality of the Portuguese; we are very adaptable. Portugal has a cosmopolitan identity, and this favors cross-cultural exchange. Portuguese professionals are excellent candidates for

customer experience roles because they combine cultural IQ and a willingness to help. We are hardworking and respectful, making us a country people like to work with.

Which companies make up the client base of Foundever™, and which industries offer the potential for business development?

Foundever™ targets multilingual global clients and differentiates itself through its multilingual capabilities. That is why we are a solid match for companies with international requirements. We work with the best companies in each industry, including tech, travel, and finance. Social media companies are also an essential company type that we cater to. We are also growing in the health sector, with a health company currently being our second-largest client in Portugal.

How is Foundever™ incorporating new technologies to the benefit of its clients?

We invest in company acquisitions and organic growth to promote innovation and digital transformation. We are highly advanced in AI, incorporating technology across our processes. Our people understand the solutions needed to transform our clients' businesses and improve their customer experience. Consultancy is embedded in our approach to clients. We do a life cycle evaluation for each account to better understand its current situation and where the different technology solutions should be implemented. If we do not have an internal solution for some specific case, we partner with the best companies to provide a better service.

What makes FoundeverTM an asset for multinational businesses?

The countries in the multilingual region have the same corporate organization so, from a client’s point of view, when they

work with Foundever™, part of their business can be managed in one of our locations and part of the business in another—with the same team and method of operating, as well as with greater flexibility. Today, where the talent is located is not as important as the talent’s ability to effectively provide the necessary services. For example, there is excellent potential in Egypt, and we can use the country as our hub for automatic translation.

What makes CX a great industry to work in?

There are numerous benefits to working in the CX industry. Employees learn extensively as we invest heavily in training, including soft skills. Our e-learning platform for employees elevates their professional and personal skills and offers multiple opportunities for them to evolve in their careers. We also invest consistently in our employees’ well-being; one of the perks we provide is access to psychological, financial, and legal support. ✖


Benedita Miranda is General Manager Multilingual Region (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, Bulgaria, Egypt, Romania and Hungary) at FoundeverTM, one of the top-three global providers of Customer Experience (CX) products and solutions, and she’s responsible for a team of 10,000 employees in all eight countries. With a degree in psychology from Universidade Lusíada, an executive master’s in marketing from Católica Porto Business School, and an MBA from ESADE Barcelona, Miranda's professional career in the customer experience management area began more than 20 years ago. Since joining FoundeverTM (previously known as Sitel® Portugal) in 2010 as site director, her progression has been exponential. In 2013, she took over as country manager for Portugal; in 2015 she took over the management of the company in Italy; in early 2021 she was named general manager of the company in Portugal, Greece, and Italy.


MORE to offer

BI4ALL leverages data to give businesses a competitive advantage by identifying opportunities to enhance efficiency and profitability through digitalization and maximizing the power of insights.

How does data handling give businesses a competitive advantage?

BI4ALL has been leveraging the power of data since 2004, making us experts in the field. Data is critical in decision-making, enabling businesses to optimize operations and test markets and products more efficiently. Data is increasingly becoming a key differentiator, allowing companies to outperform their peers by gaining valuable insight and knowledge that inform the creation of new service offerings and the design of future products. BI4ALL has specialists in different verticals who provide tailored services to meet our customers’ needs. Our specialists deeply understand of our client’s business needs and can help them leverage their data to make informed decisions and define a strong strategy.

What are the main tasks of the digital transformation consultant?

The primary responsibilities of a digital transformation consultant include assisting businesses in identifying opportunities to enhance efficiency and profitability through digitalization. This involves formulating a client’s digital strategy, executing it, and providing ongoing support. Consulting firms specializing in digital transformation guide companies through changing their business and operating models to achieve a more secure and stable digital future. Services provided by these firms include assessing a client’s needs and current position, identifying areas of improvement through new technology, and developing strategies for digital solutions. Digital transformation consultants analyze who and where technologies can be used to gain a competitive advantage or enter new markets.

Who are your target companies?

try. BI4ALL can provide tailor-made solutions for sectors such as automotive, food and beverage, pharma, and more. The company is particularly interested in expanding further in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, and North America.

What makes BI4ALL an expert in data?

BI4ALL’s specialization in data analytics and artificial intelligence makes the company an expert in this field. We are committed to hiring and working with the best talent available, which makes a significant difference. Our international reach and presence in multiple countries also contribute to our competitiveness. We have experience working with various technologies, some of which we are the sole providers in Portugal. Our clients utilize some of these technologies in other countries, allowing knowledge transfer and staying at the forefront of innovation. Working with international clients also enables us to broaden our learning scope and push innovation forward.

How do you envision data impacting industry development in the near and long term?

The industry is already being transformed by information technologies such as AI to make business processes more efficient, lower costs, and boost productivity. Other products in the market, such as chatbots, can improve user experience, while technologies for data gathering, such as sensors, give the business better control over processes. This forms a positive feedback loop because as technologies develop and data gathering improves, these technologies will continue to be optimized. BI4ALL works closely with its clients to understand their processes and help them transform their data into valuable market and business insights.


Hugo Pinto is the founding partner of BI4ALL, of which he is a partner and responsible for international development. Pinto has more than 18 years of experience in the analytics market, having developed projects in several areas, mainly for international clients. With a degree in business management from Instituto Superior de Gestão, he has extensive knowledge and skills to manage projects based on analytics to optimize processes, time, resources, and results.

We focus on international companies with significant data handling needs, particularly those outside Portugal across all sectors. The company has a strong presence in the pharma, banking, insurance, and energy industries. With over 400 employees and almost 19 years of experience, BI4ALL has expanded to Switzerland because we currently have 14 customers in the country, which provides a solid foundation for business development and references. Effective data management is crucial to optimize processes, gather competitive advantages, and achieve better business decisions regardless of the indus-

How should managers approach data to maximize the power of insights?

Managers must focus on choosing the correct data to maximize the power of insights. With data volume and modeling growth in the past few years, they must be strategic in sourcing data creatively and getting the necessary IT support. Performance improvements and competitive advantage come from analytics models that allow managers to predict and optimize outcomes. It is necessary to identify a business opportunity first and determine how the model can improve performance before starting to build the model. ✖

66 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW



FOUNDEVER™, formerly Sitel Group®, is a top-three global provider of customer experience (CX) products and solutions. This position was the result of a journey in which, after the acquisition of Sitel Worldwide Corporation, in 2015, by the Acticall Group and the acquisition of Sykes Enterprises, Inc. (SYKES), in 2021, the company was consolidated and the need arose for a new brand that reflected the commitment to innovation, dynamism, and determination to provide an excellent service in CX.

Today, Foundever™ combines an agile global strength with its entrepreneurial spirit, giving it the scalability and digital know-how to support the world's biggest brands as they develop the best CX strategies for their clients. With support available in over 60 languages and multiple Hubs across 45 countries, Foundever™ has a truly global reach, with annual revenues of USD4 billion. Its team, made up of 170,000 people worldwide, gives the company the ability to serve more than 750 brands in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Europe. Deeply grounded in its core values of creativity, engagement, and connection,

Foundever™ offers a range of high-quality services that include customer care, business optimization, self-service and bots, analytics and AI, social media for CX, Web3, and training and development. Its innovative CX, technology, and experience solutions are designed to respond to the operational needs of its clients and provide a seamless experience for their customers, when it matters most.

The new brand thus intends to convey this entrepreneurial mindset, as well as the company's agility, its spirit of innovation, and the constant curiosity of its employees. Olivier Camino, global COO and co-founder of Foundever™, says, “Consumer demand is changing and brands must be able to deliver customer experiences quickly and with a higher level of complexity. Since we founded the company, we have continued to evolve and transform ourselves to respond to current needs, finding a balance between the human aspect and technology. The employee experience is the customer experience, and the company is committed to maintaining a culture of people that is diverse and inclusive, creating an environ-

ment that helps our Foundever family not only achieve its goals, but exceed them.”

For Benedita Miranda, General Manager Multilingual Region at Foundever™, “Foundever is a brand designed to maintain a people-centred culture and a methodology that is also human-oriented. The logo is very accessible, simple, engaging, and youthful and allows us to tell a variety of stories that align with both our people and the customers we support. Foundever unites human and digital. We are a digital and increasingly technology-centric company, but that does not mean we have lost our human and people-centric roots.”

The challenge is to continue to provide the best CX service to its clients and, for this, it must continue to lead the digital transformation in CX, investing in new technological solutions driven by passion, innovation, entrepreneurial culture, and experience based on more than 40 years of supporting leading global brands in the areas of financial services, tourism and hospitality, technologies, insurance, consumer electronics, retail, automotive, media and entertainment, and renewable energies. ✖

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

67 IT & Media

FORWARD thinking

Impresa is the leading media conglomerate in Portugal, with a focus on promoting its media brands on as many platforms as possible, prioritizing adaptability and innovation, and maintaining its independence and credibility in the highly competitive media landscape.

Can you give us an overview of Impresa’s impact on Portugal’s media landscape?

Impresa is the leading media conglomerate in Portugal, with a revenue of EUR192 million in 2021. One of its main entities is the TV channel SIC, which has been broadcasting since 1992 and has held the top spot in ratings for 49 consecutive months. Over 50% of the advertising market in Portugal is TV based, including both free-to-air and cable channels. Impresa reaches millions of viewers every day through its free-to-air SIC channel and six other cable channels. SIC Internacional is our channel for international audiences, with a viewership of 5-6 million people every day from around the world. Growing this vertical is one of our greatest challenges but also our primary objective. In the digital realm, Impresa can potentially reach viewers from any corner of the world, though competition is fiercer, with other companies vying for the same audience. For example, in 2022, Expresso’s digital properties reached a monthly audience of 17 million people, while SIC’s digital properties reached 25 million people in the same period.

To what do you attribute the excellent performance of Impresa given the highly competitive nature of the sector?

As CEO of Impresa for the past seven years, I have focused on promoting our powerful media brands SIC, Expresso, and SIC Noticias as well as ensuring these brands are on as many platforms as possible. Our strategy has been to focus on digital and audio-visual at the same time. Then, we have Expresso, which is a case study in itself and is doing well. Expresso is a vital component of our portfolio, leading by a wide margin in terms of physical readership and digi-

tal subscriptions. It is not as crucial for us in terms of revenue but plays an important role as the leading print publication in Portugal. We prioritize adaptability and staying ahead of trends, including having our brands on as many platforms as possible. Impresa’s Opto, Portugal’s first streaming service that was launched during the pandemic, is an excellent example of our commitment to innovation. The media industry is still working to determine the best business model, and as the leader and pioneer in Portugal for the last 50 years, we have been testing and launching new products as well. The goal is to be multi-platform, specifically in delivering comprehensive journalism.

What is Portugal’s approach to media, and what have you focused on to remain transparent and committed to delivering insightful journalism?

According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Portugal consistently ranks among the top three countries out of 40 in terms of perceived media credibility. The media in Portugal has done a commendable job in maintaining its independence from political parties, unlike its counterparts in Spain for example. This independence has resulted in more respect for the journalistic institution in Portugal, and newspapers and TV here are viewed as serious and rigorous. The length of newscasts in Portugal are also longer than in other countries, which indicates the credibility and trustworthiness of the local media.

Espresso celebrates its 50th anniversary. What values do you practice to ensure the group’s longevity moving forward?

Our strategy is heavily focused on the digital transition while still retaining our

traditional readers. We have to be present across all platforms where people want to read, see, and hear us. We work with the Financial Times’s consultancy branch, FT Strategy, to reach the young adult demographic. We also prioritize using social networks and aggregators such as Google to ensure we reach our audiences in the best way possible. We do not want to renounce data insights. We are exploring growth strategies, both organic and inorganic, including investing in tech companies. These values will enable us to adapt to changes in the media landscape and maintain our independence and credibility for years to come. ✖


Francisco Pedro Presas Pinto de Balsemão has been CEO of Impresa since 2016. Previously, he was Impresa’s COO responsible for human resources, legal affairs, and sustainability, as well as company secretary. He graduated in law from Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Lisbon) and has a master’s degree in law (Magister Juris) from Oxford University (UK). He also undertook a general course in management from Nova School of Business and Economics (Lisbon) and the advanced management program at Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Lisbon) and Kellogg School of Management (Chicago), among several others. His previous work experience includes Linklaters, Heidrick & Struggles, and the Portuguese Mission to the UN in New York having worked in the 3rd Committee (Human Rights). He has been Vice-President of SIC Esperança since 2013.

68 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW
Francisco Pedro Presas Pinto de Balsemão CEO, IMPRESA


Revista Business Portugal showcases the players, managers, and entrepreneurs responsible for the growth and development of Portugal’s economy with honest and transparent coverage of the country and its institutions.

What is the role of Revista Business Portugal within the Portuguese media and journalism landscape?

For more than 10 years, Revista Business Portugal has been dedicated to the main goal of publicizing all the Portugal’s business and institutional world. We showcase all the business and institutional world, the players, managers and entrepreneurs, who are responsible for the growth and development of the economy in Portugal.

What does Revista Business Portugal focus on to deliver coverage about business that is honest, transparent and useful, and how is being independent an asset?

Our primary concern regarding the suitability and credibility of our information is based on the fact that all reports and news are taken from the source, since it is through the people who are leading the projects, that we get all the information.

On the other hand, our editorial independence is based on a combination of principles as an added value.

What are the strengths of being a monthly periodical, and what other aspects of the journal’s format do you think are key?

The fact that it is monthly allows for a different type of information, that is, we go more in-depth on the issues and take the information to the reader in a more de-

tailed and extensive manner, as opposed to the usual day-to-day information. I believe that, in this way, we add value for the reader, as well as efficiency in communication for our clients.

Given your exposure to business executives in the country, how do you evaluate the level of optimism of the Portuguese business community going into 2023?

The news we are confronted with every day would have us believe that the times ahead will require a lot of commitment, dedication and effort. But I believe that the quality, competence, fighting capacity and resilience recognized to Portuguese businessmen and entrepreneurs are a guarantee that we will overcome these difficulties and change course in order to make 2023 a year of good results.

What is the impact of Revista Business Portugal in terms of supporting networking and fomenting business opportunities?

That is one of our main and I think most successful goals. Through the printed version, the digital versions and the social networks in which we are present, we reach a large number of readers from the various areas, bringing them daily news about what companies are doing in terms of entrepreneurship, innovation and new products and services that are being made available in the various businesses.

How do you envision the future of business journalism?

I think that business journalism is extremely useful in corporate communication, so its future will be all the better. The more companies use it to communicate with truth, transparency, and professionalism, what they do best. ✖


Fernando Silva’s first professional activity was motor sports journalism. He started in the business world in the automobile sector in 1984, having occupied various positions in several brands including Citröen, Mercedes-Benz, and AlfaRomeo. In 2006, he returned to what was his first professional area, now as commercial director of automotive information publications, where he was until 2012, the year in which he set up the Business Group, bringing together various publications dedicated to communication in the corporate and institutional sector, a group of which he is currently CEO. In 2022, he founded BExperience, a solidary company dedicated to the organization of social responsibility events.



SOURCE: ADNAVEM Arrivals TEUs Sines 12 20,466

12 15,124 Setubal 9 3,124


The Vasco da Gama bridge in Lisbon

Country 20XX
RAIL LINES (TOTAL ROUTE, KM) SOURCE: THE WORLD BANK 2,550 2,545 2,540 2,535 2,530 2,525 ’16 ’17 ’18 ’19 ’20 ’21
Image: Jay P film
WORLDDATA.INFO Length per sqkm Portugal 82.9K KM 899M Europe 6.71M KM 1.1K M


Portugal is a fast adopter of technology. A fact that gets thrown around is that there are more Teslas than Seats in Portugal. Multinational companies often utilize Portugal as a launch pad to other markets and as a testing ground for innovative products. Specifically, within automotive, Portugal has been a critical market for exploring how the public receives hybrids and electrics. If owners can count on the corresponding infrastructure of charging stations, the adoption of electric vehicles would grow even further.

Interviewees from this chapter mentioned that public-private synergies are vital to accelerating the decarbonization of private transport.

Given the quality of Portugal’s highway system, the automotive industry has found the right conditions for growth in Portugal. Car ownership in Portugal makes sense, given the quality of its roads and other potent incentives like a lack of vehicle congestion. On top of that, a large number of car manufacturers have assembly operations in the Iberian region, boosting commercialization possibilities. Given the challenges in supply shortages that car sellers have had to endure globally, the Portuguese market was an excellent market to shift attention toward.

As well as car transport, Portugal wants to strengthen its rail capacity. Expanding rail connectivity would boost industry productivity and spread the spillovers of capital inflow throughout

the country. The north industrial base and the south agricultural regions would both benefit. The government has taken a critical step within this formula, constructing a high-speed rail line between Lisbon and Porto. This landmark announcement involves a 10-year development plan with over EUR10.5 billion in investment. The rail will create business opportunities for entrepreneurs from both cities while benefiting adjacent population centers. For example, it will approximate Galicia’s economy to the Portuguese capital.

The link between Portugal and Madrid is a crucial piece in the historic Portuguese rail puzzle. The neighboring economies have been demanding it for decades, and the acceleration of the commercial partnership supports this internationally strategic project. Madrid is the largest consumer center of the Iberian region, and quick links to Madrid will benefit Portugal’s industrial base. Nevertheless, political considerations and rivalry between Lisbon and Porto have put into question the specific route and made planning complex. Nonetheless, most Portuguese people count on the project being executed in the medium-long term. The decision to initiate the highspeed rail between Lisbon and Porto shows that there is a willingness to invest in rail, a good indicator of what the country’s transport strategy for the future will be. ✖


DRIVING future growth

AASMVAZ’s success in handling emergency requests, focus on the automotive and aviation industries, and ability to provide charter flights and airline cargo capacity have enabled it to become a premier logistics company.

What characterizes AASMVAZ’s service to international and national companies?

AASMVAZ’s distinguishing feature is our ability to comfortably handle emergency requests from our clients. To make this possible, our company has built, over the course of its 20 years of existence, a dynamic and results-oriented team, placing a strong emphasis on the continuous upgrade of the professional capabilities of each individual. Simultaneously, we became a member of several worldwide logistic networks that share these same principles. All of these elements, combined with 24/7 availability, have allowed us to consistently deliver with the quality and rigor expected by our most demanding customers. To put it simply, our motto is: “Do you have a situation? We have the solution!”

How has the company’s membership in chambers of commerce been essential for recognition and business development?

AASMVAZ regards chambers of commerce as organizations that play a very important role in providing in-depth knowledge of the country or countries they cover. At our local level, it is important to mention the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Portugal (CCIP) and the Portuguese Industrial Association (AIP) and their contributions, especially in the field of training.

How are the maritime cargo services faring? What makes this service line important and attractive?

transport will always be secured as long as there are the required geo-political conditions.

Which industries and company types are driving business growth at AASMVAZ?

The automotive and aviation industries play a very important role in our business and the live animal segment (mainly, pets) is also important to mention.

How is AASMVAZ playing a part in alleviating supply chain difficulties, for example, in the automotive industry, and how have you noticed that the challenges of forwarding companies are evolving?

AASMVAZ adds value to these industries by permanently providing the ability to organize charter flights, onboard couriers teams, and securing airline cargo capacity, thus ensuring that their production lines do not suffer from stock-outs which are highly costly. Such capabilities have been widely recognized by our customers. This makes us happy and especially grateful.

What does the boom in last-mile services and warehousing mean for AASMVAZ?

Currently, AASMVAZ is not positioned to offer warehousing and last-mile services. However, should the opportunity appear and we see it makes sense, we will always be ready to reconsider this and embrace new challenges.


Antonio Alberto Sotto Mayor Vaz has been in the aviation industry since 1967, when he joined Deutsche Lufthansa. He started as a logistics supervisor and sales manager at Lufthansa Cargo for the Lisbon region and was certified by the Institute for Mobility and Transport (IMT) as forwarding agent technical director. He was later certified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the National Civil Aviation Authority Portugal (ANAC). Since 2002, he has been the founder, Partner, and Managing Director of AAASMVAZ, lda, representing Lufthansa Cargo for the Lisbon region. Since 2014, he has been an IATA Forwarding Agent.

Sea transportation, for the majority of goods, will always be extremely difficult to replace given their enormous cargo capacity. In some routes, ships circulate with a capacity of 25,000 TEUs (which put in a straight line would be equivalent to approximately 150km of length) and at a much lower cost. Therefore, from a market perspective, this means of transportation could never be in danger. Furthermore, and similar to other means of transport, maritime transport has demonstrated a growing concern with environmental matters and has evolved accordingly. We consider that the future of this mean of

How do you envision the future of logistics with the advent of new technologies like data, and what role will AASMVAZ have within that?

Throughout my professional life, I have had the good fortune and privilege to work for a company, Deutsche Lufthansa, where technological developments were always one step ahead of the rest of the industry and I was able to benefit and grow in that highly nourishing environment. Nevertheless, despite all the technological innovations, I am a firm believer that people will always be the most important factor. As such, our role in this market will always be assured since AASMVAZ is made up of excellent people, both from a human and professional perspective. ✖

72 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW

demand and preparing for this change. Our company is currently in a much better situation to offer better services and products to our clients; however, we will need time to improve our infrastructure and work with our brands to fully adapt to the new model. Overall, we are doing great. Customers are receptive to our products, so we must ensure our new products attract even more clients. However, electric cars comprised only 11% of total car registrations in Portugal last year, so this is not an urgent change.


Automobile brands have been working hard to establish strong positions within the market in order to appeal to new customers and evolve in line with changing mobility trends.

RODOLFO FLORIT SIVA is part of Porsche Holding Salzburg, the largest European automotive distributor. In Portugal, we import and distribute the brands of the Volkswagen Group, namely Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Škoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Volkswagen commercial vehicles, and Cupra. When SIVA joined Porsche Holding Salzburg, it was facing challenging financial and commercial problems. Our primary goal was to make a significant transformation to turn the company around. Our current priorities include growing our business and establishing a relevant presence in the market for our brands. Since we started working on this goal, we have been growing steadily. Our other priorities are increasing our profitability and reorganizing our company and team to become a winning and successful organization. We are going through major changes in the automotive sector, and we must ensure we can keep up if we want to remain relevant in the market. We have been working on our transformation for a while now as part of our goals.

FRANCISCO GERALDES Astara is a mobility company offering a comprehensive and diverse portfolio of brands,

products, and services. We are present in over 20 countries, which provides us with a robust framework of experience and corporate soundness to tackle the ever-changing mobility environment. In Portugal, we have been successfully doing business for 25 years and are proud to represent a strong portfolio of brands. In 2022, we scored our best year ever, surpassing for the first time the threshold of 6% share of the whole Portuguese market. We work with over 50 business partners covering the entire territory, both mainland and the islands. We have started online sales with some brands and will continue to foster this channel as the market develops. In 2023, we will deploy Astara Move, our subscription services company, launching an innovative range of mobility offering to our customers. Our focus is to develop our brands sales and services to our customers as well as to introduce new mobility solutions and sales services.

What are the most salient challenges of the industry today, and what is the strategy to stay at the forefront of trends?

RF Electrification is a major trend in the sector driven by environmental regulations and market demand for sustainable and carbon-neutral cars. SIVA is improving its capabilities in light of market

FG Electrification, digitalization, and connectivity are changing our industry significantly. This gives us great challenges but also paves the way to exciting new opportunities. We have invested significantly in digitalizing our companies and created a digital platform enabling us to manage our businesses efficiently in different regions as well as to offer several mobility services to our dealers and customers. This has enabled us to grow significantly in the countries where we have a consolidated presence, as well as in new markets and regions. Our online sales are progressing and enabling Astara to be at the forefront of consumer habits, and our subscription services will provide them with new mobility solutions, enabling the flexibility they need.

How do you anticipate market changes, and what is your outlook for the future?

RF The first major change will be mobility, which revolves around having the right mode of transport at the right time and the right price. We must become more flexible to fulfill all our clients’ needs. We must also consider the right price, because we will likely not sell future and innovative services, but rather a mobility service. We are also working to ensure our clients have the best experience with our cars. If we can do that successfully, it will open a big window of new service opportunities.

FG All trends indicate a future that is electrified, digital, connected, and with mobility offered more as a service. We are fully digitalized and developing our products and services to be in the forefront of these new trends. Markets will develop at different paces, but we want to be in a position to lead these new services in all markets we are present, including Portugal, where we think all the conditions are met to develop these new mobility solutions. ✖

73 Transport B2B
Rodolfo Florit MANAGING DIRECTOR, SIVA Francisco Geraldes CEO, ASTARA PORTUGAL Can you provide an overview of the company’s business focus in the country?


Portugal is carrying on with its National Railway Plan (PFN), aiming to make train travel the preferred choice, beginning with the Lisbon-Porto line.

TRAIN RIDES IN PORTUGAL are becoming more popular both among locals and tourists. Visitors to the country are often enchanted by the sceneries they can enjoy enroute the relatively long ride between the nation’s capital, Lisbon, and the country’s second-largest city, Porto. Especially mesmerizing for some travelers are glimpses of the Portuguese countryside that they can catch along the way.

