With a population of 208 million and an expanding middle class, Brazil is Latin America’s largest economy. Now emerging from recession, growth in the market is forecast to stand at 1.2pc for 2018 and 2.5pc in 2019 according to the OECD.
Brazil accounts for 21pc of all exports by Enterprise Ireland-backed companies to Latin America. In 2017, Irish SMEs grew their sales in the country to €42m.
To strengthen business relationships in this increasingly important market, Pat Breen, Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, led a five-day trade mission to Brazil in September, accompanied by eight companies supported by Enterprise Ireland.
Brazil’s major industries are petrochemical, automotive, and agri-food. Key sectors targeted by Irish companies include engineering, fintech, life sciences, telecom software, Internet of Things, and education services. Brazil is the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer and has a well-established car manufacturing sector, areas in which Irish companies are increasingly competitive internationally.
During September’s trade mission, Mr Breen opened the new Sao Paulo office of Crowley Carbon, an energy services business that helps to reduce energy consumption for global industrial and commercial customers. The Co Wicklow company employs five staff in Brazil and aims to employ a further 10 in 2019.
“Opening our new office in São Paulo marks the latest expansion of our international business,” said Crowley Carbon founder and chief executive Norman Crowley.
“Having a significant presence in Brazil will support the delivery of innovative solutions to existing and future customers. Our story is a great example of how an Irish organisation can transform into a global enterprise.
“The driving force behind our unprecedented growth has been the high calibre of our service and quality of our people, which has led us to triple in size each year for the last three years.”
Smurfit Kappa, a global Irish company, also has a significant presence in Brazil, having acquired two packaging businesses in 2015 with an investment of €186m. The company recently opened an Experience Centre in Sao Paulo.
Combilift