There are more reasons for Portuguese commuters as well as tourists to choose train travel over buses or low-cost flights: both the Lisbon and Porto train stations are conveniently located centrally within the cities, passengers can carry unlimited luggage, and the ride has been advertised as a green and eco-friendly.

The country, therefore, has been contemplating the idea of enhancing its existing network of tracks, while extending it to those Portuguese cities which are currently unserved by the network. Within the framework of the National Railway Plan (PFN), in November 2022 the government announced its intention to build a network of high-speed railways to link the nation’s 10 largest cities with trains traveling at up to 300km/h.

At such a rate, a journey between Porto and Lisbon will soon take just a little over an hour—a dramatic reduction compared to the current duration by train or drive time by road. The journey currently takes over three hours by car via the country’s A1 coastal highway. If nothing else, reducing this to one hour will lead to more synthesis between the nation’s two great metropolises.

To be completely fair, the Lisbon-Porto railway is not performing poorly by any standards. On average, 15-20 trains run between Lisbon and Porto every day, completing the 275km journey in just over three hours, though perhaps a little longer during holidays and weekends.

The fastest operator, Alfa Pendular, whose trains can already be regarded as high-speed, completes the journey in two hours and 45 minutes on a good day. Unlike the ordinary regional train service, which comes to a halt at every stop along the way, Alfa Pendular trains steam ahead nonstop. However, the new generation of highspeed trains proposed by the government belong to another league altogether, as they will be at least two times faster than the current Alfa Pendular trains.

What is more, the expansion project entails more than the mere addition of faster rolling stock to the existing fleet. More tracks will be laid to address the issue of traffic load, significantly increasing the network’s capacity. The planned infrastructure renovations, such as a new crossing over the Tagus River, are also expected to eliminate the existing bottlenecks along the nation’s railway network. The new crossing will create a shortcut from the southern regions of Portugal to the north, making the journey even shorter.

Construction work is scheduled to begin in 2024 with an estimated budget of EUR5 billion, though the final cost will likely exceed this figure by 2030 when it is completed. The peripheral infrastructure expansion may take an additional 20 years, costing billions more.

The project is by no estimates a cheap one, but the government believes it is a necessary investment, aligned with its sustainable development plans. The government sees train travel as an alternative to driving, which is currently the most common way of travel in Portugal. The carbon footprint of traveling by train is also particularly smaller than low-cost flights.

Train ridership is expected to see four-fold growth by the launching of high-speed services, according to the National Railway Plan (PFN). Train travel currently accounts for merely 4.6% of domestic

74 Portugal 2023 FOCUS National Railway Plan (PFN)

journeys, and the plan is hoping to raise the figure to over 20%. As for freight transport, the railways will be able to handle 40% of the country’s freight transport, up from the current figure of 13%.

Linking the nation’s two largest cities will only be the beginning, as there are plans to add at least eight other Portuguese cities to the high-speed railway network between 2030 and 2050. A central highspeed railway corridor will be built from Aveiro to Viseu and then from Guarda to Vilar Formoso. Eight to 10 large Portuguese cities will enjoy reasonably good access to this line. Another 28 major towns will be connected to another network, which despite not being highspeed will be of high quality.

Former Infrastructure Minister Pedro Nuno Santos had pointed out that the “plan would make the country’s rail infrastructure more modern and environmentally sustainable, and allow for train travel from Lisbon and Porto to Madrid in about three hours,” during a press conference in November 2022, according to Reuters.

Santos was alluding to the plan’s intention to link the Portuguese high-speed rail system to the rest of the Iberian Peninsula and ultimately to Europe. During the announcement ceremony, he also mentioned that construction work was already in progress on the Évora-Elvas line, which will be a crucial link in connecting Portugal’s

high-speed tracks to Spain’s network.

This link will connect Lisbon to the border town of Elvas, proceed to the Spanish city of Badajoz, and finally make its way to the Spanish capital, Madrid. Pending the completion of infrastructure works on the Spanish side of the border, we will see the beginning of direct high-speed services between Lisbon and Madrid soon. However, this is not the only corridor predicted in the National Railway Plan (PFN) to link Portugal to Spain. Another corridor will begin at the northern city of Porto and continue northward to cross the border to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. Connecting the Portuguese tracks to Spain through two main points of contact, instead of one, will undoubtedly eliminate the existing bottlenecks in accessing Europe by train.

There are talks about yet another connection to Spain: a third, southern corridor, linking Lisbon to the major Spanish city of Seville via Tunes and Faro. The ultimate aim of the plan is to effectively integrate Portugal within Europe’s network of high-speed trains. Given the geography of the Iberian Peninsula, this will be only possible via Spain. As such, the full realization of the National Railway Plan (PFN) largely depends on Spain’s mid-term to long-term plans for the renovation of its own railway infrastructure. ✖

Transport 75
76 Portugal 2023
Image: Lena Chert


These global terminal operators are focused on international expansion and diversification, while also investing in sustainable, innovative, and energy-efficient operations.

What are Yilport’s international business targets and how is Portugal important within that plan?

NUNO DAVID Yilport’s targets are to become a top 10 terminal operator globally by 2025 expanding our portfolio through acquisitions and strengthening their current assets. Our aim is to further develop our international presence and further diversify our portfolio internationally and generate long-term sustainable growth and profitability. We have a team dedicated to evaluating opportunities all over the world, and one of our most recent acquisitions was in Ghana. In Portugal, we have eight terminals, one of which is the biggest gateway terminal in the country, with a handling capacity of up to 3 million TEUs, 6 million in general cargo, and 40,000 CEUs.

How is Qualiseg revolutionizing engineering consulting, and how is the company’s approach different from that of the market?

BRUNO DIAS The firm focuses on quality, sustainability, and engineering. As a 28-year-old company, Qualiseg spe-

cializes in standards, engineering, and innovation and works with clients directly as both consultants and working consultants. We work with them to obtain customized solutions that prioritize efficiency and sustainability in addition to engineering. Sustainability is a key focus for Qualiseg over the next five years, and the company collaborates with the technical commissions of Portuguese quality committees to promote sustainable practices for organizations, cities, and individuals. This is more than just a catchphrase right now—this is our approach. Our approach is grounded in the use of standards to ensure high-quality services for our clients.

What is the importance of relationships with the public sector, and what other partners are key?

ND The public sector is of great importance in Portugal and Spain, being we operate our terminals under a concession agreement with the local authorities. They are our key partners, and we see ourselves as providing a public service. As an independent port operator,

we are looking to generate long term business partner with each and every liner. As a multi-purpose port operator, we focus on gateway cargo and we see a strategic focus on cargo owners, and Yilport works hard proposing world class service level in every terminal that we are operating and strong hinterland where the liners can easily access and get the cargo.

What is Qualiseg’s approach to innovation?

BD Research and innovation are essential areas for us. Our commercial projects are born from research and innovation projects, and we apply our insights to real-world scenarios. One example of our research efforts is the master’s degree in maritime logistics and engineering, which we developed in partnership with FCT Nova and the Portuguese Navy. It is essential to align the needs of businesses with the skills being taught in schools.

What different initiatives is Yilport conducting to make operations more sustainable and energy efficient?

ND We have set a target to be carbon neutral by 2050, though we aim to achieve this even earlier, possible by 2040. To achieve this, we are investing heavily in the transition from diesel powered machines to fully electric ones. Furthermore, we are working to make our terminals self-sustainable. We have installed solar panels and are also exploring other innovative technologies to reduce our carbon footprint.

How do you improve clients’ efficiency?

BD We use standards as a strategic approach to elevate our clients’ efficiency. More than reacting to the need for change, we believe in implementing changes proactively. Our continuous improvement approach is the foundation of our quality services, and this is evident from our 98% success rate in certifications. Many of our consultants have over 20 years of experience in implementing standards. We work with clients from start to finish, defining a customized plan based on their needs and the required standards, guaranteeing a streamline and certified process. ✖

77 Transport B2B
Country 20XX
Construction workers on scaffolding pictured in Porto
Image: Diana Rui

Construction & Real Estate


The snowbird movement is a global phenomenon whereby wealthy and hyper-mobile populations shift their residence to geographies with warmer climates during winter. This movement, which encompasses permanent movers, has resulted in a demand rush for Portuguese real estate. It has driven up prices and spurred a vast ecosystem of real estate-related companies. The fundamentals of Portugal as a place to live are simply too strong. And with the internationalization of the market, foreign capital is pouring in.

A decade ago, Portugal put in place attractive fiscal advantages like the Golden Visa and non-habitual residency agreements to attract foreign expenditure. This enhanced an investment proposal that was already tricky to match within Europe. A warm climate-European capital with an oceanfront offers an unbeatable lifestyle package. The jurisdictional incentives also drove the Portugal brand as a market and, in passing, as a tourist destination.

This internationalization has crowded out local buyers from downtown, as has happened in other European capitals before Lisbon. Prices soared, especially given a substantial inflow of American buyers. In 2023, the US became the number-one country investing in the Iberian country. Portugal’s cost of living and Califonianesque attributes are luring American nationals witnessing their cities being hit by inflation, high fiscal pressures,

and security concerns such as homelessness.

The realtors that The Business Year spoke to for this chapter are cognizant of the unique market opportunity that Americans represent. And as a result, the real estate business in Portugal has acquired an American flavor. It has raised the exigency on agents and brought with it unique traits such as home inspections and a concierge service—the comfort-oriented approach to business that characterizes doing business in the US.

For the Portuguese, this has created opportunities for business, such as the prospect of seizable commissions or life-changing purchase offers. Although the front covers of Portuguese journals debate the existence of a bubble, the experts we spoke to outlined that prices are still below other similar European markets. Many livelihoods have benefited from the Portuguese real estate boom, with service providers and adjacent companies blooming along with it.

The real estate business is providing opportunities. In 2023, government rhetoric began to stir with programs like António Costa’s Mais Habitação raising eyebrows. Decisions like canceling the Golden Visa program do not send bullish signals to the market. Nevertheless, with the unmatchable fundamentals of Portuguese real estate, what investors want and need is stability. As long as they receive this wink essential to longterm investment, Portugal will continue to be fertile ground for real estate. ✖

79 Construction & Real Estate CHAPTER SUMMARY

JEWEL of the crown

APPII is working to promote investment, acting as an ambassador for real estate investment in Portugal, facilitating entry for foreign investors and advocating for green financing and affordable housing.


What is the mission and focus of the association?

APPII represents all real estate developers and investors in the country. We are mainly focused on institutional investors across all asset classes, from residential to commercial real estate. The latter includes offices for logistics, retail, shopping centers, retail parks, and high street retail as well as alternative sectors such as senior housing, senior living, co-working, and co-living. APPII works to advocate for the industry before public authorities, entities, and government officials, including the ministry, parliament, and municipalities and to facilitate business development among its members. Additionally, the association serves as the primary gateway for foreign investors looking to invest in the country, with 50% of our members being international.

How do you evaluate the current market conditions of the Portuguese real estate market?

Residential investment remains the jewel of the crown in Portugal, with a total investment of EUR30.7 billion in residential real estate in 2022. It represents 40% of the Portuguese GDP. In contrast, that same year EUR3.3 billion was invested in commercial real estate. Despite challenges such as the pandemic, the real estate sector has proven to be one of the most resilient sectors of the economy and played a significant role in the country’s economic recovery after the 2012 financial crisis. Along with tourism, real estate has been one of the main engines of growth for the Portuguese economy, leading to a positive spillover effects for other sectors as well.

focused on reducing costs, particularly in affordable housing projects, though industrialization and modular building. We must lower costs to align with sustainability guidelines. Additionally, we are improving the levels of energy efficiency in buildings. Right now, there are discrepancies between EU directives and the Portuguese legal framework, for example, in terms of self-generated PV energy, which leave investors at a crossroads.

What are the other needs of real estate investors in Portugal?

One important issue for investors is green financing. Unfortunately, there is a huge problem with access to new affordable housing. The Portuguese middle class would not be able to afford green housing because it will be much more expensive, and the government must play a role in providing green loans for housing. The Portuguese PRR and European Green Deal are focused on fighting climate change, promoting sustainability, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, creating new affordable housing, and fostering economic growth in member states with new concepts of sustainability. Creating financing options to lower costs and allow Portuguese developers and real estate investors to produce affordable housing is the way forward. By 2030, the goal is to have all new buildings in Portugal be green.

How does APPII promote investment and help private enterprises?


Hugo Santos Ferreira is President of APPII and the Vice President of the Portuguese Confederation of Real Estate and Construction (CPCI). He received the Personalidade Inmobiliária do Ano award from Magazine Imobiliário in 2019 and the Excelencia no Inmobiliário from Jornal Construir in 2021. Holding a bachelors and a master’s in law from Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Ferreira sits on the national council for housing and the municipal council for housing in Lisbon, Setubal, and Braga and is also a permanent member of the councils for SIL, Green Business Week, and Smart Cities Summit. He also serves as COO of the Living LAB APPII SI: Saúde e Imobiliário @ NOVA Medical School.

What makes Portuguese real estate innovative?

Portuguese real estate entrepreneurs are exploring new and alternative concepts such as co-living and co-working, although the pandemic put a halt on these new developments temporarily. Nonetheless, we have been making strides in other areas such as senior living and student housing. The latest trend in innovation is green construction, which involves modular systems and industrialization. This is the commitment of the real estate markets to the new rules of sustainability, which will be the future trend. We are also

We are the main gateway for investors interested in the country, and our role is to promote investment and support private enterprises. With foreign members representing 50% of our membership list, we act as a Portuguese ambassador for real estate investment in Portugal. Our primary task is to showcase Portugal’s positive attributes and convince them to invest in the country. We are still on the radar of real estate investors worldwide. Once they come here, we facilitate their entry by forming connections with local players such as real estate developers, Portuguese banks, construction companies, and asset managers. Through these connections, investors can receive the support they need to invest in the country. ✖

80 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW

adapting TO CHANGE

Grupo Casais emphasizes growth in knowledge and competencies and continues to remain at the forefront of technology through exposure to different markets.

Can you give us an overview of Grupo Casais and explain what makes it stand out within the real estate sector?

Grupo Casais is a family business, with a history of over 65 years. We started our international activity in 1994, in Germany when the Berlin Wall came down. There was a construction boom close-by and we wanted to take advantage of it. We also expanded to Portuguese-speaking countries. Today, we are present in 17 regions. The 1994 move was essential because it helped instill an international mindset within the company, exposing the group to other cultures and competencies. We learn a lot through exposure to the general market, technology-wise. Even in developing countries, we are doing the same; we are taking that technology and the know-how. We recognize that the construction business is subject to economic cycles. For example, political stability, and economic strengths. Now we have a new class of cycle imposed by global factors. It is therefore important for us to be present in developing countries, on different continents.

How do you evaluate the group’s performance within Portugal?

Over the past six years, the company has been identified on five occasions as the best construction company in Portugal. And for us, growth is not solely about revenue, but about growing our competencies. And we know that because our business is subject to economic cycles, in some years we might not grow in size. But at least we intend to grow in terms of knowledge.

How does Grupo Casais stay at the forefront of technology?

Innovation comes from exposure to a

different market; we pick up on trends sooner than a company that is not present abroad. Construction is the biggest arm of the group, but we also have industry, and that is the one that we intend to grow more in the future. The industrial tier puts us closer to the market and with greater relevance for the labor market. We have been able to identify the pain points sooner than firms solely operating with subcontractors. We understood early that we would face a problem in the labor market, and started to act accordingly. When understood that this was a global issue and had already captured the industry mindset, we started to bet on developing offsite construction solutions. This is one of the major areas we are investing in because we know that the growth and quality must also be tied to sustainability to be viable. We have been operating offsite since 2018 layer by layer, having started in infrastructure with unfinished walls, where we added the finishing and built capacity.

What importance do you give to sustainability?

Sustainability is not just branding or a communication pitch, but embedded in our strategy. That’s why we have been betting on off-site solutions that enable us to develop incrementally. We have a prototyping mindset. Building differently each time means there’s no incentive for you to make, say, a better door or ceiling band. We put functional constraints on engineers and architects. It’s an industry constraint. And because we develop elements in a factory it gives us the capacity to bring more scale into the solution. If we look at the sustainability part, it has provided an option to have wood as a material because of Portugal’s

geography. One of the biggest challenges of climate change will be wildfires, and we need to attach commercial value to forests to better manage them. We need to tie the value of real estate in the cities with that of the environment. The best way is to use wood is renewably. Additionally, we like to say we are building urban forests with the use of wood in buildings. What is more, wood is part of the circular economy because unlike concrete it can be reused. For certain types of building, concrete is not the best solution. Hence, we understood the virtue of adopting a more sustainable approach. ✖


António Carlos Rodrigues has a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minho, where he also took the MBA specialization course in construction. He has completed courses at Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to being CEO of the Casais Group, he is also vice-chairman of the University of Minho’s General Council, business ambassador of the city of Braga, a member of the YPO European Forum for the construction industry, member of the assembly of representatives of the Order of Engineers, and member of the board of AICCOPN. In 2022, Magazine Imobiliário named him Construction Personality of the Year.

81 Construction & Real Estate INTERVIEW
António Carlos Rodrigues CEO, GRUPO CASAIS

INVESTING in customers

Portugal Homes stands out in the local real estate market by offering a complete service, including aftersales and leisure concierge services.

What makes Portugal Homes’ services stand out among real estate players in Portugal?

Our distinguishing feature in the market is that we offer a complete service. This is crucial for foreign investors who are driving the real estate market within Lisbon and make up 90% of all our clients. The needs and requirements of these buyers are different, and we noticed a market gap. We are focused on offering complementary services, and one of our strengths lies in our aftersales department, an important sector that provides fiscal representation, property management, property inspection, along with leisure concierge services that go above and beyond for the client’s assurance and comfort, while we take care of their properties overseas. It is about making sure everything is taken care of throughout the purchasing process and successfully doing so while they are away. For example, many Asian clients like to come and have their trip arranged for them, and our leisure concierge services are the perfect solution. Another example has to do with American clients, who are used to having property inspections before the property is handed over, which does not exist in Portugal for 98% of transactions. Our aftersales department covers all these areas, which is why we call it aftersales. We are not interested in doing rentals or making money from that aspect. We are trying to look after the clients and their entire experience when investing in Portugal. Cultural sensitivity is a huge differentiating factor for Portugal Homes. Understanding the difference

between clients, how they invest, and what they expect from their investment is important for us. We have been in the market for 17 years, so the property side is easy for us. It ticks all those boxes that each nationality needs and is used to receiving.

What has been Portugal Homes’ experience in real estate construction?

We recently started investing in the project development and construction industry, this way we can please two investors in the same transaction if we can find a building at less than market value, renovate it, and still offer it at less than market value. The main role of this company and our experience and knowledge is an investment. We show clients how to make returns. We decided to start our own construction company to better facilitate our investors and ensure our clients were getting the right deal and in the right areas. In just three years, we have developed seven projects in the historical center of Lisbon and three across the Algarve, two of which were hotel resorts of more than 200 rooms. We are currently working on two more large projects in central Lisbon and Porto to release in early 2023. Offering a complete service to our clients, from construction to aftersales, allows us to benefit from a lot of repeat business as well as referrals, which currently make up 30% of all our deals. This gives us confidence to keep improving our clients’ experience and evolving as much as possible within the market.

What currently are the main business development objectives for Portugal Homes?

The goal is to move Portugal Homes further into the real estate realm, as at this time 80-85% of our clients are purely investment related; they are here to make money. We want the Portugal Homes brand to become a pure real estate company over the next three to seven years whilst allowing our investors to still make returns through our projects and investments with HP Invest. The idea is to appeal to everyone looking for a second home that they can enjoy and also live in. There are also people looking for retirement and many non-habitual resident (NHR) clients here, and being sensitive to cultural differences will allow us to match the right real estate property with the right cultural profile and the right buyer. ✖


David Poston’s entire career was in sales, experiencing many different aspects of looking after a client. In 2005, he grabbed the opportunity to come to Portugal and learn all about the Portuguese real estate market. After being regional manager for one of the biggest real estate companies in the world, his vision to offer investors an unrivaled service drove him and his partner to build the Harland & Poston Group of brands tailored to help overseas investors build their portfolio.

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Portugal’s real estate sector is somewhat the crown jewel in its foreign investment pull, attracting individuals and corporations alike.


84 Country 20XX
INFOGRAPHIC Real estate sector RESIDENTIAL TRANSACTIONS, ’000 2019-2022 WITH VARIATION (IN K) 50 45 40 35 30 25 ’19 ’20 ’21 ’22 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 PURCHASES BY FOREIGNERS, ’000 2021-2022, WITH VARIATION 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2021 2022
North Region Center Region MA Lisboa Alentejo Algarve Azores Madeira 2019 44.182 29.850 51.543 10.024 13.980 2.487 2.799 2021 47.699 33.885 51.014 12.227 14.563 2.723 3.571 Variation 8% 14% -1% 22% 4% 9% 28% Portugal 2023
85 Diplomacy Q1’19 Q2’19 Q3’19 Q4’19 Q1’20 Q2’20 Q3’20 Q4’20 Q1’21 Q2’21 Q3’21 Q4’21 Q1’22 Q2’22 Q3’22 Q4’22 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 42 40 38 36 34 32 Price gap (%) Asking price (’000€/sqm) Transactions (’000€/sqm) ASKING PRICE VS. TRANSACTION PRICE GAP Q1'19 Q2'19 Q3'19 Q4'19 Q1'20 Q2'20 Q3'20 Q4'20 Q1'21 Q2'21 Q3'21 Q4'21 Q1'22 Q2'22 Q3'22 Q4'22 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 1-5 5-10 10-20 20-50 50-150 150-1,000 ASKING PRICE EVOLUTION PER INHABITANT, ’000€/SQM SOURCE Aura REE 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 Bank valuations Interest rates INTEREST RATES ON HOUSING LOANS VS. NUMBER OF BANK VALUATIONS (MONTH, IN K) Q1'19 Q2'19 Q3'19 Q4'19 Q1'20 Q2'20 Q3'20 Q4'20 Q1'21 Q2'21 Q3'21 Q4'21 Q1'22 Q2'22 Q3'22 Q4'22 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 Construction & Real Estate

BRINGING the expertise

A Portuguese construction company specializing in private-sector projects such as health, hospitality, and luxury housing, Tecniarte seeks to become the partner of choice for international developers and position itself as a creative, solutions-oriented company.

What is Tecniarte’s expertise within civil engineering and where does the company sit within the Portuguese real estate and construction sector?

Tecniarte is a Portuguese construction company with 40 years old of experience in this market, with a license (alvara) that allows us to build almost all kind of construction projects. Tecniarte is presently more focus in the private sector, going from middle to high-end housing projects, and from hospital units to hotels. Tecniarte has seen steady growth with a EUR50-million revenue, which allows it to sit between the middle to large companies of our sector.

What traits make Tecniarte stand out as a partner-of-choice for construction projects related to health, hospitality, and luxury housing? What value did you identify in these three segments?

Tecniarte through the years have been successfully a part of projects in the health, hospitality, and luxury housing, and due to the experience accumulated over those years. Tecniarte has become the partner of choice with a vast knowhow bringing experience and alternatives for all kind of circumstances that occur in a construction site. The capability of thinking out of the box, and the dynamic that our technicians bring to the projects, are a step ahead for the success of a construction site. At this moment, the Portuguese market is in shortness of beds in the hospitality industry outside the big centers, which combined with Tecniarte’s strategy of decentralization of its resources, becomes a successfully match.

ly regions of Portugal where we can have a base office with a presence in place to allow an easier communication and knowledge to those that want to invest on those areas. These have been a success, not only for luxury villas that have been popping up in Portugal as well as hotels, with the result already consolidate in the company with several hotels and luxury housing in all regions of Portugal.

What particularities of construction in Portugal should international players be aware of?

We believe that Portugal as a country offers a wide range of opportunities to invest due to its natural advantages in term of wellbeing, safety, and beauty. Those are highly attractive points that a potential investor will look for, especially in the case of hospitality and units dedicated to senior citizens. There is also to the niche of Golden Visa investors that see Portugal as a wellness hub. Tecniarte as well as all others companies around the world had a period to adjust to the new reality that was though, but we could mitigate and overcome with the trust that our subcontracts have in us, and with an airtight planning in the procurement and acquisition of essentials materials. We need to increase in some site our stoking capability, using outside of camp facilities.

How is Tecniarte positioning itself into the future, to cater to the needs they will have in upcoming years?


João Campos Forte joined Tecniarte in 2020 as its CEO. He has worked in leadership positions in challenging markets such as Africa and Latin America through an international construction group. He started his career as a designer engineer on a road specialist company.

What is Tecniarte’s experience working with international construction developers, and how do you provide value for market entrants? One of the guidelines of our strategic plan is to capture the international developers that nowadays are looking more to invest outside the big centers, and for that to be accomplish we open office in strategical-

Tecniarte as always tried to see the problems ahead from two perspectives, both sides of the table, and then combine both to obtain a win-win solution. For that, we have evolved from a classic construction company in the past to a creative solutions-oriented company with in-house capabilities to create alternatives to make viable a potential sustainable project. This is essential to overcome the issues created by the costs evolution that could compromise business plans already laid out or to be procured. ✖

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Image: Jurek Adamski


Real estate development is big business in Portugal, driven recently by foreign demand for property across the country. Developers strive to create unique projects that cater to this increased demand.

KREST IS AN INVESTOR DEVELOPER focused on innovative concepts in every area of real estate. We adopt an opportunistic approach, and our idea is to always create projects of added value in term of socio-economic impact, and helping people to live better, creating better work environments. We started by investing in companies, where for example, we are a shareholder of one specialized in retail parks—it is creating the first net zero carbon emission retail parks in Europe. We are also investors of a company called Revive, which is engaged in Brownfield and the regeneration of industrial areas. The market continues to grow at a higher pace than the increase of costs. Therefore, anything new that comes into the market today would be sold immediately. And given the scarcity of products, there is a limited supply of new real estate projects amid high demand. The problem lies in creating a project, as the licensing process is much too slow.

OUR CORE BUSINESS is integrated project management throughout all stages of a project. We help our clients to identify a potential asset, namely a plot of land, conduct an economic and technical study, work on design management and procurement for the contractor, manage the construction, and finally deliver the asset. We support our client in every technical way so the final product can be delivered to the market. We have seen great interest from family offices, wider asset management companies, and Portuguese real estate companies. When talking about real estate infrastructure, most only focus on buildings, concrete, and the like; however, we see more than that. We focus on people as well. When working on project management and urban planning, one should not only focus on where to build structures. We like to say is that a building has to live with others; it needs to be integrated into a community.

ONE OF OUR PRIMARY ASSETS is flexibility, which stems from having our own property and capital, allowing for agile project management. With the best talent and an optimal size, Worx can cater to the constantly changing market needs, making it one of Portugal’s strongest real estate advisors. Another essential asset is combining an international outlook with local know-how. We can work on projects and develop opportunities for all companies, clients, developers, and investors. The company’s approach is to provide assistance that goes beyond a fixed service, helping clients from strategy to project design with an intimate approach. We are focused on strengthening our expertise in capital markets, which will involve bringing in finance professionals to enhance our ability to negotiate, attract investors, and communicate with banks. International clients have high standards for technical knowledge, and we aim to be proactive and create new opportunities.

OUR FOCUS since the beginning has always been on the premium and luxury segments. Since 2015, Portugal has been attracting many wealthy individuals who not only want to invest, but also live in the country. Before that, these segments were almost nonexistent. Demand for premium and luxury assets remains extremely strong, while supply is limited. That is why we believe the market offers numerous opportunities. Most people do not produce assets that could be considered luxury or even premium. Buyers are attracted to amenities, their design, the quality of materials, interior design, and the service that we provide. Service is one of the elements that was missing in Portugal. The combination of design, materials, amenities, and service drives customers to our properties. We are investing heavily in creating larger departments to cater to the increasing demand for lifestyle properties. We previously worked on mid-class projects, though due to instability in terms of construction prices and the difficulty surrounding project approvals, we have frozen our investment in that segment.

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Luxury Real Estate Investments in Portugal

Portugal Homes has helped international homebuyers purchase prime real estate in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve, reaching over €293 million sold properties.

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What makes Mencovaz a valuable partner for real estate investors?

Mencovaz is an asset valuations company founded in 2007 that differentiates itself through its technical expertise and experience. The company’s founder has been working in the field since 1972. With 51 years of market knowledge, we have seen all the stages of the market and can share our experience with investors. A great opportunity concerns the asset, the right investment time, and the price. Mencovaz is an expert at identifying outstanding opportunities. Mencovaz specifies a property’s value and determines if it is a suitable opportunity for an investor, given the prevailing market conditions.

What is the scope of Mencovaz’s consulting services?

Mencovaz’s services go beyond valuation; the company also offers consulting, development of business or investment plans, construction surveillance and monitoring, energy performance certification— and a wide range of technical reporting on properties. We work with everything to do with the investment decision and all processes related to civil engineering. Our objective is to be the technical advisor for real estate investment. We have experience analyzing and working on all real estate assets.

those are destined both for national and foreign investors. Similarly, the commercial investment market is buoyant and dominated by international buyers. Each market has its unique supply and demand dynamics and requires stand-alone analyses. Generally speaking, the number of real estate transactions is lower than a year ago. Because prices are increasing, many are holding onto their homes and not buying new ones, resulting in fewer properties in the market. In real estate, the economy works in cycles; as the years go by, we see those cycles becoming shorter and shorter. Depending on an investor’s time horizon, it could be the right time to invest and buy a property. Even though the real estate market prices are high, they are still lower than in other European countries. Investors seeking exposure to Portugal’s benefits can access unique opportunities.

How do you evaluate the price fundamentals of real estate in Lisbon?


Jorge Ferreira Mendes completed a degree in civil engineering in 2004 and later started working as a structural engineer, designing bridges, tunnels, dams, and other important public infrastructures. In 2005, he started to develop activity as a real estate appraiser, alongside the activity as a structural engineer. Since 2013, he has dedicated himself exclusively to real estate appraisal with Mencovaz, valuing all types of properties, contracts, equipment, and more across the Portuguese mainland and the Azores and Madeira archipelagos. It has also developed real estate valuations in Spain, Poland, and Cape Verde.

What client profiles does the company cater to? Repeat business is essential to Mencovaz. Banks are one of the core targets of business development for the company. When financial institutions hire our services once, they understand our work and become recurring clients. Mencovaz began business in 2007, and in 2014 we expanded our client base to include large scale investors, developers, pension funds, and family offices, among others.

Which types of real estate assets are thriving in the Portuguese market now?

Regarding the residential market, we can identify three main segments in Portugal at the moment. In Lisbon and Porto, there is high demand for residential properties from Portuguese nationals. Another segment, also with high demand, but lower value, is the search for housing in the rest of the country, in less populated regions. The third segment is the booming market for expensive luxury properties, and

The real estate market in Portugal was predominantly destined to national investment until 2015. Since then, the country has opened up, and tourism has boomed. Many investors started to look at Portugal, realizing the abundance of lowcost purchasing opportunities. The government also offered powerful investment attraction incentives. As a result, today, there are fewer opportunities in offerings. Demand outpaces supply, especially in bigger cities such as Lisbon and Porto. Assets in tertiary cities are less attractive because being in a prime location gives the asset greater liquidity.

What makes Mencovaz’s consulting impactful?

A trustworthy local partner helps international investors minimize risks and reduce costs. Our service implies a fee; however, in the end, we reduce our client’s expenditures by ensuring better planning, preventing unforeseen expenses and minimizing risks. For example, Portugal has many historic buildings, and one important thing that investors must be aware of is the risks and restrictions regarding renovating such structures. Partnering with a local expert like Mencovaz supports a solid development strategy. Through Mencovaz’s services, developers avoid pitfalls in civil engineering design and construction. ✖

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Mencovaz is a valuable partner for real estate investors due to its technical expertise and experience in identifying outstanding investment opportunities, providing impactful consulting services.
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Apartment buildings in Lisbon Image: Alones

MAKING A difference

JLL’s broad expertise across different real estate types and its 360-degree approach to providing value to clients make it a valuable partner for real estate developers in Portugal.

What characteristics differentiate JLL as a partner for real estate developers?

JLL is a top real estate advisor in Portugal. One of our main differentiating factors is our broad expertise across real estate types. Many of the projects we are involved in are mixed-use. The current trend for developers is to design projects that incorporate aspects of commercial, residential, and offices. Working in all sectors allows us to understand each project holistically. We can provide value from the initial ideas to the final commercialization. JLL’s 360-degree expertise is, therefore, a precious asset for our clients.

At a market level, what areas are attracting investor interest?

Residential real estate in Portugal represents 10 times more volume than other segments. There are EUR30 billion in transactions in that segment, versus EUR3 billion in commercial real estate. Hotels and hospitality account for 33% of the total investment, followed by offices on 27% and logistics on 18%. Approximately 80% of investment spending is international. Commercial real estate is driven by offices and should remain the case. Within residential real estate, a trend that everybody is talking about is the lack of supply. Demand outpaces supply, and domestic demand accounts for 94% of transactions. There is a huge scarcity of new products in the residential market, which explains why prices are rising. This reality has created a niche market of premium high-quality developments. There is still much to be done to create new products from scratch and realize land development.

Given these market conditions, how does JLL provide value?

know-how, which, combined with JLL’s network of offices in over 80 countries, is powerful. One of the best aspects of real estate in Portugal is the quality of the industry in which we are involved. Construction companies and developers are highly qualified and specialized. JLL collects a lot of information from the markets and uses it to give confidence to investors entering the Portuguese market. Actionable information is transparent and consistent, which is essential for the investor. Furthermore, being an international firm means we are aware of the major advances in trends because we are involved in them abroad. Our colleagues occasionally work to create products at a much larger scale or ones that still do not exist here. Thus, when we talk about such topics, it is from an informed position. Being international is a vital driver of innovation.

What is JLL’s approach to innovation, data handling, and optimizing strategy through information?

Our main focus is on organized data because this gives us a competitive advantage in decision-making. Three items are tightly interconnected: technology, information, and transparency. We invest in emerging product companies via our tech venture JLL Spark. And since 2018, we have invested over EUR300 million in 40 pro-tech companies that offer innovative solutions to transform the way that commercial real estate operates. Global tech start-ups have the capacity to support investors with innovative solutions in construction and sustainability.

What is the company doing in terms of sustainability?


Pedro Lancastre joined JLL as head of capital markets in March 2007. In 2011 he assumed the leadership of JLL Portugal. He has a degree in management from Instituto Superior de Gestão and a post-graduation degree in real estate valuation management from ESAI. He has more than 20 years of experience in the real estate sector, having started his career in banking.

We help clients create the best products to meet the needs of the population, not only to live in but as social spaces. Our position is that of an advisor to identify the right opportunities. Many players are not local, whereby we are the locals that can show them the best opportunity. We have the data and the technology and are able to present them the best of it. In Portugal, the company has a long trajectory of local

We ensure that real estate projects comply with the energy requirements of tomorrow. With the growth of the population, cities will see greater building needs, and we are ready to continue to build extensively to meet the need for new houses, schools, and hospitals. We have products that are much more adapted to the quality of life that people are looking for. Real estate accounts for over 40% of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. And we are addressing this. ✖

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Realtors are laser focused on the swell of foreign demand for real estate in Portugal and working to offer smooth, innovative experiences to their clients.


IN PORTUGAL, with the company currently thriving in light of the current real estate boom. With a team of 300 professionals in Portugal, CBRE offers a wide range of services, spanning the transactional and non-transactional domains. Its extensive experience in Portugal is a significant advantage for its clients, particularly as it prioritizes diversification across its operations. Our presence across the entire real estate cycle enables us to serve buyers and investors end to end, from initial product conception and design to delivery, construction, and management. This full service is crucial, as investors can leverage our expertise and knowledge throughout the process, resulting in the delivery of the best product and performance. The goal is to maintain excellent asset control from inception to conclusion, covering product design and development, construction and project management, leasing and management, and exit strategy.



during which time we have grown to 32 market centers and 3,000 associates. When we entered eight years ago, Portugal was one of the most competitive markets for residential real estate outside the US. Our impressive figures are therefore a testament to our culture and strengths of our business model. Our models and systems, which have been extremely successful in the US, work well here as well. In 2022, we were the fastest growing company amongst the top five companies, at 35%, even though the rest of the industry struggled to grow as much. Moving forward, our objective is to be the largest real estate company in Portugal. Because Keller Williams is the largest company in the world in its field with almost 200,000 agents, we are directly connected to foreign investment opportunities. Specifically, one key development at the moment is greater interest in investment opportunities in Portugal from the American middle class. Early on, the FDI inflow into Portugal started from large US investors, which was followed by a Chinese and then Brazilian waves in line with the Golden Visa scheme. Now, however, we increasingly see American middle-class families looking for opportunities in Portugal.

INNOVATION IS PARAMOUNT AT ZOME; this is our distinguishing factor. Zome has developed its own software to manage the sales cycle, and the next step is managing all the information that comes with it. We are also creating digital channels for home purchasing that are truly unique. In 2020, we launched Zome Now, embedded in our website, the only place where one can buy a house online. It is similar to e-commerce. We have already sold more than 1,000 houses through this website. For international clients, in particular, it is a great tool. It allows them to see the house, conduct a virtual tour, make video calls, and register their interest in buying the property. The house is then reserved for them, and they can then travel to Portugal to make the deed of the property. Our plan for 2023 is to invest in growth. Since the start, our ambition has always been to become an international company and not just stay in Portugal, and we plan to be in six countries. We started in Portugal and Spain at the beginning. The priority at the time was to succeed in Portugal. Now that we already have 45 units in Portugal, for 2023 our goal is to open 30 additional ones here and 20 in Spain.

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GLOBALLY, we have about 52,000 people across 400 offices in 60 countries. As a major player in the real estate industry, we provide extensive real estate advisory services around the world, with a presence on all continents. Following our last merger, we now have a sizable presence in China, which is a significant advantage. We have been operating in Portugal since 1991 and have a team of 120 people in our offices in Lisbon and Porto. Our business focus is on all real estate asset services except for B2C residential property sales. We specialize in the development of new projects on a B2B basis, where investors buy a whole building for investment purposes. Our services include leasing, management, and sales for clients, and we also offer non-transactional services, such as valuation and management. We currently manage over 600,000sqm of commercial real estate in Portugal, including offices, shopping centers, and logistics properties.

COMING FROM THE US where real estate agents must go through rigorous training to gain their license, I was astonished that Portuguese agents were unlicensed, nor did they need to have experience in real estate to work in sales. I had a negative experience when purchasing my own property after first moving to Portugal and I saw this as an opportunity to offer my clients a different proposition. The Brightman Group Team strives to offer a customized experience catering to the level of clientele we are serving. We are a Portuguese company that was founded on American principals of delivering a seamless experience to our clients and the concierge service is built into our DNA. Working with agents who are at the top of their field, well-trained, and with backup support, guarantees that the best possible outcome will be achieved in the shortest amount of time. Around 80% of our clients are foreigners, many of whom already live in Portugal. It makes a big difference understanding a client on a cultural basis, and we have a multinational team that can generally identify with a client’s culture and needs.

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We posed a number of questions to our interviewees in the real estate and construction sector. These are their top responses.

What area of real estate and construction shows the biggest promise for growth?

What is the main thrust of your plans over 2022?

Sustainability International expansion Diversifying into new areas Consolidation/ innovation 37% 26% 26% 11%
Commercial/tourism Refurbishment Infrastructure Industrial/logistics Residential 5% 10% 19% 33% 33% Investment volume in the commercial real estate market in Lisbon (MN EUR) 2013 280 2014 397 2018 2,771 2015 876 2019 1,571 2016 764 2020 1,962 2017 798 2021 733 SOURCE: STATISTA Number of hotels in Portugal by year 1,400 1,200 1,000 800 600 ’11 ’12 ’13 ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 ’18 ’19 ’20 ’21 SOURCE: CEIC 96 Portugal 2023


A real estate investment firm that focuses on the full spectrum of the residential sector, Habitat Invest aims to provide the best housing solutions for each segment.

Where does Habitat Invest fit within the Portuguese real estate ecosystem?

Habitat Invest is a real estate invest firm founded in 2001 present across the full spectrum of the residential sector. We invest in the full scope of the residential segment from mid-market to premium/ luxury, developing also touristic apartments. Currently, we have 17 projects ongoing, corresponding almost to 2,000 residential units and more than EUR600 million of investment. Our aim is to offer the best housing solution for each segment where we try to be present.

What do you consider to be the current trends emerging within the RC sector?

One of the major trends for 2023, and an inevitable one, is the implementation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) compliant investments. The sustainability and decarbonization of the real estate sector are a priority, as the sector overall represents about 40% of carbon emissions, more than the transport sector. Another major topic for the residential sector is the built to rent sector, thus far extremely scarce in the Portuguese market, either private or public-private. This occurs as there is a major housing problem in Portugal, with a small rental market supply, leading to unaffordable prices for Portuguese families. Finally, industrialization and/or modular construction will also be a hot topic. Construction companies face ex-

treme labor shortages, deeply impacting projects delivery times and costs. One way to minimize this impact is by reducing the onsite required workers and construction and assembly time.

How was the year 2022 for Habitat?

Despite the challenging year we faced, due mainly by the war in Ukraine accelerating inflation growth to levels not seen in the last 30 years and consequent rising interest rates, our economic activity was extremely positive. In 2022, we managed to deliver almost 200 residential units in concluded projects, we launched four new projects for sales and achieved extremely positive outcomes for all of them, with over 30% pre-sales, and we acquired four new projects representing almost EUR200 million in investment. All of this in a year of great uncertainty and exponentially growing construction costs was a mark for us.

What will be Habitat’s focus in the coming years?

We aim to further expand our recognition in the market as a major player providing housing solutions for our clients in all segments and in all major locations including greater Lisbon, greater Oporto, and Algarve.

What is Habitat’s competitive advantage in a market characterized by increasing competitions?

Along the years, we have been building long-standing relationships with all our stakeholders, including municipalities, architects, contractors, agents, and more, based on trust, integrity, communication, and delivery capabilities. This helped us to get where we are, and we will continue to work every day to continue to inspire the trust and confidence of our clients.

What are Habitat’s consolidation and expansion plans in the market?

We want to continue to provide the best and most innovative products to our clients at the most competitive price. As such, we will keep investing in the development of our internal capabilities and further work with our partners to continue to grow and be better. ✖


Daniel Tareco has a degree in civil engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico and an MBA from the IESE Business School. He was a consultant at McKinsey and project manager at Teixeira Duarte before joining Habitat Invest. He joined the company in 2016 and is responsible for finance and administration with Habitat Invest, Habitat Ventures, and investment funds.

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LIVABLE environments

KONE is evolving to meet market requirements by focusing on sustainability and accessibility in its installation, modernization, and maintenance services for elevators and escalators and working with city planners to improve urban environments.


Filipe Nóbrega graduated in mechanical engineering from the Instituto Superior Técnico of Lisboa (IST) and holds an MBA on general management from IMD Business School in Switzerland. He has accumulated over 20 years of international experience in leadership roles with strong customer focus. He has a strong know-how in leading, executing and coordination all business activities of a company with full P&L responsibility. In 2011, he joined KONE as Managing Director of Czech Republic and Slovakia, and in 2015 he took over the position of Area Director Modernization for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Since 2019, he has held the position of Managing Director of KONE Spain, Portugal, and Andorra.

What trends are driving the urban mobility industry?

What was traditionally a product-related industry, has shifted toward a service and solutions industry. An elevator or an escalator was just a piece of the whole building system but today thanks to connectivity they can provide added value to customers. By integrating the equipment with other elements—driven by IoT and AI— the building becomes a complete ecosystem to provide customers’ enhanced efficiency, reliability, and comfort. Nowadays, 50% of the global population lives in urban areas, and by 2050 that number is expected to increase to two thirds. To make these urban environments manageable and livable, buildings must be smarter and environmentally friendly. They need to be connected and efficient. For example, a portion of the EU funds is related to the efficiency and sustainability of buildings. So, there is a significant investment there, both in new buildings and in refurbishment. To make city dwellers’ daily life better and more pleasant, KONE works directly with city planners to improve the flow of urban environments.

How is KONE’s business evolving in the face of market requirements?

KONE´s business consists of three segments: installation in new buildings, which are elevators, escalators, and automatic doors; modernizations, which involve installation in existing buildings and upgrading the elevator or escalator; and maintenance. The market trends of efficiency and sustainability are transversal in these three business lines. Buildings are designed to be more sustainable, while maintenance and refurbishment are intended for matters of efficiency. There is also still a significant portion of market need related to accessibility. Many of the buildings that exist in Portugal were built during a significant construction boom in the 1970s and 1980s and were not conceived at the time anticipating accessibility or future mobility needs of the tenants. Considering the longevity and aging of the population—and buildings—it is a great

opportunity to ensure a safe and comfortable movement for all. Sustainable and accessible buildings are the central element of urban regeneration, and they need to respond and adapt to our future needs, not only in terms of safe mobility but also eco-efficiency.

How does KONE work to make elevators and escalators more energy-efficient and better for the long-term energy consumption of buildings?

Traditionally, and in terms of technology, KONE has been known for being the most innovative company in the industry. The groundbreaking developments in the industry for the last 30 years have been pioneered by KONE, and the same goes for sustainability. We were the first company to really pledge science-based targets in terms of greenhouse gas reduction. We pledged to reduce 50% of energy consumption and committed to being carbon neutral by 2030. This 50% also applies to energy consumption during the full lifecycle of equipment. We were the first to do this and have the highest ambition in terms of reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. As an example, nowadays more than 70% of our offices in Portugal and Spain are supplied with green electricity. We are transitioning our fleet of 700 cars to hybrid or electric. A lot has also been done on the equipment itself: we have class A energy efficiency elevators. Just as an example of the significant environmental impact than an elevator can have, our current KONE elevators are up to 90% more energy-efficient than the ones installed in the 1990s, so only the elevator has the potential to significantly reduce our customers energy consumption and carbon footprint. As a result, when we refurbish a building, one of the main topics—aside from obviously improving the ride comfort and aesthetics—is eco-efficiency. Our objective is to be a leader in sustainability, not only in our own industry, but also beyond. We want to help our customers make cities better places to live, and we want to be their most trusted partner throughout their building life cycle. ✖

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Hydro Building Systems develops custom aluminum building systems for various projects globally and is a market leader in several countries.

Can you provide an overview of Hydro Building Systems?

Hydro Building Systems specializes in developing custom aluminum building systems for a wide range of projects, from special products to regular construction. The group is present in many countries with different brands highly recognized in each market, allowing to combine a global knowledge with a local specification. Our offer includes portfolio products as well as tailored developments to the specific needs of architects and real estate owners, with a focus on finding the best solutions. Our team includes experts in technical areas such as thermal and acoustic performances. By controlling the entire value chain, we also play an important role in reducing CO2 emissions in the industry and promoting the circular economy.

Hydro is present in over 40 countries and has over 31,000 employees. What makes Hydro a market leader, and how is this an asset for its clients?

One of the major advantages of having a presence in many countries is that it enables us to incorporate the various cultures and cater to diverse market needs. Our focus on sustainability and safety is consistent across all countries. We control all processes and have a presence in all stages of the supply chain, allowing us to better understand the needs of each market and deliver tailored solutions. We are able to create greater value in markets for any process or service with our knowledge of the needs and the ability to adapt to the best solution.

What are the unique needs of Portuguese builders, and how does Hydro cater to them? We have grown significantly over the last

decade, mainly because of our exposure to different customers from different markets. All this has been an opportunity for Hydro to innovate and improve. We have the expertise and solutions to address the specific needs of the Portuguese construction market, due to almost 50 years’ experience in the market. Working with two brands in Portugal, Technal and Sapa, we can meet the needs of different market segments. We can work with different approaches and different products.

How do Hydro’s products contribute to a client’s sustainability agenda?

Hydro’s products play a crucial role in ensuring building efficiency and supporting a client’s sustainability agenda. Our solutions for windows can achieve the best performance values, which are essential to building efficiency. By partnering with Hydro brands, companies can help obtain sustainability certifications, as our products have been tested and certified to meet the most demanding environmental, thermal and acoustics standards.

What has been the reception to innovation in Portugal?

In Portugal, there is a growing trend of developers coming from all over the world with a greater capacity for investments. We are seeing investors who understand the need for different and innovative solutions, and they are helping to improve the quality of the market. In addition to new buildings, there is also a surge in building renovation projects. We have ambitious renovation roadmaps and mainly work with products that can be used for renovation. Commercially, we cover the entire country, from north

to south, as well as the islands. From Portugal, we also sell in Mozambique, Angola, and Cabo Verde.

What are Hydro’s main business development objectives?

We want to lead the sustainability strategy and develop more sustainable products that are more efficient and resistant, ensuring the same quality in houses with fewer resources. Aluminum plays a major role in terms of the carbon footprint of buildings, and we aim to minimize this impact. Unfortunately, there is no clear governmental recommendations on sustainability, and we need a better understanding of these important issues. We are anticipating regulations and want to remain ahead of the curve. While we do not expect immediate profits from sustainability, we see it as a long-term investment whose importance can be conveyed to the market. ✖


José Dias is responsible for the strategic unit of Hydro Building Systems Portugal since 2020. With vast international and national experience for about 21 years in aluminum systems for architecture sector, he has managed different brands in the European and African markets. Strongly related to the Technal and Sapa brands journey in Portugal, Dias accompanied the acquisition of Anodil by the SAPA Group and joined the TECHNAL team already as part of the Hydro Group. José Dias made a brief interruption in his connection to the HYDRO Group, when in 2014 he accepted the challenge of leading the internationalization process of the Greek Group ALUMIL in Angola.

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Construction cranes dot the Lisbon skyline

100 Portugal 2023
Image: joyfull


What is Nhood’s expertise?

Nhood’s overarching goal is to create, revitalize, and transform cities, neighborhoods, and mixed-use assets into living places for people to live, work, and thrive.

Nhood specializes in revitalizing and transforming spaces where people can live, enjoy, play, and work. With a presence in 11 countries, our main strength is covering the entire construction process, from strategy and project execution to delivery. We have an operation management of over 700 partners in Portugal. Focused on providing services for tenants, we design and market real estate services that extract the value of real estate assets. For us, finding the right partners is crucial when embarking on a real estate project. Investors need to understand the market and local culture, so hiring partners with an international mindset and experience in different countries is crucial. We believe in business with partners that can provide expertise and knowledge.

same vision of sustainability and the same values. Our expertise lies in the design of mixed-use projects, integrating various focuses such as offices, restaurants, and hotels in the same space. This allows us to cater to multiple needs and encourage better lifestyles within a community. Nhood also offers management, development, and promotion services.

Can you provide an overview of your current portfolio of assets?

We manage over 200,000 sqm in Portugal and we have a pipeline of projects already identified in more than 15 municipalities, which touches different uses from commercial, residential, office and other real estate, which represents project management with an associated investment of EUR700 million.


Séverine Boutel holds a master’s degree in real estate law and an Executive MBA. She started her career in commercial real estate at Société des Centres Commerciaux and later at Unibail-Rodamnco-Westfield. She joined Immochan Russia with the mission to structure the local operations business and open Akvarel. Boutel later became operations director of Immochan China, then regional director, and later country director, before taking over general management at the end of 2018. She was appointed CEO of Ceetrus Portugal at the end of 2019 and then of Nhood Portugal in 2021.

Can you elaborate on Nhood’s unique concept of the triple positive impact? Our positive impact approach centers around the three Ps: planet, people, and profit. The goal is to positively impact the environment and the communities we serve by re-imagining spaces. For this, we keep sustainability at the core of everything we do, and we strive to integrate the best practices available to achieve our targets. 100% of the assets under our management rely solely on renewable energy, and we apply global best practices in Portugal. Developers need a partner who understands the challenge and can implement the right strategies. At the same time, the main priority for stakeholders is sustainability and ensuring long-term viability. At Nhood, we are determined to execute all our CSR commitments. Another of our considerable strengths is our ability to integrate processes and test solutions, achieved by continuously testing and improving our processes and solutions in line with the evolution of technology.

What are the specific market segments you want to explore?

We aim to create, revitalize, and transform urban spaces for a lively neighborhood life, contributing to the 15-minute city and create a well-balanced ecosystem for people to live, work, and thrive in. We want to remain aligned with clients who share the

How do you envision the future of urban space? Collaborating to achieve sustainability objectives is a must when the subject is the future of our cities. Sustainability is only possible when done with others in a collective mindset. We envision a future where cities prioritize proximity and well-being, involving citizens in the design of public spaces and betting on the diversification of uses. Through closer alignment between stakeholders, public powers, and inhabitants, we can create a more sustainable and inclusive environment.

What is the importance of being an international company?

Being present across Europe and Africa, we benefit from many synergies carried out by more than 1000 employees. Thanks to our geographical dispersion and combined experience managing over 4.3 million sqm, we can learn from our experiences in one country and apply best practices across all markets. Being international also helps us stay at the forefront of trends and technology. For instance, we were the first company in Portugal to use Google’s AI for customer care, which has since become a successful case study for the country. Additionally, we can implement successful proof of concepts in one market and replicate it in others, which helps us optimize our operations and expand our reach. ✖

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What motivated you to start this journey in Portugal, and what have been some of the company’s highlights?

Leap Assets was launched in 2020 as a boutique consultancy firm with the aim to advise and provide development services: mainly attracting foreign direct investments to Portugal with a special focus on real estate. We started by investing and focusing on and around Avenida Liberdade to capture the re-development of Lisbon while minimizing our risks. Up until 2016, we were able to acquire around 10 properties in total. We are one of the first groups from the Middle East to start investing in the market post the 2008 crisis.

Which changes have you noted in the buying patterns by foreigners in Lisbon?

Real estate prices in Lisbon have increased significantly, leading foreign investors to move further away from the city center due to higher prices coupled with huge administrative and permit processes delays. Recently, there has been a growing number of investors from various nationalities looking to invest in Portugal, with North Americans being the newcomers with huge investment appetite in all sorts of properties, mainly into the luxury market.

What is A&D Consulting’s expertise in real estate, and where does it fit within the construction ecosystem?

A&D Consulting is a boutique real estate consulting firm based in Lisbon, with a multidisciplinary team specialized in go-to-market strategies and fully integrated sales solutions. For each project, a customized sales plan is prepared according to the type of product. Our main clients are developers, private investor, investments funds, private equity companies and family offices. Through our strategic partnership with developers Gamma Capital, we can provide a one-stop-shop services to our clients, becoming their perfect local partner. Our mission is to provide our clients a high-profit return through tailor made service and 100% dedication. We work with all types of assets, from residentials projects to hospitality and yield assets, we also have done several Golden Visa processes, using our large international and exclusive network. One of our services is to find the best opportunities in the market for our investors, to ensure the best result possible. The real estate market in Portugal is not well regulated, and we strive to make a difference by being transparent and showing investors the best solutions for them.

How did Porta do Chão perform in 2022, and what role did international customers play in the company’s success?

Can you provide an overview of PVW Tinsa?

PVW Tinsa has an interesting profile, emerging from the merger of Tinsa, an international group present in over 17 countries, and PVW, an authority within Portuguese asset valuations. The merger has provided PVW Tinsa with many new international clients and, at the same time, enhanced the services we are able to offer clients. Besides banks, for mortgage purposes, any company with real estate on its balance sheet can benefit from a valuation. The goal is to help clients make better decision by having access to better information and a more realistic perception of the real value of a company by shareholders and third parties.

What investments is the group making in IT?

Within that drive to extend better access to information, business intelligence technology is key. For this reason, PVW Tinsa is acquiring companies all over the world and investing in IT tools and such as big data, that provide a better understanding of markets and price dynamics. All over the world, we use our transactions log to conduct market studies that will enhance valuations, at the same time allowing us to provide our services to banks. This is a global trend, and PVW Tinsa is at the forefront of the market in terms of utilizing business intelligence technology.

Porta do Chão recorded an increase in its turnover of about 30% compared to the previous year, international customers accounted for 18% of real estate sales transactions, we had a growing interest in different regions of Portugal, which proves a trend of decentralization of demand on the part of international customers.

What competitive advantages does Porta do Chão have in a market characterized by increasing competition?

Our team is composed of experienced professionals with extensive knowledge to suggest the best alternatives. In addition, we have a fully computerized system, which allows greater agility in the research and adaptation of the property profile and the clients’ requests. With 10 years of activity in the residential market in Portugal, we believed, from the beginning, that clients should always be the focus of our business. Not only do we provide excellent service, but we also seek to enhance the productivity of our teams in all areas of business, being closer to our customers.

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What services in workplace design does BMA Group offer?

We have six services that complement and integrate with each other. In first, we provide fit-out consultancy where we study whether the workplace is the appropriate. We conduct workplace management where we gather information on how company operate and we work to identify needs and priorities, which will allow us to have the appropriate space planning. We do interior design, going from how we organize the space and give volume, forms, colors, design, etc. to show how the space will look, identifying at the same time the appropriate technical solutions. We do all the needed fit out works, including in addition all furniture solutions, a part of having technological capability to leverage productivity & security. We can do all these six steps and services or just part. Our advantage is how we can interconnect all the services to maximize budgets and optimize spaces. The typical desired project is to work together with our costumer toward the best solution, which will then be budgeted. Once the budget is set, we move onto concretization.

What is Klepierre’s current business focus in Portugal?

Klépierre is an asset management company specializing in shopping malls that has been present in Portugal for about 20 years. One of the main principles is to have an overview of the global market, and instead of being a leader in each country of operation, we prefer to be pan-European leaders. We aim to have the strongest assets, with each being relevant and vital for the community that uses it. Our perspective is that “less is more;” therefore, it is not about the number of shopping centers but their quality. Our primary focus is to have the most relevant shopping centers with the most exciting tenant mix and complete services relevant for that community. For each community, it means that even if you have a common strategy, a shopping center should be able to accomplish the needs of each catchment area and have its own identity. Nowadays, it is not enough for a shopping mall to be just a shopping center. Client expectations are high, and have become increasingly demanding.

Where does Broadway Malyan fit within the construction ecosystem?

Can you provide an overview of Almar?

Almar Consulting is a 100% Spanish capital company that has been operating in Spain and Portugal for more than 11 years and recently opened is office in Portugal. Based in Lisbon, we are an end-to-end technical services company. We accompany the client from the initial phase, continuing with urban management, project management, and more, ending with facility management activities. We have highly qualified technical teams specialized in project management services, and in general in all the services we provide. We offer a service that is close to the client. As a medium-sized company, we have achieved a closeness and trust on the part of our main clients, which is practically impossible to achieve in multinational companies. Currently, we are heavily focused on BREEAM certifications in use and construction to ensure the project receives a green seal. We have built assets that rely solely on renewables and are heavily focused on sustainability. Our main clients in Portugal are typically players in the hospitality industry. In Spain, Almar is present also in residential, offices, and retail, among other sectors.

Across our international studio network, we cover all aspects of architecture, master planning, and interior design, taking projects all the way from the concept design stages through to completion. We have around 400 people worldwide, each sharing a collective ethos for design excellence although each of our studios has its own history and local expertise to respond to the particular demands of clients, climates, and cultures in different countries. Our studio in Lisbon covers the entire spectrum, working on everything from workplace design, hospitality, residential and master planning through to interior design. We opened the studio in Lisbon in 1996, and it has been highly successful in developing its team, winning work, and creating a solid reputation across multiple sectors, both in Portugal and the other countries in which we work.

What types of projects are driving business growth?

There are three key sectors that are currently dominating investment in Portugal’s built environment and subsequently driving our own business growth—hospitality, residential, and workplace. We are currently working with a wide range of operators and investors on the sensitive renovation of existing buildings of historic importance, revitalizing them and extending their useful life for the next generation.

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What is The Agency’s specialty, how do you assist buyers interested in Portuguese real estate?

The Agency is dedicated to helping home buyers and sellers navigate the complex Portuguese market expertly and efficiently while prioritizing client satisfaction and relationships above all else.

The Agency is a real estate company run by experienced agents who prioritize the client’s needs. We offer white-glove services throughout the entire real estate investment process. Our personalized advice on real estate investment includes educating clients on Portugal’s legal and financial processes as well as sharing our knowledge on available properties. We take the time to interview our buyers to fully understand their needs and expectations, whether they are investing, buying for personal use, or for a family member. From the initial interview to the final purchase and beyond, we guide our clients through the entire process. If additional services are required, we can refer our clients to qualified professionals such as interior decorators or contractors. We provide all the advice and assistance that buyers will need in Portugal.

What are the needs and priorities of The Agency’s target market?

“snowbirds,” namely people who migrate from north to south for the winter season.

What aspects of the regulatory framework support the investment rationale?

One advantage of investing in Portugal is the five-year warranty offered on purchases, which is appealing to foreign investors purchasing refurbished assets. This warranty provides assurance and peace of mind to foreign buyers. In parallel, Portugal has high construction standards, especially for new developments that comply with European regulations, making it safe to invest in large assets. The financial process is also safe and transparent, and The Agency’s local connections allow us to identify the best assets for our clients.

What has been the market response to The Agency?


Ayres Neto is the Managing Partner of The Agency Portugal. Specializing in the Portugal luxury real estate market, Neto leads a talented and diverse team of agents to provide his clients with comprehensive information and guidance for a seamless and rewarding experience. Having visited 40 countries, he is equipped with a multicultural and interpersonal approach that endears him to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Neto leverages his extensive know-how to guide and offer his clients valuable market insights to help them make well-informed decisions. His knack for results and pursuit of excellence has seen him win multiple awards in the industry, and he is renowned by his peers and industry players alike. He excels in providing a tailored approach and highquality service to each of his clients to establish lifelong relationships.

We focus on properties that are excellent options for expats and provide a holistic approach to the sales process. Our primary focus is on the luxury real estate segment, which typically attracts international buyers from various countries. To meet the needs of our diverse clientele, we have a multicultural team that can provide tailor-made assistance in their native language and understand their cultural backgrounds. Clients want to relocate homes with an adviser that understands their lifestyle and business practices.

What makes Portugal an interesting jurisdiction for real estate investment?

Portugal offers a wide array of factors that make it an attractive destination. Its amazing weather and geography make it a desirable location. Furthermore, Portugal ranks seventh in the world for English proficiency, making it the ideal destination for expats. The country also boasts excellent infrastructure, schools, and healthcare systems. Foreign buyers are also drawn to Portugal for its security and safety. Finally, Portugal competes with other popular destinations such as Spain, Italy, France, and Greece in the global market for

We had high expectations, though we surpassed them by a significant margin. We have more agents, listings, and sales than we initially projected. In a highly competitive real estate market, The Agency stands out because we are proactive and do not wait for client to approach us. We expand and network to reach clients no matter where they are. Our clients expect exceptional service, and we deliver by establishing a triangular relationship between the client, consultants, and marketing teams. As experts, we provide clients with valuable advice on real estate, healthcare, education, safety, and legal aspects, which are all essential when considering a move to a foreign country. The Agency prioritizes building relationships with its clients, which is the foundation of our business.

What is the importance of experience in the field of real estate advisory?

Real estate is a collaborative industry in which one must proactively seek partners beyond national borders. Since its inception in the US, The Agency has prioritized this approach. Clients can count on American standards of quality regardless of their location. As a client-oriented company, we bring our experience and knowhow of our American roots to Portugal and ensure that clients receive the level of care they expect. Whether they are investors, new residents, or commercial investors, we provide the same level of service. ✖

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above THE REST

Casaiberia distinguishes itself as a premier real estate company through its investment in technology, regular market analysis, community connections, client satisfaction, and its multilingual team.

What attributes set Casaiberia apart as a real estate company?

Casaiberia was founded in 2007, and from the beginning we made it a priority to invest in technology to consistently improve the level of service we offer our clients and better plan for future ventures. We carry out a regular analysis of the market, maintain strong community connections, and continually look to strengthen the strategies we use in both our traditional and digital marketing. As a company, we operate with integrity and adhere strictly to ethical principles and prioritize client satisfaction. This combination of factors has helped to distinguish us from other real estate firms operating within the same market.

Casaiberia started off with just a small, one-story office and channeled all our resources into growing as a company. This has translated in more recent years to an increased focus on strengthening our online presence. Thanks to these decisions, 35% of our leads come from our website, with much of the traffic we receive being organic traffic. We also have a strong, multilingual in-house and freelance team, which is incredibly important in this increasingly international industry. These factors, alongside our ability to adapt to an ever-changing industry, have helped us maintain a strong position in the real estate market in Portugal.

What allows Casaiberia to provide high-quality services to foreign investors interested in Portugal?

As a company, we have a wide range of skills and experience. We have individuals in our team with backgrounds in

project management, investment consulting, engineering and architecture. We have also placed time and effort into assembling a strong administrative and commercial team, with a huge amount of combined experience in real estate. Whilst Casaiberia is a small company, we have agents and staff from a variety of different countries. When working with international clients, we understand the importance of exercising extra due diligence, and taking the time to understand their unique needs and requirements. This extra care enables us to achieve the best outcome for our customers in terms of both the properties we show them, and the service we provide. My family and I moved from Germany to Portugal in 2004, giving me firsthand experience of relocating to Portugal with a family. This has also given me a certain level of understanding of the situations those who move here from abroad go through. I can also rest in the knowledge that the effort is worth it for those who wish to embark on the worthwhile adventure of moving to Portugal.

Does Casaiberia focus mostly on B2C or are you also exploring B2B opportunities?

Whilst our primary focus as a company is the residential property market, we have begun to explore a range of business opportunities in the B2B sector both in the Algarve and in Lisbon. We have a dedicated section of Casaiberia that covers investments, and my background as a project manager has helped me a significant amount in the work I do today with investors and developers. Our aim in the investment sector of the company is to help to ease the entire investment pro-

cess for clients: we source opportunities, oversee the project development and deliver the finished product in the final step. This work can take different forms. Our approach is personal and direct, which is something that is so important in this trade. We focus on establishing trust and offering a quality service. I am also an active lecturer at the European Academy of Real Estate and have a solid relationship with chambers abroad such as the German Association of Real Estate, as well as participating in forums within the international business community. Casaiberia is now a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and were able to enter this network thanks to our knowledge, professionalism and records as a privately owned company. Our aim is to eventually focus more on the B2B sector, but we are limited by scale at this moment in time. ✖


Paulo Lopes holds a master’s of economics from Switzerland and studied law at Lusófona in Lisbon. His experience in real estate started in 1994 in Germany, contracting Portuguese construction builders for projects like the Sony Center in Berlin and others. From 2006 on, he was project manager for German and French retail companies in the Portuguese market. Since then, his activity was mostly concentrated in own company Casaiberia as CEO & broker. Since 2015, he has been Docent at the European Academy of Real Estate certified by the German Broker Association IVD and is an active member of several national and international real estate associations like APEMIP, FIABCI, and IVD.

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Portugal has unveiled an action plan to ramp up the supply of residential properties in the hope it will bring down real estate prices.

THE PORTUGUESE GOVERNMENT under António Costa has come up with an initiative to address the country’s housing problem. The Council of Ministers approved a package in February 2022 to forestall a housing crisis that many had warned about since the early 2010s.

Many Portuguese believe that rental and property prices have gone up unreasonably over the last couple of years. For most Portuguese on the lookout for a home, there are either no homes available in their preferred neighborhood to rent or buy or prices have become unrealistic. “Between 2020 and 2021, house prices in Portugal shot up by 157%,” according to AP News, which is simply beyond the means of many working- and middle-class citizens.

To properly understand the current action plan, however, let us take a step back to review the market, its past, and the forces which have been at play. Like most European housing markets, the Portuguese real estate sector is influenced by a complex set of variables, ranging from mortgage rates to the issuance of permits for new residential projects. The mechanics of the real estate market in Portugal in this regard is not that different from what is happening in, say, Spain or Italy. However there is one factor in particular that has increasingly come into play in the Portuguese market: international buyers’ willingness to win Portugal’s Golden Visa through purchasing real estate in the country. This has been an excellent incentive to draw investors from across the world, but it has thrown the supply -and-demand equilibrium off balance.

Before the Golden Visa initiative was announced in 2012, Portugal enjoyed a relatively stable real estate market. Judging by southern European standards, 1sqm of a residential apartment in Lisbon was on average 10-20% cheaper than comparable properties in Rome or Madrid. Now, prices are higher in Portugal: as of 2023, rent for a studio flat in a reasonably respectable district of Lisbon is around EUR400 a month and twice as much for a slightly larger basic family apartment.

The Mais Habitaçao program is in a way an update to the country’s real estate code to address its most pressing problems in the area of supply. And the Golden Visa scheme seems to be putting an extra pressure on the supply chain. Strict measures, as such, may be underway, including the termination of the Golden Visa policy, as the residency by investment program is the main contributor to


Based on the Golden Visa scheme, a foreign national purchasing a property worth over EUR500,000 may automatically acquire the right to residence in the country.

Another factor influencing the supply-demand balance is the rapid touristification of many urban areas. This, in itself, is obviously a good thing for the economy. It is estimated that between 1996 and 2022, an average annual revenue of over EUR1 billion was generated from tourism, reaching an all-time high figure of EUR3.5 billion in 2022. However, this means that more houses in inner city areas are turned into vacation rentals, driving up the prices even higher for the locals. Prime Minister Costa has frequently cited his government’s determination to “reinforce of the supply of houses available to buy or rent.” This can be achieved through at least two ways: issuing more permits for new construction—of which more later—or incentivizing property owners to put their vacant residential units for sale or rent by offering them tax benefits. The owners of commercial properties, meanwhile, will be given incentives to switch their buildings into residential homes.

As for new developments, the Mais Habitação plan proposes to streamline the licensing of new construction on accessible lands through what it calls “modular construction”—clusters of new residential developments integrated within inner cities without harming the surrounding environment. According to the action plan, moreover, the government will look for new promising pieces of land outside current parish limits, which will be assigned to cooperatives or private contractors.

This will not be an easy task in a county with cities whose layout is essentially gothic and medieval. These urban designs which are part of Portugal’s cultural heritage must not to be tampered with, while there are also strict rules with regard to the expansion of city limits.

In terms of licensing, the Mais Habitação plan wants to put the local councils in charge of issuing permits instead of municipalities, which currently hold that authority and are known for their stricter interpretation of regulations. Councils will be able to grant building permits in a more dynamic manner based on the realities of each neighborhood, though a term-of-responsibility agreement will be first signed between the developers and the council. ✖

106 Portugal 2023 FOCUS New real estate code
107 Construction & Real Estate

BEST opportunities

Can you provide an overview of Aura REE’s expertise and international reach?

Aura REE provides advisory for international funds acquiring NPL portfolios mainly in three major groups of assets: hospitality, logistics, and healthcare homes.

Aura REE is an advisory company focused on evaluation, advisory strategy, and consultancy established in Spain 12 years ago. It focused on the distressed market and provided advisory for international funds acquiring NPL portfolios. We later replicated this model in Portugal, Greece, and Italy, traditionally countries with more debt and stressed assets, though there are slight variations in the business depending on the country. For example, we created a capital market boutique focused on real estate transactions in Portugal. Here, we mainly focus on three major groups of assets: hospitality, logistics, and healthcare homes. The latter focuses on hospitals, clinics, and all buildings related to health. The hospitality sector is booming right now, including hotels, student housing, and restaurants.

Given the changing market conditions, what has been the focus?

highly local; however, this is not the case now. Portugal is a safe country, with an attractive tax and legislation system compared to other countries. As a result, many pension funds, institutional investors, major developers, and large companies that want to spread out their investments are looking at Portugal. Pension funds are now investing EUR5-10 million in assets, even in new sectors such as healthcare, education, and hospitality.

What is the priority when dealing with clients?


José Covas started his career in real estate with Colliers International in 1997 as director of the valuation and consulting departments, later joining DTZ as Iberian director of the valuation and advisory department and WORX Real Estate Consultants (Knight Frank associate) as director of the departments of advisory, research, and valuation in Portugal and business development, with the direction of the offices in Angola and Mozambique. He joined AURA REE in 2016 and is currently its Managing Partner. Covas is also the current President of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Portugal and teaches master’s programs as a professor in four universities in Portugal. He holds a degree in economics from ISEG and an executive master’s in management and real estate finance from ISCTE Business School.

The approach to these stressed assets is different from before. Portugal is doing a fantastic job on these stressed assets; I expect 2023 to be similar to 2022. We expect a small number of stressed assets or portfolios to enter the market. We are now working on advisory and adjusting our strategy and business model accordingly. The second change is the opening of capital markets for the transaction part. We are leveraging our knowledge and experts to help our clients find opportunities to acquire assets for defaults. This is an entirely new mission and vision for us. Our clients come to us to help them invest without dealing with brokers, third parties, or agents. We study the market, determine the best opportunities for our clients’ needs, and bring the best value.

Who are key potential clients for the future?

Portugal has attracted many international investors in the last five to six years. Some 15-20 years ago, the market was

There are several important points for clients. Investors always want more information about the future and what might happen. We provide forecast modeling, with two or three scenarios outlining the possibilities of a particular investment. The second is ethics, transparency, and a strong track record. The third point—which is why some investors come to us and not our competitors—is that clients want to feel special. I have worked in large international firms where it is sometimes difficult for some clients to feel their needs are being prioritized. A large company can feel like a machine with hundreds of employees. This is why we significantly focus on offering tailor-made services for our clients. If a company can comply with all these requirements, clients will continue to come back to them.

How do you evaluate the market conditions for real estate investment in Portugal?

There is an imbalance between demand and supply, which creates an opportunity for those who want to develop that part of the market to create new projects. Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) has significantly impacted the office market, and many buildings will require upgrading or refurbishment to fulfill ESG requirements. I see an excellent opportunity for advisory, transaction, construction, renovations, and project management. ✖

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Gato Preto and IKEA in Portugal have seen great success as a result of their focus on quality products, customer centricity, unique designs, and sustainability.

Gato Preto celebrates 36 years in business this year. How did the company start and what is its main focus at present?

CAROLINA ALFONSO Gato Preto was created 36 years ago to showcase national artisans and the quality of national products. The project grew so quickly that Gato Preto is today a major retail brand and ranked the number-one home decor brand in Portugal, according to Consumer’s Choice. Over the years, the company has evolved, though its focus remains on providing the highest-quality products with its own unique DNA. Accordingly, we invest heavily in R&D. Our product design team evaluates trends in the sector worldwide and then sources the best suppliers.

Gato Preto’s unique designs are patented and can only be found in our stores. This is what our clients appreciate the most: our exclusivity. Currently, we have 19 stores in Spain, and we are also online in France. We are also heavily committed to sustainability, which is also important today. This has always been a part of our DNA, not only because we source from local suppliers but also because we consider the entire fabrication process.

What does Portugal represent for IKEA, and what is the company’s impact on the country?

HELEN DUPHORN When we opened our first store in the country in 2004, IKEA Alfragide, it was the beginning of a great “love story” between the Portuguese and IKEA. Since then, we have opened four more standard stores, eight Plan and Order points in shopping centers, an online store, and two shopping centers. Portugal is an extremely relevant market for IKEA; in spite of its small size, it is one of the places where IKEA really can show its relevance. We also have a strong culture and highly competent people who have been developing the business here and in many other markets. Besides the natural economic impact of the business, translated in investment, taxes, employment, IKEA has had a major impact on Portuguese homes. IKEA has shown it is possible to have a functional home, without spending a lot of money. We also see growing concerns, especially amongst Portuguese consumers, about climate change and our role in creating a more sustainable way of living at home.

What are the company’s international growth plans?

CA In Portugal, we are the number-one brand. In Spain, we have a 20-year history and brand recognition, though there are certain strong local competitors. We are proud of our brand awareness. In terms of expansion, we are currently focused on digital channels. The pandemic has accelerated the transformation, resulting in double-digit growth in the last few years. Gato Preto’s strategy for the future will focus on growing its online presence. For example, we want to increase our reach via marketplaces such as Amazon and have plans to grow further. We also launched a Gato Preto service for businesses in January as part of our growth strategy to diversify and focus more on the consumer side. We have been contracted for several major projects, such as a hotel and restaurants, to supply our products in their businesses. We developed Gato Preto to provide further benefits for companies for such B2B projects. We plan to work with offices, designers, architects, hoteliers, restaurateurs, and several others. More than products, we can also help curate the space and decorate it. This is a new service that we have great expectations for.

HD Despite the challenges that the Portuguese market has experienced in recent months, due to socioeconomic and geopolitical issues, IKEA Portugal registered a positive sales performance of EUR552 million in the 2022 fiscal year, 19.5% more than the previous year. These results are due to the company’s people and the increasing importance of affordable solutions, when people want to improve their homes. The goal now is to continue to invest in people and keep securing the best working conditions. In 2023, we plan to open more planning studios, such as in Almada and in the center of Lisbon and to become more accessible, to get closer to even more people. Another great novelty is the extension and automation of the warehouse in Loures, with a total investment of EUR50 million, which will serve as a logistics center for purchases made online. As a global objective, we want to ensure that our offer continues to be accessible to our customers, especially now that we are witnessing a general increase in the cost of living due to inflation.

109 Construction & Real Estate B2B
Carolina Alfonso CEO, GATO PRETO Helen Duphorn CEO, IKEA PORTUGAL
110 Portugal 2023
Image: lensfield Bridge construction pictured near Funchal in Madeira, 2019

Can you give us an overview of the company’s business focus and presence in Portugal?

Norton has been in Portugal since 2021, and is growing substantially. Over the past 10 years, 80% of Norton’s global operations have been in logistics. We realized that Portugal would be a great market for warehouse construction and other types of logistics-related assets.

What makes Norton interesting as a player in the logistics segment?

Norton has specialized in terms of key solutions, and we give much support to foreign investors that want a presence here. We help them with construction and budgeting with our solutions. We oversee the licensed engineering design and build, the performance, and construction for the use of a building. And we can supply also other features for buildings such as sustainability certifications as BREEAM or LEED. We can ensure clients that their buildings will be more sustainable and consume less energy. This means more economical comfort and a reduced environmental impact.

How do the companies remain at the forefront of innovation in matters of logistics?

We work with a wide range of international investors for which we provide the highest standards of construction in engineering. We share the risk of the operation through contracts that list specifications. This risk comes at a price, which is why we help coordinate strategy with developers and builders based on their budget and requirements. We help them by ensuring the construction permit has the best design and execution to achieve the best certifications sustainably.

What are your main ambitions going forward?

First, we intend to consolidate the structure and operation in Portugal, we have a four-year implementation program to fulfill. In the first two years, we had a volume of work worth over EUR40 million, and in 2023, we will realize work valued at over EUR90 million. The first goal to realize this work is to consult in construction in the local market. Second, we are keen for involvement in the kinds of projects that are important for our customers, ourselves, and the local community. Our projects can mean employment for 300 workers for several months in the respective city or region, so working with the community is important. ✖

What is Arcadis’ area of expertise and what is the company’s unique value proposition for the business community?

Arcadis is the leading global design and consultancy organization for natural and built assets. Headquartered in Amsterdam and founded in 1888, we provide design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services across every phase of asset creation and management for projects all around the world. Arcadis is the fourth-largest design, engineering, and consulting organization in the world. We number 36,000 people and are active in over 70 countries that today generate USD4.2 billion in revenues. We work on more than 35,000 projects every year and have a market share of over EUR600 billion annually. We have been present in Spain and Portugal for more than 30 years. Our mission is to improve the quality of life by creating innovative and sustainable solutions that improve the environment, generating exceptional value for our customers, employees, shareholders, and society in general.

What services and products are the focus of Arcadis in Portugal?

Right now, we are working on many important projects throughout the Iberian Peninsula, both in the building and environmental areas, where we provide all the services. Our services are applied in assets range from the construction and structural refurbishment of all types of buildings for greater sustainability, or to provide them with new uses such as hotels, student residences, high-rise buildings, offices, shopping centers, and so forth to the development of photovoltaic, wind, and offshore parks. Then, I could mention the construction of mega-factories or the largest data center in southern Europe and here in Portugal. We also participate in soil decontamination projects, management and optimization of the water cycle in order to reduce water stress, emissions control, in the dismantling of assets such as factories where waste management is fundamental. We carry out carbon footprint calculation studies and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are developed in both the building and industrial sectors and sustainability certifications, which have gone from being a complement to being a requirement for our clients. ✖

111 Construction & Real Estate
BIO Marco Santos is a civil engineer and joined Arcadis in 2022, aligned with company values of improving the quality of life by creating spaces where people want to live, work, and play, develop mobility, and make better use of natural resources.
BIO Claudio Guerra studied civil engineering, after which he worked with a general contractor company, acquiring experience in the entire construction cycle, from preliminary finance projects to the permits process, execution of projects, and post-delivery service. He is currently the Country Manager Portugal of Norton Edificios Industriais.
Country 20XX
A COVID-19 laboratory pictured in Lisbon
LIFE EXPECTANCY SOURCE: WORLDDATA.INFO 69,8 74,9 78 84,1 MEN WOMEN World Portugal HEALTHCARE SNAPSHOT SOURCE: WORLDDDATA.INFO DISEASES Portugal World Diabetes* 9.8% 8.81% Tuberculosis 0.16% 1.34% HIV/AIDS 0.01% 0.03% Portugal World Measels 98% 81.7% Hepatitis B 0.10% 0.08% DTP 9.9% 8.14% CHILD VACCINATIONS *Ages 20-79
Image: Policas


The pharmaceutical industry has unique virtues for country development. With it comes high-income job openings, an improved trade balance, the sophistication of the health sector, and the strengthening of science-based higher education. Portugal recognized the strategic importance of the pharma industry and is carrying out investments to support and promote it. The interviews in this chapter showcase the views of the organizations within the Portuguese health sector advancing the country’s bet on scientific development.

The Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan identified health as an essential growth axis. The plan includes grants and loans for pharma, an industry characterized by high CAPEX requirements. Portuguese projects in pharma that tap into the RRP will have knock-on effects in the broader health ecosystem, for example by creating adjacent opportunities for business. The GMP laboratories envisioned will allow contract manufacturing opportunities, for example. Portugal has significantly benefited from EU membership at an infrastructure level. Currently, the aim is to utilize membership to deepen scientific capabilities, specifically in pharma.

Promoting these businesses expands the country’s role within regional and global pharmaceutical webs. An important target, for example, is growing the country’s export capacity of high-val-

ue-added goods such as medicine. This is key not only in terms of Portugal’s national economy, but also globally in terms of medicine supply chains. The country’s strategic synergies with Africa make Portugal central to global health systems with an eye on the future. The sophistication of the pharmaceutical ecosystem will support patients in Portugal and also patients in Africa.

Portugal is an eligible jurisdiction for investments in pharma. The country offers the longterm stability that investments in manufacturing facilities require. Additionally, the country’s port capacity and competitive labor costs make it attractive for pharmaceutical investors with ambitions of global reach. Organon, for example, chose Portugal as its center for customer experience services in Europe. Landmark choices like this one demonstrate the country’s unique potential for pharma.

The interviewees in this chapter have the enormous responsibility for improving livelihoods. The sector is embracing innovation to expand patient access and improve therapies. There are also signs of heightened collaboration across the value chain, with health service providers collaborating closely with scientists to revisit procedures and optimize processes. In a world with an aging population, entrepreneurs in health have a responsibility that is paramount and goes beyond business. ✖

113 Health CHAPTER SUMMARY Health

ONGOING efforts

Boosted by the success of its SNS, the Ministry of Health is also developing a supportive investment environment in the health sector and actively fostering alliances and partnerships with international health bodies.

What are the key strengths of the Portuguese health system?

The National Health Service (SNS) has been in place in Portugal for more than 40 years and is a public service that is available to everyone across the entire country. SNS benefits from the leadership and commitment of tens of thousands of outstanding professionals. Over the years, SNS has been able to adapt and to ensure that the population has access to the best medical treatment, making a significant contribution to the general development of the Portuguese people’s health and quality of life. SNS is democratic Portugal’s greatest social accomplishment. In this context, it is important to emphasize the vital function of the SNS’ human resources and health professionals, as well as the trust that Portuguese society has in science. We have a history of strong vaccine compliance, and our national vaccination program is reliable and effective. It was established more than 50 years ago and designated as an SNS priority. Extensive work has been done over the past 10 years to modernize SNS’ health information systems, with a particular emphasis on the digitization of citizen-tailored health services that enable the issuance of electronic drug prescriptions, the scheduling and execution of teleconsultations, and the online checking of exam results, among other services.

What mechanisms exist to support the companies and institutions that operate in the Portuguese health space?

technological potential. The implementation of reforms and investments under the Portuguese’s Recovery and Resilience Plan should also be mentioned. This involves a significant investment in the SNS, with an unprecedented dimension, which will decisively contribute to strengthening the quality of the health care system and the excellence of this ecosystem. Around EUR1.3 billion has been invested to upgrade and improve health services in order to better meet the needs of the population. The implementation of this funding will make it possible to upgrade primary health care, expand oral health interventions, accomplish the mental health reform, renew hospital equipment, expand continuous care services, and reinforce the investment in digital health.

How does the government liaise with institutions and governments abroad to share learnings?


Manuel Pizarro holds a medical degree and is a specialist in internal medicine at Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de São João and was medical director of Hospital da Ordem da Trindade, both hospitals in Porto. He was a member of the Portuguese parliament (20052013) and a member of the Parliament Committee for Health as well as secretary of state for health from 20082009 and deputy minister for health from 2009-2011. Pizarro was also councillor for Porto municipality from 2013-2021, a member of European Parliament from 2019, and chair of the Socialist delegation at the European Parliament since 2022. He was High Commissioner of the National Health Convention, a permanent platform between Health partners and citizens, bringing together more than 150 entities from the public, private and social sectors that work in the area of Health in Portugal.

In Portugal, there is an ecosystem and a positive environment for investment in health sector. This is further reinforced by the availability of HNN 3.0, a European-wide platform whose purpose is to identify and publish funding and investment opportunities related to the health sector and enables access to the various funding offers related to the health cluster, in European health partnerships, EU Mission for Cancer, EU4Health, among others. In Portugal, the management of HNN 3.0 is conducted by the Agency for Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation (AICIB), responsible for promoting, coordinating, and supporting activities in the areas of clinical and translational research and biomedical innovation, for the optimization of Portugal’s clinical, scientific, and

The Ministry of Health’s policy is structured around international cooperation and development, which, through its bodies, ensures Portugal’s representation in international fora and actively participates in the definition and implementation of numerous policies in the regulatory, public health, training, teaching, and digitalization fields, among others. Contacts with the UN, specifically the World Health Organization (WHO), the Regional Office for Europe, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), are examples of these ongoing relationships, which take the form of representations, meetings, and regular public initiatives. Naturally, these collaborations also exist between the various organizations that work in the fields of innovation, food, and health at the level of the EU and the EC. Portugal is also committed to creating alliances and partnerships with international organizations, NGDOs, and with public and private and national and international institutions. We should mention development initiatives aligned with the Health Cooperation Strategy and the Camões institute guidelines in the field of international aid, with the purpose of strengthening public health systems in developing countries as a fundamental booster in poverty reduction strategies. ✖

114 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW

magic TOUCH

Jaba Recordati focuses on primary care and rare diseases, with plans to expand its influence in these areas through organic growth and partnerships with other companies.

Can you give us an overview of Jaba Recordati and the company’s business development goals in Portugal?

Jaba Recordati is an Italian pharmaceutical company founded in 1926 headquartered in Milan. It has been present in Portugal since 2006 when it acquired a local player, and since then, we have managed the group as a multinational. We have two different businesses, one for primary care and the other focused on orphan drugs for rare diseases. The latter is not managed in Portugal, but Madrid. Primary care is the main business line, representing 70% of the entire group and 95% of our business in Portugal. We are focused on cardiovascular, urology, pain relief, and OTCs and have some of the market-leading references in each of these areas.

What is the strategy to expand your influence in these therapeutic areas?

At a national level, following the headquarters strategy, first comes organic growth. We have new products under patent and still maintain a fairly strong presence in promotion directed to doctors. We have one of the largest sales forces in the Portuguese market. We pursue organic growth through existing products under patent or data protection. We also have new products that can come from two different sources: Recordati and via our partnerships with other companies such as Novartis. We form agreements to promote their product in this area.

What work do you do with other pharmaceutical companies, and what is the strategy for win-win scenarios and joint product development?

First, we are a flexible company, with 22 agreements established in Portugal, with Japanese, American, Swiss, French, and Spanish companies. The second point is that we follow a strict ethical code which means that we guarantee our partners that they will have no problems in terms of regulation, legislation, or ethical issues. Third, our arrangement provides a win-win solution. So basically, what we do is offer diverse services and marketing solutions. Finally, we offer a digital footprint due to our active presence in that medium. We offer the services that most multinationals dedicate to primary care as they are particularly focused on the hospital business. Increased of course by a strong brand that all HCPs recognize. Those three make us an interesting partner for the future.

What can you tell us about alliances and your work with international companies?

Recordati plays an essential role for international pharmaceutical companies that want to expand their influence and their reach in Europe and other countries. Partnerships with other multinationals are an interesting avenue for business. The multinational splits the world into two. Companies in America or Asia want a reliable partner for each area. Sometimes they want a global partner, sometimes a reliable one for Europe, and most of them keep their products in Asia. Recordati can add that value because we are becoming a transversal organization. We are focused and are an outstanding commercial organization, with a leader footprint. We have also developed our skills in R&D considerably since 1980. Because of the program with rare diseases, we have become more ef-

ficient in meeting the needs of entrant pharmaceutical players.

What are the company’s main business development ambitions?

According to our CEO disclosure, we will continue to work on rare diseases because that’s where we have focused our innovation investment. On the primary care side, we will continue to be primarily a partner in Europe, and we intend to remain a reliable and solid partner in the future. We will remain focused on the areas where we are strong, and our main driver is that we have several manufacturing plants in Europe. We are becoming a green company and aim to be a zero-carbon company within the next five years. We are becoming a more responsible company, and are quite focused on ESG, giving maximum value to shareholders, but in reality, all stakeholders. ✖

Nelson Pires has been General Manager of Jaba Recordati since 2010 and holds over 30 years of experience in the pharma industry. He is President of Marquês de Pombal Foundation and a member of the board of Apifarma. Pires is also author of the book “POLCIalphabet of leadership” and a member of editorial council of Executive Digest Magazine. He has published over 250 articles of opinion about leadership and management. Pires holds a degree in law, an eMBA in management and post graduate degree in marketing with a specialization in pharma management.

115 INTERVIEW Health

OPTIMIZING healthcare

Viatris Portugal is the number-one pharma company in the retail market in sales and units empowering people to live more healthily at every stage of life.

What is Viatris, and what is its mission?

Our name Viatris is Latin for three paths, and our mission is based on three key pillars: ensuring access to healthcare; leading the way in the industry; and developing third-party partnerships to achieve our goals. Viatris is a global pharmaceutical company with a presence in over 160 countries, with more than 40 manufacturing sites and 37,000 employees. We have a global vision for healthcare and work to improve healthcare systems around the world. We are heavily committed to ensuring people live healthier lives at every stage. We offer a wide range of pharmaceutical products that tackle the 10 most frequent causes of death identified by the World Health Organization (WHO).

How does Viatris lead in the pharma sector?

Our approach is to maintain an open and constant dialogue with all stakeholders, including authorities, healthcare professionals, scientific and professional associations, patients among others. More than understanding each stakeholder’s needs and challenges, we work closely with them to provide better support and enhance healthcare outcomes for society. At the same time, Viatris partners with other pharma companies and other players in the healthcare sector through win-win partnerships. The company believes in cooperation and proactively engages with other parties to identify opportunities. The most important aspect of Viatris’ approach to partners is its commitment to transparent and enterprising dialogue.

What role does innovation play within Viatris’ business development strategy?

We are the leader company in Portugal giving us a huge responsibility on improving the efficiency of the systems and processes for each we try to bring innovative solutions to the market. For that reason, innovation is critical for our strategy, and we view it in a wide range of areas, including new molecules, mechanisms of action, and diseases. We are also investing in AI (artificial intelligence) to optimize the future of healthcare through digital channels like digital therapeutics, self-care tools, devices, and health literacy. This strategy focused on innovation is geared toward improving the efficiency of systems, as well as relieving pressure from them and people.

What is the Global Healthcare Gateway?

The Global Healthcare Gateway is our way of expressing and reinforcing our partnership mindset. As a large and integrated company with a presence in over 160 countries and over 40 manufacturing sites, we cover the entire value chain, from research and development to manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and commercialization. Due to it, we invite other companies to partner with us at any of these stages. We see outstanding small research companies with products, innovative ideas, and motivation that need more size and infrastructure to be viable. We want to be involved across the entire value chain.

How do you evaluate the Portuguese pharma ecosystem?

The Portuguese healthcare system can be seen as a good healthcare system in the world. It has excellent and resilient professionals and a population that actively engages with healthcare systems;

however, there are some areas that need improvements for more system’s efficiency along time. It is essential to continue investing in awareness, training, and information for patients to improve overall healthcare outcomes.

What guidelines is Viatris following for the future?

As a leading pharma company in the retail business, selling over 50 packs in Portuguese pharmacies every minute in 2022, we have a huge responsibility to provide quality medicines and reliability. We will continue to support patient access to medicines and all healthcare professionals, including prescribers, wholesalers, pharmacies, and nurses. Our focus is on doing this efficiently and sustainably, but costs and demand continue to rise aligned with the growing population. We are extremely committed to the sustainability of the healthcare system, which is why we provide solutions for a wide range of pathologies and diseases. Our goal is to support people at every stage of life to live healthier, more efficient, and more balanced lives. Internally we are also supporting our collaborators the pillars of our success. ✖


With a degree in pharmacy from the University of Barcelona, Alberto NaviaOsório, the Country Manager of Viatris Portugal, is committed to building a healthier world for all. Pfizer and Viatris are part of his career path, and he has worked in areas including cardiovascular, oncology, and immune diseases, among others.

116 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW

innovative REFERENCE

LxBio was created to address the gap between biopharmaceutical development and commercialization in Portugal, targeting therapeutic areas such as infection, neuroscience, and ophthalmology.

What was the rationale behind the creation of LxBio?

The existing gap between the development of biopharmaceuticals and their commercialization in the Portuguese Pharmaceutical landscape, presented to us with the opportunity to create a company that could not only support last clinical phases of this innovative biological medicines, as well as their production and global commercialization. It was important for us to maintain the entire production chain based in Portugal to prevent the acquisition of innovative Portuguese knowledge by international third parties.

What therapeutic areas is LxBio targeting, and what makes biologics impactful in these areas?

The biological medical sector represents the most dynamic and promising segment of the pharmaceutical industry in recent decades. Globally, the use of biological medicines as a therapeutic tool has gained increasing importance in the health sector. LxBio will focus its efforts in improving the treatment in areas such as infection, neuroscience, and ophthalmology. These areas were chosen because of their lack of response to conventional pharmaceutical therapies, which is why biologicals play such an important role in our production pipeline. They will give these therapeutic areas a different approach to the already approved medicines.

What are LxBio’s goals and objectives?

The company’s mission is to become a R&D international market reference,

assuming a leading position in the Portuguese market as an exporter of innovative biological pharmaceutical products. The development of a new industrial GMP Biopharma unit in Portugal is our main objective; hence, it will allow us to launch our first product in the third quarter of 2025, TP-102 will be the first bacteriophage-based product in the world for the treatment of diabetic foot infections, being our reference product and the face of the brand in the global market. We aim to launch six innovative biological products until 2032, all for the treatment of unmet needs in the pharmaceutical area. In the future, we expect not only to produce our own pipeline of products but also to make available the production for third parties.

How will the new GMP facility in Lisbon contribute to Portugal’s scientific community and enhance Portugal’s export capacity of biologics medicines?

Having a new GMP facility in Lisbon will allow Portugal to be placed in an area of intense technological growth and scientific recognition, supporting the R&D of biological pharmaceuticals and contributing to the creation of several new highly qualified jobs. We expected that the creation of a new industrial unit in Portugal to produce biological medicines will level up the competitiveness of current products, increase service offer, sales and increase subsequently exports, not only for the Portuguese market but mainly to international markets.

What makes LxBio a strategical project for the future of Portuguese pharma?

Altogether, with this project we hope to increase the competitiveness of the national pharma sector and provide new market opportunities for other companies be involved, showcasing the technological capability of the Portuguese pharma. Our plan is not just to build another factory, but to create an integrated and self-sustainable project that will identify, promote and support new Portuguese projects and initiatives regarding biopharmaceutical development. We wish to generate sustainable relationships with partners related to biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and health fields to share knowledge and technological expertise. ✖

Miguel Garcia started his career as a research investigator at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) after completing his PhD in pharmacy at the University of Lisbon. He complemented his education with an MBA from Catholic University of Portugal, which propelled him to found the start-up TechnoPhage for the R&D of innovative biological therapies. Currently an associate professor at Egas Moniz Instituto Universitário, he also sits on the executive board of the Collaborative Laboratory (CoLAB) VectorB2B. Most recently, he founded LxBio, a pioneer company and one of the few in Europe with the ability to manufacture and commercialize its own pipeline of biological products.

117 INTERVIEW Health


Innovation and ensuring quality care for patients remain the key priorities for these global pharma companies with an eye on targeting the key diseases and underserved groups in Portugal.

STADA STARTED ITS BUSINESS in Portugal as Ciclum Farma, a well-known company that sold a portfolio of generic products to patients and healthcare professionals. The company has expanded its focus to different sectors, including consumer healthcare products, generics, and specialties. Innovation drives STADA’s market. Our mission is Caring for People’s Health as a trusted partner, and our values are the guiding principles for a better world for our patients, stakeholders, and company. STADA’s agility and entrepreneurial spirit helped the development of solutions in times of crises, such as the pandemic and supply chain disruptions. STADA continues to innovate not only through specialty products but also with strong consumer healthcare brands such as Nizoral, Mebocaina, and also generics. Since 2014, STADA has been organizing one of the major studies in the health sector—the STADA Health Report—involving 16 countries and over 30,000 patients. More than just providing medicines for the market, we aim to deliver innovation and care for our patients.

ORGANON IS A SPINOFF from MSD, with its roots in the Netherlands where the original Organon brand was established almost 100 years ago, in 1923. The company’s primary focus is on developing and delivering innovative women’s health therapies, including contraception, fertility, endometriosis, pre-term labor, post-partum hemorrhage, and other areas that have been historically underinvested in. Over the years, there has been a surge in interest in this field, with many fintechs and health start-ups joining the movement to support women’s health. Our clinical trials focus not only on conditions that affect only women, but also those that disproportionately impact them. It is essential to invest adequate effort in these areas to provide unique and differentiated treatments for women. For example, heart failure is one of the leading causes of death among women, but clinical trials in cardiovascular events typically do not consider the unique biology of women. Therefore, promoting gender-specific research is a crucial step toward offering personalized therapies.

NOVARTIS’ VISION is to improve and extend people’s lives. To that extent, we can contribute by innovating and improving in our products and therapies. Novartis is one of the pharmaceutical companies with the highest research expenditure in the world. We focus on areas where there are significant needs. In Portugal today, the most prominent illnesses are cardiovascular and oncology related, which cause 27% of deaths in Europe. In addition, these diseases have a huge impact on our economies and the lives of people. As a result, these are the two areas that we are focused on right now. In order to move from a treatment approach to one focused on preventive care, the first pillar is prevention, namely having the right programs and the right education. After this, detection is crucial. Novartis has many technologies available to assist us in detection. You then need to develop the right clinical pathway to ensure everything can work smoothly and that the patients are well informed. Then, we also must work on efficient measurements.

PFIZER HAS BEEN present in the country for 68 years, and today we are partners with a broad number of institutions, stakeholders, and decision-makers. Pfizer has been significantly increasing its footprint in terms of the way that we serve patients. Our main areas of activity regarding R&D are related to inflammation and immunology, cardiovascular, metabolic diseases, vaccines, infectious diseases, oncology, and rare diseases. Additionally, we collaborate with universities and medical research centers to contribute to the advancement of science. We encourage Portuguese investigators to participate in research through medical grants, clinical trials or IIRs, which are investigator-initiated research. We are particularly proud of hosting Pfizer Awards, the oldest and most recognized award in the life sciences, especially in the medical field, in Portugal. Winning such an award enhances the reputation of the winning team and its principal investigator and helps us continue our support for the development of medical research in Portugal.

118 Portugal 2023 FORUM

LIVE LIFE to the fullest

In 25 years, Lusíadas Saúde has expanded geographically to operate throughout Portugal and is the country’s third-largest private player in terms of revenue.

Lusíadas Saúde celebrates its 25th anniversary. Can you provide a brief overview of the evolution of the company and where it stands within the Portuguese healthcare system? Lusíadas started out as HPP and was established by Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Portugal’s largest publicly owned bank, to provide healthcare services to its employees. Initially, it focused on orthopedics, as that was the greatest needs of Caixa’s employees, and over time it expanded to cover other areas of healthcare. As the need for healthcare services increased, Lusíadas expanded geographically across Portugal and now operates throughout Portugal. It is the third-largest private player in terms of revenue and has over 6,000 professionals working with it.

Can you elaborate on the recent acquisition by Vivalto Santé?

cy, subsequently forming partnerships with private and public players that know the market and conditions. We have formed several such connections throughout the country, where growing makes sense. Our partners range from real estate developers to small businesses. We have also been connected to several players in specific regions to develop the local economies.

What is the potential for medical tourism in Portugal?


Vasco Antunes Pereira is currently CEO of Lusíadas Saúde, a reference group in the Portuguese healthcare sector. Before assuming the position of CEO, he was CEO of Hospital de Cascais and a member of the board of directors of Lusíadas Saúde. With a law degree from Universidade Lusíada, several postgraduate degrees in health at Stanford University and IESE, and an MBA from Georgetown University, he began his career as a corporate lawyer then moved to be head of the legal area at the first PPP experience in Portugal - Hospital Amadora-Sintra. After his MBA he changed roles and led strategic procurement at José de Mello Saúde.

The acquisition is essential for our business development and will improve the patient experience. Access to Vivalto’s network of hospitals is a crucial asset, because it allows us to share knowledge of systems and how to interact with players and customers. Vivalto has a wealth of knowledge about working with the government and has a close connection with doctors, following the third way of having doctors become company shareholders. This is a powerful strategy for engagement, retirement, and knowledge sharing moving forward. We had this system in place before, which is essential because in terms of DNA, we are not changing what we have been doing to date. There are also opportunities for consolidation in other areas, such as dental care, and we have noticed ample support from Vivalto in terms of financial backing to pursue businesses of this type. It is extremely innovative at the organizational level.

How is Lusíadas contributing to the economy, and what have been the ripple effects from its operations?

We build up our network by partnering with stakeholders that have deep understanding of a local market. We approach local stakeholders and share our intentions of moving to a region of competen-

Medical tourism requires a sector approach to effectively distribute the product. Given the cost of living, Portugal has a privileged position to provide medical tourism. The cost of healthcare in Portugal is extremely competitive compared to European markets. Additionally, the healthcare system in Portugal has various certifications and recognitions, including the highest standard for technology use. Most of our hospitals are already accredited by the Joint Commission International. Our competitors have similar quality standards, which position us at the highest end of medical attractiveness.

How do you envision Lusíadas evolving in the medium and long term, and what role will quality innovation play within that strategy?

In response to the pandemic, we realized the need elevate our approach to technology. We have transformed our innovation department from being technology focused to being led by medical experts. Innovation needs to be driven by the needs of the people, and we must be innovative in the way we serve them. Our focus is on technology that serves people, not the other way around. We have also transitioned to a physician-led lab initiative and have been investing heavily in analytics to better serve our clients. We are utilizing AI to instruct and guide our clients on the best way to live healthier and longer lives. Our goal is to maximize the gift of longer life provided by technology and help our clients and their families live life to the fullest. We aim to transform healthcare and the system, making it more educated and efficient. ✖

119 Health INTERVIEW
120 Portugal 2023
Image: peizais


Germano de Sousa is a doctor of medicine with a specialization in clinical pathology. He is CEO and Clinical Director of the Centro de Medicina Laboratorial Germano de Sousa. Prior to his current positions, he was a former associate biochemistry professor and regent of the master course in chemical pathology at Nova Medical School as well as former head of the clinical pathology department at Fernando Fonseca Hospital. He has been active in his field as former president of the Portuguese Society of Clinical Pathology, the Portuguese Medical Association, and the Portuguese Society of Osteoporosis. Since 2005, he has been a member of the New York Academy of Sciences.


Carlos Monteiro is the Founder & President of Biojam Holding Group. He is also the Co-Founder and majority shareholder of OPFC Clínica Médica do Porto. He attended the PAME Universidad Catholica Business School and has 35 years of experience in the pharma sector with several international companies in Portugal and international territories.

What are the key recent developments at GdS, and what did the pandemic mean in terms of business development?

The pandemic was an operational challenge and an opportunity for growth. It was especially important to grow geographically and offer blood sample deposits sites across Portugal for patients nationwide. Making laboratory analysis available beyond the main cities was key and the pandemic strengthened GdS’ reach outside concentrated urban centers. Currently, GdS has more than 550 centers for sample deposits. This is aligned with our commitment to deliver top-of-the-line analysis to everyone who lives in Portugal.

What characteristics help GdS stand out as a leading laboratory analysis, health-care company?

The focus of business and service is the patient. We are specialists in clinical pathology. This is an important differential and serves

as a guarantee of quality. We are also leaders in innovation and create value by prioritizing research. We contribute to the sophistication of lab analysis in Portugal by offering modern lab methods and by supporting collaborative work with Portuguese and international universities that allow students to use our laboratory facilities. The exchange of know-how allows GdS to stay at the forefront of methods and technology.

What is GdS’ approach to international business?

At GdS, we have a responsibility not only with Portugal, but with the wider region, and Africa. We conduct testing on samples collected across a wide range of countries. We receive a large influx of samples from Angola, Mozambique, and North and Central Africa.

How do you envision the future?

The future of this specialty is DNA and molecular medicine. We are witnessing the start of precision medicine and personalized medicine. We must, therefore, change the vision of the future. We increasingly have a better understanding of medication’s target. Our main priority is to be at the forefront of technology with new types of testing, such as personalized medicine. ✖

quent medicine intake. Innovation is central to our business and can have a significant impact on patient care and outcomes.

Can you give us an overview of Biojam and the company’s main business development ambitions?

Biojam, formerly known as Etio Pharma, was renamed in 2015 and currently focuses on Spain, Italy, and the Benelux region. The company has been market leader in Spain since 2007, with a primary focus on oncology and rare diseases while also being mindful of psychology, care, and innovation. Our key priority is excelling for the well-being of our patients.

What is Biojam’s approach to R&D and innovation?

Biojam’s approach to R&D and innovation extends beyond molecules. We holistically look at patients’ quality of life, including more accurate dosing, cost reduction, and less fre-

What is Biojam’s approach to partnerships?

Biojam’s partnerships are built on a shared vision that puts patients’ needs first. We continually receive feedback on our products and processes directly from our patients. Our main goal is always the patient—profits come second. If we always place patients at the center of our efforts, that will naturally result in successful partnerships. We aim to support innovation amongst health professionals and be a disruptive force in the sector. All forms of innovation, therefore, need to have a positive end result for doctors, nursing professionals, pharmacists, and patients. We also collaborate directly with several societies such as the pharmacist and oncology societies. ✖

121 Health INTERVIEW


GrupoConcept offers beauty services through its three business lines, BodyConcept, DepilConcept, and ConceptPlus, with a focus on innovation, personalized service, and proximity to customers.

What was the business rationale for GrupoConcept, and what is the group’s expertise?

Offerings of beauty services are typically dominated by small and independent companies. They are typically not organized, unprofessional, and not marketing oriented. The opportunity was evident for us, and we decided to create a concept to bridge this gap. Currently, we have three business lines. The first, BodyConcept, offers the most complete beauty services concept on the market. BodyConcept has the widest range of aesthetic treatments and services on the market and the unique, patented Esthetical Gym, where clients can enjoy many different treatments for a fixed, accessible, monthly fee. The second, DepilConcept, specializes in the several types of hair removal such as waxing, IPL, and laser, provided by employees specialized in this service, with the best and most modern machines on the market and in facilities exclusive for this purpose. The third is ConceptPlus, a brand of skincare products with face and body lines, exclusively sold online or in the units of BodyConcept and DepilConcept brands. The composition of its range consists of ingredients from natural extracts, biotechnology, and active ingredients from marine nature. It has also a professional line exclusive for the franchisees of our brands.

What company characteristics have been vital in maintaining market leadership and consumer satisfaction?

The secret to being the number-one brand in our activity is the proximity to our customers. Specialized training, quality service, trust, innovation, and personalized assistance are some of the factors evaluated by Escolha do Consumidor that recognized us in the category

of Beauty Clinics for the sixth year in a row. This proximity to the client allows us to maintain a great offering that is completely adapted to what customers are looking for. We guarantee this connection, not only through constant listening to our customers’ needs, but also through an ongoing and personal connection with our franchisees, who maintain a direct and close relationship with our clients. Besides these factors, we uphold a strong marketing-oriented strategy, and we ensure our human resources are duly trained and prepared to serve our customers and provide them with the best service on the market.

How important is innovation in the field of beauty treatments?

We believe brands must innovate their experiences and offerings to meet the new needs of clients. Over the last few years, we have implemented some new treatments and have acquired new equipment in radiofrequency, cryolipolysis, and more. However, the most important innovations were based on the process of evolution and offering of new methodologies. Unlike what happened before we existed, going to one of our clinics is having a unique and modern experience with personalized service, current and adapted payment methods, detailed information systems and total knowledge of the clients and their history.

What has been GrupoConcept’s experience in its most recent expansion targets?

We are market leaders in our origin country—Portugal—though the market only has 10 million people. To branch out, since growth is part of our DNA, we decided we had to look at new countries. After a huge success in Poland, where

we are also market leaders, we wanted to capitalize on its accomplishment and grow in surrounding smaller countries, so we defined Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, and Romania as target markets. After five years, and with a pandemic behind, we signed master contracts with Czechia, Slovakia, Serbia, Kosovo, Ireland and, recently, with Hungary. We currently have around 200 BodyConcept and DepilConcept clinics in all these countries. The current results are a great achievement of the initial goals. We are now helping local master franchisees launch and consolidate these operations, though in the near future we want to expand into Western Europe: Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK. Our goal in the next five years is to make DepilConcept the leading brand in the hair removal market in Europe. ✖


Alexandre Lourenço is one of the three co-founders of GrupoConcept, owner of the franchising esthetic brands BodyConcept and DepilConcept, and cosmetic products, ConceptPlus. With a bachelors in business organization and management from ISCTE in Lisbon, a master’s in quality management in services from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and postgraduate degree in management from Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh Business School in Scotland, Lourenço developed his career in the automotive sector at Inforauto, Grupo Sousa Lima, ABMS, and Salvador Caetano’s Group, until founding GrupoConcept in 2005. He has also been an invited guest teacher at several universities such as Universidade Independente, INDEG/ISCTE, and IESCE.

122 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW


LXBIO IS A COMPANY FOCUSED ON expanding the horizon for the development of innovative biological medicines. At the end of last year, LxBio together with co-promoters TechnoPhage, VectorB2B, and Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Lisbon unified their expertise in pharmaceutical innovation to create the Bio-Hub consortium, a project in the scope of Mobilizing Agendas for Business Innovation, with a total eligible investment of EUR35 million by the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR).

Leading the agenda, LxBio aims to bring to commercial phases new biological therapies currently under development by members of the consortium by conducting clinical trials last phases and performing the registration, marketing, and distribution (export) of these drugs from Portugal, while maintaining the decision center in Portugal. The main goal with this agenda is to develop a value chain, from development of the validation tests to the clinics, evolving to the industrial production phase and commercial distribution worldwide of the products through the construction of a new GMP-certified production unit.

The work carried out by the agenda will allow LxBio to become a global precursor in the development of new therapies

based on cocktails of bacteriophages and antibodies, and it is expecting to receive the approval for commercialization of first bacteriophage-based product in the world for the treatment of diabetic foot infections (Project TP-102) by 2025. This biomedicine was one of the few which was granted Fast Track Designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2021, as it is an innovative drug to treat a disease for which there is no effective therapy.

The members of this consortium will be pioneers, supporting the development of a single unit in Portugal—and one of the few in Europe specialized in the production of biologics such as bacteriophages and antibody fragments—with dedicated and certified spaces, which ensure good manufacturing practices (GMP) and different needs in the production process.

This new platform created by the BioHub Consortium is an integrated and self-sustainable project that will also support the development of several Portuguese start-ups and create about 100 direct highly qualified jobs until 2032, transversal to different partners at various technical levels, as well as more than 100 indirect jobs through the coordination of an R&D ecosystem.

LxBio will certainly become a reference player in the international market in R&D and commercialization of biopharmaceutical products with a special interest in phage therapy technology, aiming to be one of the first companies in this sector to reach the world market. ✖

123 Health
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.


With excellent value for money and sunny beaches, Portugal is making a name for itself as a health tourism powerhouse in Europe.

PORTUGAL HAS BECOME A REFERENCE in European medical tourism. Thanks to its excellent value for money and pleasant climate, the country has become the preferred destination for many seekers of medical services abroad. At the end of the day, it is a member of the EU with a consolidated and high-quality medical system that is less than 3 hours away from the main cities of the continent. It takes approximately 2 hours to fly from London to the peaceful city of Faro on the Algarve coast.

In a ranking prepared in 2000 by the World Health Organization, Portugal was among the 40 countries with the best health system in a ranking that included more than 191 countries. It was around that time that the euro came into effect as the currency of many EU members, which facilitated the movement of capital without paying commissions within the bloc. Among other factors, the ease of movement of capital and people through the EU is one reason why Portugal has gone from receiving 6.7 million tourists in 2007 to 17.2 million in 2019, the last year before the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The increase of the foreign retired population, together with the arrival of tourism has opened an opportunity for the development of medical tourism that several companies are taking advantage of. In 2020, the size of the medical tourism market was estimated to be USD11.56 billion, with the expectation that it will grow to USD53.51 billion by 2028, according to a study by Fortune Business Insights. With the intention of taking advantage of this growing trend, in 2014 Portugal published its first plan to grow this sector: the Report of the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Health Tourism. This report included representatives from government agencies to establish a roadmap to advance medical tourism and structure the product.

One of the most important points is that it differentiates between medical and wellness tourism. Medical tourism focuses on receiving medical and therapeutic care for non-residents in the country, and much of this treatment focuses on aspects of biomedicine performed in hospitals or clinics to treat a pathology previously diagnosed by the patient. Meanwhile, the report emphasized the importance of differentiating wellness tourism from the typical treatments that provoke physical, mental, and emotional harmony that are

usually offered in hotels, resorts, or spas.

Price and quality are the main factors driving the arrival of tourists for medical services in Portugal. According to a 2007 Deloitte Center for Health Solutions report, one of the main factors for patients to receive medical treatment is a more affordable price in exchange for receiving a quality similar to what they would receive at home. This is precisely one of Portugal’s main strengths, as the quality is higher and the costs more affordable in comparison to the US, Nordic countries, Germany, or the UK, according to a study by the Instituto Universitario de Lisboa.

CUF, Hospital da Luz, and Lusíadas Saúde are three of the main private healthcare operators in the country, with years of experience in the treatment of complex diseases and with a hospital network that extends throughout the national territory. Among other locations, these companies not only have healthcare complexes in major cities, such as Porto and Lisbon, but also in some of the most popular tourist destinations such as Cascais, Aveiro, Madeira, and Faro.

Some of the most requested treatments by those seeking medical services in Portugal are cardiology, dermatology, otorhinolaryngology, general surgery, oncology, and plastic surgery. In the specialty of oncology, Portugal stands out as one of the best places to access positron emission tomography (PET-CT) equipment, as well as low or high-dose brachytherapy. As an example of the rapid implementation of high-tech equipment, Hospital Lusíadas Lisboa performed the first uniportal robotic thoracic surgeries in Portugal, which was possible thanks to the acquisition of a Da Vinci robotic surgery equipment. One of the most prominent locations for medical tourism is the Algarve region. Located on the southern Portuguese coast facing the Atlantic Ocean, the Algarve is one of the country’s main tourist centers and is home to high-quality facilities with three public sector hospital units controlled by Centro Hospitalar do Algarve, though there are also seven other private sector facilities. These private complexes belong to Hospital de Loulé, the Hospital Particular do Algarve Group, and the Lusíadas Group. These centers excel in specialties such as ophthalmology, plastic surgery, and rehabilitation. ✖

124 Portugal 2023 FOCUS Medical Tourism
126 Portugal 2023
Image: Juan Garcia Hinojosa The Faculty of Medicine building at Coimbra University

art and science OF BEAUTY

NB Clinic is a distinguished medical aesthetics clinic that aims to promote the natural beauty of each person by providing high-quality, personalized aesthetic treatments.

Can you introduce NB Clinic’s operations and share its founding principles and goals?

NB Clinic was founded in 2017 as a distinguished medical aesthetics clinic dedicated to promoting the well-being and individual beauty of each person. The clinic’s main objective is to provide high-quality aesthetic treatments, and for that we have assembled a team of top professionals to ensure the best and safest care for our patients. At NB Clinic, we highly value the natural beauty of every individual and take great care in personalizing our procedures to enhance their innate features. We offer a complimentary evaluation to prospective patients, allowing them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with our clinic, meet our doctors, and comfortably discuss any inquiries they may have about our procedures. We are committed to establishing a conscious and professional relationship with each patient, and we approach every case with the utmost dedication. At NB Clinic, we seamlessly blend medical aesthetics and natural beauty to provide an unparalleled experience in the field of personalized aesthetic care. Dr. Rafaela Sacadura, part of the clinical staff at NB Clinic, believes above all that the most important thing is that Orofacial Harmonization be individualized, that is, the procedures are defined according to the needs of each patient. Our doctors always seek subtlety, delicacy, and naturalness.

What are the current trends emerging within the beauty and aesthetics sector, and how does NB Clinic adapt to them?

Right now, the aesthetics world goes forward to natural beauty. Which means

people are still interested in injections and facial harmonization but with a natural glow. It is the end of the exaggerated looks and puffiness; we instead focus on anti-aging methods rather than changing a person’s facial characteristics. It is the “look your best version” time. More and more new technologies with lasers like Fotona 5D or UtlraformerIII have entered the market to help the fillers to look natural. It is better to prevent rather than treat. The less conservative views we have with aesthetics medicine, the better the results will be. Skin treatments to prevent melasma are more and more searched. We like to think about the future at Nbclinic so we always combine our laser treatments with the injections of fillers and bio-stimulation. Products like Sculptra or prohilo are more popular than ever too.

How did the company perform in 2022, and what factors contributed to its success?

We are thrilled to share that the period since 2022 to the present has been monumental for our clinic. We have seen a significant increase in awareness and interest in the beauty industry, especially towards the end of 2020. During the pandemic, individuals were able to slow down, reflect, and take steps towards improving themselves. We noticed a rise in self-love and the desire to make long-postponed decisions regarding physical appearance. As restrictions eased, we welcomed more determined patients seeking positive change. Recognizing the changing times, we decided to rebrand our clinic, including a new Instagram platform. Our efforts have paid off, with NB Clinic amassing 40,000 fol-

lowers and increasing its reach by over 100% in just one year. Furthermore, our Facebook platform saw a 42% increase in reach, resulting in a combined reach of 4,882,428 people. This incredible growth resulted in an ROI of over 8,988%. 2022 was a year filled with challenges that we embraced with determination and resilience. As we look forward to the upcoming year, we are optimistic about new opportunities. We are committed to continuing our growth and to learning the latest and most effective methods that will help us provide exceptional service to our clients.

How do you envision the company’s growth in the near future?

Our future plans for NB Clinic are very linear: to keep on welcoming new clients, continue to grow our community, and expand our business to other locations that best fit our goals and objectives.

127 INTERVIEW Health
BIO Francisco Sá Pena is a young, successful entrepreneur. He prides himself on his ability to bring the most recent technology in the world and highly skilled doctors to his clinic, making NB clinic a leader in Portugal. He studied the history of art at FLUL.
Country 20XX
An entrance at the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in Europe
SCHOOL ENROLLMENT, TERTIARY (% GROSS) SOURCE: THE WORLD BANK 70 68 66 64 62 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 LITERACY (%) SOURCE: MACROTRENDS 100 95 90 85 80 75 '81 '91 '11 '18 '21
Vitor Miranda


The Bologna agreement that standardized university credits across Europe opened the door to the current hypermobile student. In this shift, Portugal saw an opening to position its higher education institutions as a top choice for European students. Portugal combines security, English-language proficiency, lifestyle, and good weather. Students demand an international component to further schooling in today’s global context. And Portugal offers a comfortable and close-to-home option that is hard to match. The lifestyle factor, strategic to strengthen and promote industries as varied as real estate or technology, is luring students to the country and creating virtuous feedback loops that improve teaching. Over 60% of the student body at Nova SBE, a leading Portuguese business school, are not Portuguese.

The internationalization of Portuguese universities has made them more competitive. Competing globally elevates standards and expectations. Universities had to strengthen the courses' bilingual component and tighten teaching staff requisites. Portuguese universities ensure that graduates are competitive at a European level. To this extent, they seek to emulate closely the needs and requirements of the employers that will receive their students as candidates post graduation.

The alliance between academia and the private sector has shaped learning in Portugal markedly. Companies and universities are working collaboratively to prepare students for the responsibilities of the professional world. This is an exciting paradigm shift because the divide between instruction and real-life application is still a common complaint in many countries. In Portugal, the chasm is closing. For example, ISEG included in curricula the programming languages deemed essential by employers. The relevance of material at a professional stage is noted and prioritized.

Today, there are five Portuguese institutions in the Global 100 Financial Times Business School rankings. Indicators like this demonstrate the appeal of Portugal at the international level as a destination for learning. In a post-Brexit context, Portugal is a top choice for English-oriented Europeans eyeing a master’s abroad.

Portugal’s private sector must capitalize on the country’s appeal at an education level. The inflow of students can and must benefit Portugal’s productivity. The country is attracting a pool of talent that can contribute to solving problems and creating opportunities. If the synergies between academia and the private sector continue, not only should business shape learning, but learning may also shape business. ✖


The Higher Institute of Economics and Management in Lisbon

130 Portugal 2023
Image: lauravr

GREATER mobility

ANE in Portugal works to foster mobility and partnerships within Erasmus+ for education and training, internationalize education, and promote greater democratic responsibility through international partnerships and projects.

What are the key objectives of the agency, and how would you summarize the outline of Program Erasmus+ 2021-2027?

The key objectives of ANE are to foster mobility and partnerships within Erasmus+ in Portugal, particularly for the education and training sectors (E&T). The Erasmus+ E&T NA also supports the internationalization of education and training organizations in Portugal, as well as the implementation of students’ national strategy for accommodation focused on higher education, managing the corresponding recovery and resilience plan funding in Portugal.

Democratic responsibility, environmental sustainability, and digital transition—how can international partnerships serve to strengthen these three key principles?

These are critical horizontal dimensions for the entire Erasmus+ Program, so they are approached by international partnerships either through projects for students and staff mobility or for partnerships to develop specific and thematic projects. These partnerships, particularly, are frequently developed with specific thematic approaches and objectives related to these dimensions’ issues. Projects usually foster debate over democracy and citizenship or environmental responsibility, as well as the development of new tools or methodologies promoting green practices and shared democratic values. Besides, immersion in international and multicultural experiences and contact with other languages and individuals are proven to be determinants for social cohesion and democracy. Digital approaches and environmental sustainability are not only combined through options such as virtual or blended mobility, but as well through all choices favored to enable projects to be more environmentally friendly whenever possible. The overall program is presently supported by IT platforms, at all levels of work and project management, seeking a paperless-driven purpose to increase environmental friendliness.

What tools does ANE have at its disposable to strengthen the internationalization of education in Portugal?

The main internationalization tool in what concerns higher education institutions is Erasmus+, which is even more true to other education and training sectors such as school education, vocational education and training, and adult education, which are also under the NA management responsibilities. So, it is only logical that ANE has an overall management framework related to internationalization. More specifically, fostering mobility, partnerships projects, and transnational cooperation activities are all fruitful to developing the E&T internationalization prospects.

What are some key milestones achieved by the ANE?

Besides a serious evolution of mobility figures, over the years (we manage Erasmus for Higher Education since 1987 and Leonardo da Vinci, for Vocational Education and Training, since 1995), with an average growth rate of 14% for the 2014-2020 program, more than 190,000 students, teachers, and staff have been enrolled in mobility and projects’ activities. Portuguese organizations continue to be interested in Erasmus+, and their participation has grown over the last two years. In 2021 and 2022, PTNA funded more than 869 projects and 41,000 participants, most of all approaching the European priorities. We have been accomplishing an average funding realization of around 100% all over the years, and more recently we should stress that mobility figures after the pandemic have all regained momentum, even though considering that inflation and the invasion of Ukraine are serious issues Europe has to face.

How do professional training programs and higher education programs deliver positive change to society?

The most tangible and positive changes that we have been acknowledging are

related to employability, as most participants benefit from a stay abroad, from opportunities to accomplish traineeships, for instance, and level and skill up in other contexts. If this applies mainly to young people, we should stress also that organizations benefit enormously from the networking processes over Europe (and beyond), not only for educational purposes but also for research purposes, whenever staff participates. Connections among higher education institutions all over Europe are most relevant and synergic. Furthermore, we should emphasize that the European identity growing acknowledgment is largely connected to the mobility and interconnection process that the Erasmus+ enabled. Moreover, we truly believe Erasmus+ is a valuable tool for organizational innovation, personal and professional development, and, ultimately, human growth and social peace. ✖


Ana Cristina Miranda Perdigão is currently responsible for the management of Erasmus+ Program 2021-2027, support for internationalization of education and training, and implementation of the national higher education housing program. Previously, she was a coordinating professor at Lisbon Polytechnic (IPL) and served as its vice president between 2012 and 2020. Between 2009 and 2012, she was vice president of Lisbon Accounting and Business School, a branch of IPL, where she has been associated since 1991, responsible for lectures units of European Union law, European competition law, and civil procedural law. Perdigão holds a law degree from the Lisbon School of Law Universidade Católica Portuguesa and a master’s in European studies – legal dominant, by the Institute of European Studies from the same university.

131 Education INTERVIEW

VALUABLE educational experience

ESHTE offers degrees in hospitality, tourism, and gastronomy to prepare students for careers in the tourism industry, while also strengthening its international reach as a global leader in hospitality and tourism education.

Can you provide an overview of ESHTE’s academic focus and its role within the tourism industry?

ESHTE is an institution that belongs to the Portuguese polytechnic higher education system, being one of the five Portuguese higher education schools not integrated in Polytechnic Institutes. ESHTE offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees (in partnership) in hospitality, tourism, and gastronomy. The main goal lies in the importance given to preparing students for careers in the hotel and tourism industry, which in addition to a solid theoretical education, provides practical classes as well as hands-on experience through training placements. Is therefore clear that ESHTE is unavoidably playing an important role in the tourism industry, training qualified professionals to meet the demands. It is therefore natural that our graduates have a high rate of employability. Additionally, ESHTE also has partnerships with industry organizations, which ensures that its curriculum and programs are constantly updated and relevant to the needs of tourism.

How does the university itself of the Portuguese tourism ecosystem, and what types of partnership offer win-win opportunities?

of tourism professionals. Such partnerships allow the students to gain valuable experience and exposure to the labor market. In addition, they help ensure ESHTE’s plans and curriculum consider industry needs, making its graduates highly sought after by employers.

To what do you attribute Portugal’s reputation for excellence in matters of hospitality and tourism?


Carlos Brandão has a PhD in veterinary sciences from the University of Lisbon and a post-graduate degree from the Pasteur Institute of Lille in food microbiology and hygiene of collectivities. In 1994 he began his professional activity as a teacher at graduate and postgraduate level at the Estoril School of Tourism and Hospitality and at other institutions. Since then, he has held various leadership positions and management functions. A researcher at CITIS and currently integrated member of the Centre for Research, Development and Innovation in Tourism (CITUR), he has participated in funded scientific projects, is the author of several scientific papers, and has participated in events and scientific committees as a speaker and moderator at the national and international level.

ESHTE cooperates, mainly through its internship department, with hotels, restaurants, and tourism businesses to offer students practical training and internships, providing valuable industry experience. This allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life situations. We develop research partnerships with organizations to conduct applied research on tourism needs and trends, which also helps to update and strengthen its curricula. We work with professional associations such as APVT, APECATE, and AHRESP to provide students with opportunities to network with industry professionals and to keep up-to-date with the needs

Portuguese gastronomy is known for having a varied offer, highly recognized and with an excellent price/quality ratio. Portuguese hospitality is recognized for its warmth and attention, which creates a positive experience for tourists and helps build a strong reputation for excellence. Portugal is blessed with a very significant natural beauty, but above all very varied, considering its size. Beaches, mountains, plains, and parks, offering unique and attractive destinations for tourists. The Portuguese state has invested heavily in infrastructure over the last few decades, which ends up greatly benefiting the sector, insofar as it has helped to improve the quality and accessibility of tourist destinations. Portugal has a good educational system, particularly in the areas of hospitality and tourism, with an offer extended to practically the entire territory. This contributes to a good source of recruitment of well-trained professionals who can provide high-quality services. These factors, along with contributions

132 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW C M Y CM MY CY CMY K
“We develop research partnerships with organizations to conduct applied research on tourism needs and trends.”

from the private sector, have helped to establish Portugal’s reputation as a destination for high quality hospitality and tourist experiences.

What mechanisms are in place to strengthen the institution’s international reach?

ESHTE has partnerships with other higher education institutions and industry organizations around the world, which provides opportunities for student exchanges, research collaboration, and international networking. ESHTE intends to offer English-language programs and courses, which makes it accessible to international students and helps building its reputation as a global leader in hospitality and tourism education. With study abroad opportunities, we provide our students opportunities to study abroad and to gain international experience, which helps to broaden their perspectives and to develop their global network. Regarding marketing and international dissemination, we participate in various activities to promote its programs and to attract international students, teachers, and tourism partners. These mechanisms help ESHTE expand

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Hotel Management (day/evening study)

its international reach, build its reputation as a global leader in hospitality and tourism education, and provide its students with opportunities to gain a global perspective.

How does ESTHE tap into innovation and help prepare students for the future dynamics of the tourism industry?

ESHTE regularly updates its curricular content to keep up with industry developments and ensure that its students learn about the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the field. We integrate new technologies and techniques int curricula and teaching methods, which helps its students become familiar with the latest tools and resources they will use in their future careers. ESHTE works closely with partners to understand their needs and to identify areas where innovation is needed, which helps it prepare its students for the future dynamics of the industry. We have several initiatives, such as the participation in fairs, forums and shows dedicated to education, in the tourism sector. ESHTE also provides its students with a variety of experiential or work-based learning

opportunities, including internships, exchange programs, and hands-on projects, for example with companies and associations, which helps them gain practical experience and develop their skills in a real-world environment. We encourage students to be entrepreneurs and develop innovative solutions to industry challenges, which helps prepare them for the dynamic and fast-changing nature of the tourism industry. ESHTE has several initiatives, such as the Poliemprende project and a close collaboration with DNA Cascais. ESHTE engages in research and development activities to identify new opportunities and contribute to the advancement of the field, which helps it stay at the forefront of industry development and prepare its students for the future. These initiatives help ESHTE to explore innovation and prepare its students and trainers for the future dynamics of the tourism industry by providing them with cutting-edge education, practical experience and opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge. Teaching at ESHTE has a hallmark; we teach innovation and we innovate while we teach. ✖

Leisure Management and Tourism Entertainment (day/evening study)

Tourism Management, divided into:

•Management of Tourism Products (day/evening study)

•Management of Tourism Companies (day/evening study)

Tourism Information

Cookery and Food Production (day/evening study)

Management of Tourist Activities (soon online)

Marketing and Communication in Tourism (soon, online)


Food Design

Food Quality and Safety in Catering

Health and Wellness Hospitality Management

Hotel Management

Innovation in Culinary Arts

Management of Tourism Units in Rural Spaces

Tourism and Communication

Tourism: Events’ Strategic Management

Tourism: Innovation in Active and Experience Tourism

Tourism: Strategic Management of Tourism Destinations

Tourism Planning and Management (soon)

Entrepreneurship and Business Management in Tourism and Hospitality (soon)

Nautical Tourism: Management of Maritime-Tourist Companies (soon)

Literary Tourism (soon)

Cultural Tourism (soon)


Tourism (with the University of Lisbon)

133 Education


ISEG stands out for its long tradition, diverse community, and solid partnerships with the business community, offering programs with an international component and developing students to become good citizens.

What makes ISEG stand out as a place to learn economics and business?

ISEG wants to capture the interest of Portuguese, European, and Luso-phone country leaders keen to start their education in business and economics. We have a long tradition, which gives us an unmatched asset: our alumi network. Our network is the largest in Portugal because we are the oldest business school in the country. For ISEG, diversity is also an important differentiator. This is not a school of a single political, economic, or language orientation. Even in research and teaching methodologies, we do not fix on one approach. We are one of the most diverse schools in Lisbon. The main characteristic of ISEG is freedom—freedom to teach and freedom to learn.

What types of partnerships does ISEG have with the business community, and what is the importance of having a solid link with Portuguese companies?


João Duque holds a degree in organization and business management from ISEG – University of Lisbon and a PhD in business administration from the University of Manchester. He is a full professor and coordinator of the scientific area of finance at ISEG and is the coordinator of the master’s in finance and the post-graduation program in financial analysis. He also teaches the course units of finance in the MBA and financial markets in the bachelor of finance, both in ISEG, as well as courses in the post-graduation program in financial analysis at Porto Business School. Duque has published more than two dozen entries as an author or co-author of books, book chapters, and articles in books and journals of a scientific nature.

We created a foundation supported by large firms to promote scholarships and the publication of research papers written by our faculty peers. Companies want to distinguish our best students in order to remain involved with the school. In return, we developed executive courses specifically drawn-to-measure to serve their needs. We have an executive education area to fulfill specific principles and objectives. Apart from answering corporate requests, we develop projects that cater to their needs. We hold annual meetings with partner companies because they are the employers of our students. And we have a yearly career fair to bring together prospective employers and students in order to facilitate hiring. Regarding links between academia and the private sector, we promote networking between faculty and industry. Firms are members of the school board, our international council, and the advisory board for executive programs. This gives us the insight to design programs to fulfill their needs. For example, due to feedback from the business community, we were compelled to include Python coding in curricula. The practical applicability of teaching drives the design of programs.

Which programs support the university’s commitment to being international and welcoming opportunities abroad?

First, let’s talk about students and the community. The most recent data indi-

cates that 60% of applications come from non-resident students. The number is increasing substantially relative to the previous academic year. This gives us an idea of how international our student body is becoming. Meanwhile, we have classes where some components are offered abroad. This is critical to delivering courses externally and furthering our global footprint. At our master’s in finance program, students spend time in Frankfurt to experience life in one of the world’s largest financial markets. Another executive education program of ISEG was produced jointly with Columbia University in New York, wherein students spent a week in the US. And students also go abroad for their master’s in IT, visiting Silicon Valley for a week. These are programs that we design to have a component of international study. As the oldest school and a state-owned institution, we are responsible for keeping specific programs in Portuguese. Therefore, we will only deliver some of our education in English because we are accountable to the country and other Portuguese-speaking countries. To this extent, we have joint programs with other universities abroad, such as Angola and Mozambique. We have previously run ISEG programs in countries, but nowadays, we are more cooperators than deliverers as they are developing and growing their structures. Usually, we enrich their programs instead of delivering our own. It is a way to let them grow.

How is ISEG generating value for the Portuguese economy and Portuguese professionals? For Portuguese society, we work to develop students that go beyond being excellent economists or decision-makers for firms. ISEG wants them to be good citizens. This means that beyond achieving good grades in technical courses, these individuals develop open-mindedness as citizens, participating and suggesting solutions to various vital problems. It is easier to transform a good heart into a good economist than it is to transform a good economist into a good heart. ✖

134 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW
“Our network is the largest in Portugal because we are the oldest business school in the country.”

educational POLE

One of the oldest universities in Europe and a reference in the Portuguese-speaking world, UC prioritizes promoting and expanding the Portuguese language as well as sustainability and social responsibility.

Can you give us an overview of the university’s academic focus and identity?

With more than 25,000 students, the University of Coimbra—founded in 1290—is one of the Portuguese universities that most foreigners attract under Erasmus+ Program and is a reference in the Portuguese-speaking world. In these countries, UC is considered the alma mater of Portuguese language, a role which contributed to being listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. Our intense cooperation with these countries gives access to networks that can provide significant opportunities for European research and education engagement. Besides having about 20% of foreign students every year, UC is also an important tourism destination, with 0.5 million tourists every year, contributing to expertise in sharing of academic heritage buildings to a wider audience and in the preservation and sustainability of these heavily used spaces.

What is the link of the university with the history of Portugal and Coimbra?

UC is one of the oldest universities in Europe and the only university in Portugal until 1911. The university reformation dating back to King John III and the consequent and definite transference to Coimbra promoted the development of an educational pole able to host the significant flux of students and to promote the continuous award of academic diplomas. The university prioritizes the consolidation, dissemination, and expansion of the Portuguese language, and UC has become, over the centuries, an important cultural pole. The educated linguistic norm of this city had a strong influence over its students, who would later influence the people from other

geographical areas. The university is also important for it was the place where many of the important names of the national literature studied. Responsible for the education of the main Portuguese managing elite, UC was one of the main and most active institutions to take part in the ideological formation of the Portuguese state throughout the centuries.

What campaigns and university practices form the backbone of the university’s sustainability strategy?

UC adopts an approach of sustainable management of its activities and resources and of social responsibility in its actions. Sustainability and social responsibility represent cross-cutting attitudes, behaviors, and actions in UC that are always present in its activity. Nevertheless, two dimensions are made autonomous, which, due to their relevance and their emergence in the current context, determine a firm commitment to the sustainable development and human rights: environment and climate action, namely developing an environmental sustainability strategy that enables UC to be the first Portuguese university to achieve carbon neutrality and make academic community aware of the impact of behavior change on the fight against climate change; and citizenship, equality, and inclusiveness, namely promoting active, enlightened, socially responsible, and inclusive citizenship by preserving the right to have rights, respecting dignity, equality, and the right to difference, so that everyone can reach their potential, in a collective formulation of common goals and challenges.

Which facts and figures demonstrate the university’s international reach?

In terms of internationalization the data speaks for itself. In 2022, we had a total of 893 outgoing mobilities and 1,684 incoming mobilities. To this data, we must add the students under the International Student Statute, in a total of 862 students, many of whom are Brazilian. UC is considered the alma Mater of Portuguese-speaking universities and in this awareness, we are proud to chair the board of AULP in this three-year term. We highlight, as an example, the activity of Sino-Lusophone Academy of the University of Coimbra (ASL-UC), a special project of the rectory dedicated to strengthening its ties with the Portuguese-speaking world and with China institutions. Most notably, the Sino-Lusophone Academy has been putting great emphasis in the development of the links with the Portuguese-speaking countries, not only through the co-organization of conferences, but also having organized several custom-made courses at the request of public institutions. ✖


João Calvão da Silva is President of the Association of Portuguese-Speaking Universities and Assistant Professor at FDUC. He holds a PhD in European Union law (with distinction and praise), a master’s in European Union law, and a degree in law, all of them from FDUC. He is the recipient of several school awards, including the Doutor Manuel de Andrade Award. Da Silva is a lecturer in several courses and postgraduate courses organized by institutes of the faculty of law at the University of Coimbra and in other universities. Previously, he held positions such as assistant to the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, assistant to the Deputy Minister and Regional Development, and legal advisor to the Portuguese Notary Association, among other positions.

135 Education INTERVIEW

DEMOCRATIZING access to education

AULP’s mission is to promote cooperation and exchange of best practices between universities in the Portuguese-speaking community, with top priorities being the internationalization of higher education and student mobility through the AULP Mobility Program.

What is AULP’s mission?

AULP is an international non-governmental organization for development, founded on November 26, 1986, that promotes cooperation and the exchange of best practices between universities in the Portuguese-speaking community. With more than 130 members from eight Portuguese-speaking countries—Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé, and Príncipe— Portugal, and Macao, our mission is to ease communication between our associated members for the collective development of higher education of the Portuguese-speaking community. We propose continuous reflection through the daily dissemination of scientific articles and the organization of conferences and events.

What are the top priorities of members?

One of the important priorities of the AULP is the internationalization of the community of higher education of Portuguese speakers in the higher education global world. In addition to consolidated international cooperation, members benefit from the Association’s multicontinental dimension. Its presidency rotates every three years, it changes between continents, so priorities can be strategically shifted in line with different aspects of higher education frameworks. Currently, the presidency of the administration board lies with the University of Coimbra in Portugal, after previously being held by Angola, Macau, and Mozambique, respectively. The internationalization effort of AULP is also materialized in the participation on the bord direction of the International Association of Universities (IAU) and the vice presidency of the Union of the Capitals of Portuguese Speaking Countries (UCCLA). Among the listed activities carried out by AULP, we highlight the AULP Mobility Program as a student mobility program inspired by the

Erasmus+ Program. The AULP Mobility Program is the first academic mobility program that exclusively covers the exchange of students in any field of higher education between institutions from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé, and Príncipe, and Macao.

What has been your experience with the mobility program and what must happen to increase the volume of students in the program? With the AULP Mobility Program, we have managed to mobilize more than 250 students despite the various constraints caused by the pandemic. AULP receives more than 2,000 applications annually from students who want to participate in the program. Our experience tells us that there are currently three major barriers to student mobility: economic constraints; problems with acquiring visas (which often delay their issuance, which prevent students from travelling on time); and cultural issues. To mitigate these barriers, AULP is looking for partners who finance scholarships. In parallel, AULP has been carrying out several online training courses and has started to provide technical assistance to the various PALOP-TL higher education institutions to promote programs and scholarships.

What mechanisms are in place to heighten the level of collaboration between members and the private sector?

AULP seeks to develop partnerships with organizations or companies that want to finance scholarships for students under our AULP Mobility Program. AULP currently has partnerships with the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) with travel grants as well as PROCULTURA grants resulting from its partnership with Camões I.P. and the Community of Portuguese-Language Countries (CPLP) within

the scope of the project PROCULTURA. This aims to promote employment in income-generating activities in the cultural Sector in PALOP-TL (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste), financed by the EU and co-financed and managed by Camões, IP. Furthermore, AULP obtained the status of Portuguese Erasmus+ Office, having obtained funding for the attribution of scholarships to students and teachers from PALOP-TL and from Portugal. AULP is currently drafting new applications to finance mobility in the areas of health (ProSaúde+) and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (ProCTEM+). Partnerships between the AULP and the private sector, are extremely important for higher education institutions in Portuguese-speaking countries in general to train their students and technical staff that enable the development of these countries and the reduction of inequalities between countries according to the UN’s SDGs. ✖


Cristina Montalvão Sarmento has served the global higher education community as Secretary-General of AULP since 2006, currently representing the organization in workings groups and expert committees, with a strong belief in the importance of international cooperation and intercultural understanding. Her background education includes a PhD in political science, political theory, a post-graduation in philosophy, a post-graduation in political science; II Cycle in geostrategy and international relations from Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales in France, a bachelor’s degree in law from the Portuguese Catholic University, and a second bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Lisbon. Sarmento is currently an associate Professor with a habilitation in global studies at Lisbon University.

136 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW


Daniel Traça was the Dean and is currently Professor of Economics at Nova School of Business and Economics (Nova SBE) in Lisbon. He is also Visiting Professor at INSEAD in France and Singapore. Previously, he was assistant professor at INSEAD and held the Marie et Alain Philippson Chair in managing for sustainable human development at the Solvay Business School, where he was vice president & director of the MBA Program. Traça was visiting professor at the KDI School of Management and Policy in Seoul and at the Graduate Institute of International Economics in Geneva. He graduated from Nova SBE and obtained his PhD from Columbia University in New York. He has worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the European Commission and published his scientific research in several leading international academic journals.

dents in 2018 and we are expecting to double this number by 2026.

What makes the university an asset for the Portuguese business community?


Rodrigo Marques Guimarães Junior is the Founding Associate of the Rodrigo Guimarães Institute, president of the association, and chairman of the board of directors. He works at Explorer Investments as a prospective business development director. He has been a member of the board of directors of Explorer Investments since 2021 and also sits on the boards of several private equity fund holdings. He previously completed an internship in Private Banking at Credit Suisse Solution Partners and worked on the initial stages of technology-based companies such as Formula E (UK) and Cabify (Spain). He holds a degree in business and administration from IE University Spain.

What makes Nova SBE stand out as a home for internationally-minded students in Portugal?

Portugal has made great strides in its higher education sector. In 2021, 47% of people held a higher education degree, compared to 13% in 2000. Nova SBE decided early on it wanted to become not just a hub of Portuguese talent but also European talent. We were fortunate to be ahead of the time 14 years ago. As the Bologna Process was kicking in, we realized it was a great opportunity to create an educational institution that went beyond local and regional standards. Nova SBE prides itself on its open and international culture and has taken extra steps to offer a unique learning experience. The school’s location near the ocean complements its emphasis on lifestyle, which is a significant asset that Portugal has to offer. Over the years, Nova SBE has seen a significant increase in the number of both national and international students—we had over 3,300 stu-

We create value together with the private sector, finding ways to help them transform, attract talent, and ensure our students are trained and prepared to serve their needs. In terms of innovation, many companies have benefited from our research. This cross-fertilization process over the years has transformed the university. Nova SBE is an ecosystem with students, staff, faculty, companies, NGOs, and even Portuguese society. All these various players come together and share their hopes and goals for the future and the skills that will be required. We have been extremely active in issues such as internationalization and project business learning, for example. The major element here is pure innovation. We have over 170 courses available to students, which provide them with ample choices and equip them with all the skills—both as people and as professionals—needed for the future. The school’s continued emphasis on innovation ensures we will continue to remain at the forefront of higher education in Portugal. ✖

What is the institute’s mission?

Our family established this non-profit association with the aim of contributing to higher quality education by supporting young people with less financial capacity and helping them create their own luck. We help young people with less financial means change their lives through education. Our goal is to create an impact on this new generation and help develop talent in Portugal’s youth.

What is the importance of partnerships in the institute’s mission?

Creating the right partnerships is our best chance of getting the results we want and scaling them up. We support young people in institutions where they live or attend and created partnerships in all our programs. In the Pré Universitario program, we not only work with young people on the educational component, but also the social and family component. We also partner with private and

cooperative teaching institutions to ensure that students with lower financial capacities have access to quality education. In the Universitário program, we have established protocols with universities and social suporting Institutions to create finance, economics, and management scholarships for undergraduate and master’s degrees. We are also creating Erasmus scholarships. In our Mais Horizontes program, we partner with organizations that also look ahead and work towards getting a better-quality education for our youth. Some of our partners include Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão, Fundação Santa Rafaela Maria, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, and Instituto Universitário de Lisboa.

What makes scholarships a transformative tool that can impact the lives of young adults?

Awarding scholarships have the ability to transform students’ lives and they are vital for those who otherwise would be unable to pursue and achieve their educational and professional goals. The burden of education costs is more than just tuition; for many, there are also accommodation, food, books, and various other costs that they need assistance with.

137 Education INTERVIEW


Since the late 1980s, Portugal's education system has become increasingly internationalized.

PORTUGAL WAS ONE OF THE FIRST COUNTRIES whose borders extended across all continents. Through maritime trade, the Portuguese spread European culture and knowledge to the coasts of Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. In their colonies, they created several universities such as the Agostinho Neto University in Angola and the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, a series of educational institutions that began a process of Portuguese internationalization that continues to this day. One entity that has played a key role in recent years in maintaining these international links is the Association of Portuguese Language Universities (ALUP), founded in 1986.

“AULP is an international non-governmental organization for development that promotes cooperation and the exchange of best practices between universities in the Portuguese-speaking community” said Cristina Montalvão Sarmento, general secretary of AULP during an interview with TBY. With more than 130 members in eight Portuguese-speaking countries in addition to Macau, AULP aims to facilitate international communication and cooperation between these educational organizations. Among other activities, AULP members have an important student and faculty exchange network that promotes mobility, but the organization also focuses on the dissemination of scientific articles and the organization of conferences and events that promote higher education.

“One of the important priorities of the AULP is the internationalization of the community of higher education of Portuguese speakers in the higher education global world,” said Montalvão Sarmento. One of AULP’s most relevant activities is its Mobility Program, inspired by the Erasmus+ program, which exclusively provides for the exchange of students in any field of higher education between

institutions in Portuguese-speaking countries and Macau. At present, this program receives 2,000 student applications annually and mobilizes about 250 students each year, figures that have been affected to some extent by the pandemic restrictions.

Another problem is the high cost of studying abroad for many of the students from AULP member countries, which is the reason why the association continually seeks partners such as the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), Instituto Camões, or the Community of Portuguese Language Countries to help fund scholarships for student mobility.

Due to its excellent educational quality, students from universities in AULP member countries see Portugal as the preferred place to move to in order to advance their careers. The other eight member countries of the association are Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé, and Príncipe, in addition to the city of Macau. AULP acts as a kind of bridge from Africa, Latin America, and Asia to access university education in an EU country.

Portugal stands out as one of the countries with the best education system in the world. In reading proficiency, mathematics, and science, Portuguese students rank slightly above the OECD average, according to data from the PISA 2018 report that measures the performance of students in several countries around the world. Though the report focuses on 15-year-old students, it provides a good perspective on the basis of each country’s education system. In this case, the PISA report gives Portugal marks for a system that prepares students well to access tertiary education, where most citizens of other Portuguese-speaking countries who want to advance their academic training are focused.

138 Portugal 2023 FOCUS Internationalized education

“With the implementation of the various international mobilities, it is expected to guarantee the recognition of students’ credits in mobility and the issuance of certificates of studies or supplements to diplomas to recognize the period of international mobility in a way to bring higher education systems closer,” said Montalvão Sarmento. In this sense, Portugal accumulates several efforts to participate in programs that promote this mobility and the delivery of certifications with the objective of cohesion of the educational systems.

The county joined the Erasmus program in 1987. In 2019, before many governments decreed in 2020 restrictions on mobility due to the spread of COVID-19, 24,454 students participated in 419 Portuguese projects related to Erasmus+, totaling in that year a large amount of EUR49 million. The EU countries that receive the most Eramus+ higher education students are Spain, Poland, and Italy, while the main sending institutions are Universidade do Porto, Universidade de Lisboa, and Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

In addition to the Erasmus mobility program, in the process of internationalization of Portuguese universities is the implementation of the Bologna Process, which aims to bring greater coherence to higher education systems across Europe. The purpose of this process has been to foster cooperation between European universities and to promote student and faculty mobility, two objectives that are also attractive to citizens of other Portuguese-speaking

countries, who see in their arrival in the country an opportunity to collaborate with other European educational institutions.

One institution that has played a fundamental role in international academic mobility has been Camões - Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, IP. This entity has centers in several countries around the world to promote the Portuguese language and seek educational cooperation with other countries in the world. Its operation is similar to that of the Instituto Cervantes in Spain, the British Council in the UK, the Goethe-Institut in Germany, or the Alliance Française in France. Among other services, Camões offers scholarships within its development cooperation programs for students to learn Portuguese with the intention of eventually studying in Portugal.

Thus, this entity is one of the most important tools available to the government not only to promote the country’s culture, but also to encourage the mobility of students and teachers interested in expanding their academic life and who may consider Portugal as an option. “It has also played a crucial role in initiating and supporting global and development education in Portugal, providing the funding program for non-governmental development organizations, and supporting the development of a national strategy on development education,” according to the country report prepared by Global Education Network Europe, a network of European ministries and agencies that support the field of global education. ✖

139 Education
Country 20XX
The Algarve is one of Portugal’s most popular tourist destinations
NUMBER OF ARRIVALS IN TOURIST ACCOMMODATION (MLN) SOURCE: STATISTA, TBY RESEARCH 2017 24.6 2021 15.1 2022 26.5 2018 25.9 2019 27.9 2020 11 2022 TOURISM SNAPSHOT SOURCE: BANCO DE PORTUGAL Total revenue EUR21.1 B (15% increase on 2019) Revenue from tourist accomodation EUR5 B (16.5% increase on 2019) Overnight stays 69.5 M Number of foreign tourists 15 M Top locations by overnight stays Algarve (19.1 M), Lisbon (17.1 M) NET OCCUPANCY RATE IN HOTELS AND SIMILAR ACCOMMODATIONS (%) SOURCE: TRADING ECONOMICS 80 70 60 50 40 30 ’22 ’22 ’22 ’22 ’22 ’22 ’22 ’22 ’22 APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Image: Kite_rin


The hospitality industry depends on highly trained professionals. Jobs in hospitality tend to be demanding in terms of time commitment, and employees must meet arduous expectations. Within this equation, and with an already bottlenecked workforce, Portugal has become a worldwide reference for superior customer service. Nothing short of amazing, this is thanks to a business ecosystem that collaborates closely with academia to define needs and conduct training.

Portuguese education institutions dedicated to hospitality have long trajectories and international repute. Positive feedback loops form between a burgeoning hospitality industry leveraged by global investment and a solid academic ecosystem willing to collaborate and serve. Both parts are growing together, and they benefit Portuguese nationals with a career linked to hospitality. Jobs in the area are plentiful, and graduates in hospitality studies are among the most sought-after by employers. The industry provides opportunities for financial advancement and job posts across the country. The value added of the sector is also among the highest as it is service based.

Anchoring economic development to hospitality has been a successful national strategy for many a nation, providing they are able to protect their

cultural heritage and avoid commodity dependence. Tourism is a top driver of economic activity for Portugal, and visiting travelers form ripples of economic activity on which many livelihoods depend. Tourism-based businesses are a source of foreign currency.

But Portugal’s reputation as a top-choice European tourism destination must be sustained by delivering excellent service. This has been the case and will continue to be because Portugal’s commitment to openness is steadfast. Portugal has unique conditions that make the country powerful as a destination for tourism, such as its maritime-based culture, geographic location, and unmatched climate. The country’s experience with tourism is already extensive and keeps growing. Tourism contributed USD25.5 billion to Portuguese GDP last year, and there are over 74,000 companies in Portugal dedicated to travel or tourism.

The Iberian nation wants to attract high-ticket travelers interested in sustainability, nature, or premium experiences. This progression is in the channel of how the industry is developing. It will bring additional advantages to a sector that already contributes significantly to GDP and national development. ✖


ON THE path to recovery

Portugal is working on several initiatives, including investing in airport infrastructure, boosting internal connectivity, and promoting niche segments such as cultural and wine tourism to boost its tourism sector.

Which indicators best demonstrate the recovery of Portugal’s tourism industry?

Tourism is a reliable industry, and as a matter of fact, activity is back to the level of 2019 and the numbers from January to August 2022 confirm a strong recovery. Demand increased immensely during the summer season: The tourist accommodation sector registered 3.4 million guests and 9.9 million overnight stays in August 2022, corresponding to YoY increases of 33% and 31.9%, respectively. Tourism receipts registered EUR3,538.1 million in the same month, an increase of 71%. We also managed to attract EUR21 billion in revenue. If we compare this with EUR18.4 billion back in 2009, we proudly declare that—so far—2022 is the best year on record. What we are seeing is major growth in regions that are not traditional tourism destinations, like the Douro Valley, Alentejo, the Azores, and the central regions of Portugal.

Can you elaborate on the main targets of Tourism Strategy 2027 and the specific actions that will be implemented to achieve them?

portantly focus on the environmental and social aspects of tourism. By 2027, we intend for 90% of our enterprises to have efficiency measures in waste management, energy, and water. We have launched a program to accelerate the environmental transition of our enterprises by 2023. And we also have a larger plan in action called Reactivating Tourism with EUR6 billion for promotion and training, so that enterprises adjust their offer. The 2027 strategy remains our roadmap, but we have complemented it with the sustainability plan for 2023 and the Reactivate Tourism for 2027 initiatives. On the social side, we want to reach the lowest seasonality ratio ever (34%) and improve the qualifications of the sector workforce. Hotels and restaurants employed 266,600 people in 1Q2022, 45,200 more than in the same period of 2022, but 33,200 less than in the first three months of 2019. We want to continue improving on these numbers. We want 90% of the population in large urban areas to be satisfied with touristic activity.


Luís Araújo has been the President of the Portuguese National Tourism Authority since 2016. He has also held the position of President of ETC since 2020 and is President of NEST – Tourism Innovation Center in Portugal. He holds a degree in law and is a board member of Group Pestana responsible for the hotel operations of Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, and Cuba. He was also head of development for the same continent, and head of sustainability since the creation of the department in 2009. From 20012005, he worked for the Brazilian branch of the company. Araújo also served the Portuguese government as Head of the Cabinet of the Portuguese Secretary of State for Tourism between 2005 and 2007.

The strategy was defined in 2017 and continues to 2027. It has served as an excellent strategy, even during the pandemic, revealing a roadmap for growth leading up to 2027. Tourism Strategy 2027 has established priorities based on five strategic pillars and has sustainability built into it. We want to add value to the territory, using historical-cultural assets and preserving their authenticity; we will focus both on urban regeneration and economic protection of natural and rural heritage, affirming the importance of tourism with regard to the economy of the sea and the structuring of tourism offerings. Moreover, the strategy will further attract FDI, enabling the circular economy, entrepreneurship, and innovation within the sector. We want to promote Portugal as a leading smart destination; the strategy renders Portugal a destination for all. Toward realizing this, we are working to generate networks and boosting connectivity with additional flight routes throughout the year and increasing territorial mobility. We also im-

How is Portugal working to expand and upgrade its existing infrastructure, facilitating the travelers’ experience and ensuring convenient access to a diversity of destination?

Connectivity, especially air connectivity, is fundamental as approximately 90% of visitors arrive by plane. The constant investments in our airports are, therefore, vital to sustaining this connectivity. We are also focused on boosting internal connectivity: the announcement of the highspeed line linking Lisbon and Porto is set to help tourists discover more of Portugal as a whole. This is great news as we want to ensure quicker, more sustainable forms of domestic transportation. Meanwhile, to showcase lesser-known destinations, we are focused not just on promoting them, but on specific niche segments; which is why we are focused on literary and cultural tourism on architecture, and wine tourism. We have much more to sell and more products to help promote the country. To this end, we are placing much emphasis and value on the concept of authenticity. ✖

142 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW

promoting TOURISM

Vila Galé promotes local gastronomy and culture while restoring unused historic properties and focusing on innovation.

To what do you attribute Portugal’s role as tourism powerhouse, and how has Vila Galé accompanied and contributed to this status? For some time now, Portugal has been one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Europe, winning a number of international awards and gaining tremendous recognition from travelers. I think this is due to various factors, such as the warmth and friendliness of the people, the quality of the gastronomy, the cultural diversity, the immense historical heritage that can be discovered, the beaches, the sun and sea and the nautical activities, the golf courses, and nature tourism as well as safety, the climate, the quality of the hotels, and good accessibility. At Vila Galé, we try to ensure that our offer enhances all these aspects. So, we try to have hotels in great and diverse locations in historical areas, many of which are classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, such as Porto, Évora, Coimbra, or Elvas. We also strongly promote gastronomy, as we also produce wines and olive oils: Santa Vitória, from the Alentejo, and Val Moreira, from the Douro. In the hotels’ restaurants, we try to favor local products and the most traditional dishes. And we disseminate various aspects of culture, as we focus heavily on themed hotels. For instance, we have a hotel dedicated to poetry, Vila Galé Collection Palácio dos Arcos, where all the rooms and common areas have poems by Portuguese-speaking writers. Vila Galé Collection Braga reveals the city’s history. Vila Galé Collection Elvas highlights the Portuguese fortifications

scattered around the world and Vila Galé Serra da Estrela is dedicated to mountain myths and legends. We are keen to integrate our hotels with local communities and heritage. This also involves restoring historic properties that were unused and falling into disrepair.

What is the importance of innovation for Vila Galé, and why has the strategy of combining agrotourism, gastronomy and hospitality has been so successful?

Innovation is one of Vila Galé’s strategic pillars and a constant investment in all business aspects. Regarding the management of internal processes, we have been developing tools to accelerate digitalization and dematerialize procedures using the internet and mobile devices, for example, in the areas of housekeeping, room cleaning, or building maintenance. We have also implemented the paper-free policy whereby we seek to reduce to a maximum the use of paper both among teams and in contact with customers and suppliers. With this in mind, we created the My Vila Galé platform, completely online, where we provide clients with access to various services such as checking in, viewing restaurant and bar menus, booking reservations, and checking the spa menus. By focusing on innovation and technology, we achieve efficiency and productivity gains. In addition to procedures, we naturally also seek to be innovative in the products and services we offer our clients. And that involves combining gastronomy, agrotourism, and hospitality.

What impact can be achieved with projects that anchor themselves to historical sites - such as Paço do Curutêlo, São Miguel and Santa Iria Convent?

In Viana do Castelo, near Ponte de Lima, we will renovate Paço do Curutêlo and promote a wine tourism project connected to Vinho Verde wine production. In addition to a hotel with over 80 rooms, it will feature swimming pools, an events hall, restaurants, spa, library, wine cellar, and a connection to the local history in the form of a museum center. Both this project and the ones in the Azores and Tomar are the result of the recovery of historic buildings. Following this strategy brings advantages at all levels. It allows us to have totally unique and non-copyable units, we manage to keep alive the history and traditions that give authenticity to each destination, we contribute to preserving the intangible and built heritage; however, we also offer different experiences to our clients, who can stay in special places. And we give new uses to venues that were unused, thereby generating more employment. ✖

143 Tourism INTERVIEW
BIO Gonçalo Rebelo de Almeida is the CEO of Vila Galé Hotels. He holds a degree in law from the faculty of law at Universidade Lusíada.

Can you tell us about the recent investments the Oitavos Hotel has made in solar energy and photovoltaic panels? How do these investments align with the hotel’s sustainability goals?

ALL IN one place

beach cleaning to “build a bike” for charity, “wind factory,” and more.


Miguel Mendia Montez Champalimaud surfed competitively from age 12 through 22 and accomplished several national titles while in the junior divisions. He started working at his family’s SPGPS company before moving on to being restaurant manager at Verbasco/ Oitavos Dunes Golf Course. In 2008, he did a three-month internship at Columbia Hospitality in the US. He later joined the senior management team for the launch of The Oitavos hotel and was appointed F&B director of the hotel before becoming General Manager in 2011. He is currently a member of the board of SGPS Company and since 2017 has been Manager of Montez Champalimaud, his family’s wine company.

Respect for nature has always been a pillar since the first generation in the family business. For this reason, The Oitavos was born under this commitment. Since 2020, The Oitavos has been installing photovoltaic panels and has now completed the installation of 1,500 panels, responsible for generating 30% of the annual energy consumed by the hotel. All photovoltaic panels represent an investment of around EUR500,000. In 2022, the hotel invested an additional EUR100,000 in infrastructure dedicated to electric mobility, making it currently the only hotel in Portugal to be able to provide up to 374kW (600A) simultaneously, using energy provided by the national electricity grid. This infrastructure has the capacity to charge up to 30 electric vehicles simultaneously.

What inspired the hotel to implement this EV infrastructure?

From a B2B perspective, the hotel is a preferential partner for automotive brands. These brands are investing in EVs. Hence, the investment in infrastructure that can accommodate new EVs being launched in the market was mandatory to maintain and better partnerships. Consequently, the B2C segment will also benefit from the new infrastructure.

Can you tell us about some of the sustainable activities available for corporate clients looking to incorporate environmentally friendly experiences into their incentive travel programs?

The hotel provides a wide range of activities that involve direct contact with nature, such as horse riding, bike tours, walking tours, surf lessons, SUP yoga, and more. But we also provide experiences with a specific sustainable focus from planting trees and

How does the Oitavos Hotel tailor its activities and experiences to cater to the growing trend of business and leisure, or “bleisure” travel?

The location of the hotel is very important to take advantage of the “bleisure” travel trend: we are 30 minutes away from Lisbon city center and are secluded in Sintra Cascais Natural Park, close to the sea and the mountains. Showcasing the venue and its activities and attractions to potential clients in fairs, trade shows, and websites is also key to adapt our offer to identified demand trends. The Oitavos has an experienced guest relations department that is focused on providing our guests the best portfolio of activities. Most of these activities are provided through key local partners.

What is the significance of having a top golf course with Platinum Club of the World status since 2015, and how it has impacted the Oitavos Hotel’s reputation?

Having your golf course/club as part of the Platinum Club of the World is a responsibility but also a driver to excel in the daily operations of both the golf course and the hotel. Going through the seven selection criteria of Platinum Club of the World makes you understand the importance of working as a team toward a common goal: successful operation.

In what ways does the golf course contribute to the overall business of the Oitavos Hotel, especially in terms of attracting guests and increasing revenue?

Golfers represent approximately 30% of the hotel revenues. It is an important revenue stream as it is an important amenity that can sometimes be decisive in securing a specific deal: B2B or B2C. But all the three segments—leisure, M&I, and golf—are extremely important to us and are complimentary because they have different dynamics, seasonalities, and nationalities. ✖

144 Portugal 2023 INTERVIEW
The Oitavos has a diverse offering and a sustainable ethos that makes it popular with travelers of all kinds.

exceptional SERVICE

Corinthia Lisbon provides exceptional experiences to business travelers through attention to detail, personal touch, and efficient technology, while establishing itself as a place for executive-level networking events.

Corinthia Hotels is a growing family of uplifting, luxury destinations. Founded in Malta in 1962 by the Pisani family, the company has grown over the years into a multinational investor, developer and operator of hotels and real estate. There are now nine elegant properties worldwide, with several more landmark hotels opening soon. From city center hotels to coastal resorts, each one is connected by a strong Corinthia philosophy. Inspired by its Mediterranean, family-run heritage, the brand is dedicated to providing uplifting moments, unforgettable experiences, and exquisite service. Corinthia Hotels portfolio includes award-winning hotels in cities such as London, Budapest, Lisbon, and the island of Malta. Current developments underway in various stages of design and construction include landmark, trophy hotels in Rome, New York, Brussels, Bucharest, Doha, and a new resort in Malta. Brimming with Portuguese spirit, Corinthia Lisbon is the perfect reflection of the vibrant city in which it is based. The soul of the hotel is found in its warmth of service, matched by the elegance of 518 rooms and suites. An appetite for discovery runs through everything from panoramic views of the nearby Águas Livres Aqueduct and Monsanto Natural Park, through to the hotel’s own culinary delight, Erva restaurant with an open-minded, authentic, and honest cuisine approach. The sublime spa and gym offer an immersive interlude and refreshing contrast to dynamic Lisbon life.

What does the hotel focus on to deliver an exceptional experience to business travelers?

We endeavor to uplift the lives of our guests, visiting us with business motivation business or simply leisure travel, through meticulous attention to detail and flawless execution of each request. Our personal touch ensures that we truly understand the needs and concerns of each guest and provide experiences that consistently meet and exceed expectations. Our guests enjoy a seamless experience in the hands of our professional and caring team, who are on hand at all times. We understand the importance of precise efficiency and sharp technology, as we provide the perfect, undisturbed meeting space. The recently refurbished rooms offer intelligent design, and technology plays a key part, with thoughtful touches such as US and European plug sockets and USB ports conveniently located next to the bed and incorporated into tables in suites. For our guests who want to truly connect to the city’s energy, we offer a completely upgraded hotel experience.

What are the fundamentals of your leadership as General Manager?

I focus on instilling in our team members extraordinary energy and dedication in an environment where creativity and innovation are encouraged. I constantly set ambitious goals and high-performance standards that I motivate people to deliver. Developing high-performance managers and building a strong organization are two of my critical jobs as a general manager. At Corinthia Lisbon we have a hands-on approach, dedication, and passion for hospitality that I supervise closely to spot challenges and opportunities at an early stage to move the organization forward. This is a perfect combination to drive the team aiming

to place the Corinthia Lisbon as the best luxury five-star hotel in Lisbon in terms of quality, customer care, and business achievements.

How has Corinthia established itself as a place of reference for executive-level networking events?

We pride ourselves on being a hotel where great things happen, a creative hub for landmark conferences and events. We are aware that organizing an event is an investment and we understand what it takes to stage-manage the perfect occasion. Our smooth, seamless production is the result of practiced efficiency, and we provide a dedicated and accomplished event manager who is on-hand to assist at every step and to share insider tips on how to build up and deliver the perfect event. A milestone birthday, a phenomenal party, a landmark conference—with our diversity of elegant event spaces, dedicated team, and constant determination for nothing less than excellence. ✖

César Silva was appointed General Manager of Corinthia Lisbon in October 2022. He was previously its hotel manager since 2021 and director of rooms since 2019. Silva has considerable experience in hospitality, having undertaken leadership roles over the last 14 years in some of the best hotels in Lisbon, including hotel manager in a Portuguese chain of hotels and resorts from Visabeira group in Mozambique and general manager at Terceira Mar Hotel from Bensaúde group in the Azores.

145 Tourism INTERVIEW
Can you give us an overview of the Corinthia brand and an introduction to the hotel in Lisbon? BIO
Image: TTstudio


Portugal’s Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies (ESHTE) has come up with a curriculum and teaching method that will supply the country’s tourism industry with skilled workers in the coming years.

SOME 30 MILLION PEOPLE each year arrive in Portugal as tourists, which is three times the country’s population. It is difficult to pinpoint the country’s attractions as they are so many: Portugal’s wealth of cultural heritage, its lively and diverse climate, and the country’s tasty cuisine are certainly among the contributing factors. What makes the country even more interesting for a traveler is the competitive price to quality ratio, as Portugal is among the less expensive countries in the eurozone.

From Costa Verde in the north to Costa de Prata in the center and the Caparica Coast near Lisbon, the hospitality industry is active all-year round, thanks to the country’s Mediterranean climate. This non-seasonal work pattern creates hundreds of thousands of permanent jobs for the locals. As with the rest of the service sector, tourism heavily relies on human resources, and it is estimated that there are some 300,000 people directly employed across the tourism industry.

Although some of these employees work relatively unskilled jobs, a notable percentage of them handle tasks that demand a great deal of training and preparation. Hotel managers, master chefs, and the marketers who make the Portuguese tourism sector tick should come from somewhere. There is one institute in particular that is fully dedicated to train the kind of specialized workforce that the tourism sector requires in Portugal. ESHTE is creating a growing talent pool of individuals who are well-trained in the more delicate aspects of hospitality and have something to add to the sector.

The kind of training that ESHTE offers officially counts as higher education, because ESHTE is integrated in the Portuguese polytechnics system. Hospitality and tourism are inexact sciences, meaning that there is not a set of standardized textbooks that can prepare one to function well in the sector. As for the practical part of the curriculum, job placements are available to give the trainees a high degree of hands-on experience.

“ESHTE cooperates, mainly through its internship department, with hotels, restaurants and tourism businesses to offer students practical training and internships, providing valuable industry experience,” says the institute’s president, Carlos Santiago Neto Brandão. “This allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life situations. We develop research partnerships with organizations to conduct applied research on tourism needs and trends, which also helps to update and strengthen its curricula,” Neto

Brandão told TBY.

Among others, ESHTE has partnership agreements with the Portuguese Association of Travel Agencies and Tourism (APVT), the Portuguese Association of Tourist Animation and Event Companies (APECATE), and the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Portugal (AHRESP). These associations have a wide-enough network to give an excellent choice of internship opportunities to ESHTE’s students.

Although ESHTE gives students a highly sought-after skillset, its graduates are not conditioned to merely look for vacancies and job opportunities. Instead, they are encouraged to have an entrepreneurial mindset. When one is equipped with the right industry knowledge, management skills, and has spent several internships in different segments of the industry, then what is to stop them from launching their own enterprise, especially in a sector such as tourism which is usually conducive to startups? While ESHTE has been supplying the Portuguese tourism industry with excellent staff, it has among its alumnus a fair number of ambitious entrepreneurs who have pushed the frontiers of the sector forward.

Collaborations with DNA Cascais are underway to accelerate the pace of innovation in the sector. DNA Cascais runs some of the best youth entrepreneurship programs in the country, aiming to train the businesspeople of Portugal in every imaginable industry. Moreover, ESHTE has created its in-house entrepreneurship program, Poliemprende. “We teach to innovate and we innovate while we teach,” goes one of the mantras used by ESHTE.

Linguistic barriers have largely disappeared across the sector over the last two decades, as the number of those who speak English as a foreign language has increased. However, better linguistic skills are still of crucial importance for those preparing for a career in the sector. ESHTE wants its graduates to have a high degree of fluency in English and preferably in even more foreign languages. English-language courses will soon be on offer for both local and international students. By bringing over a diverse mix of students from across the world, the English-language programs will also immerse students in a multicultural environment, where their intercultural communication skills will evolve. Study abroad opportunities and student exchange opportunities, meanwhile, will help the students to broaden their horizons before embarking on their careers in Portugal’s tourism sector. ✖

148 Portugal 2023 FOCUS Developing skilled tourism workers
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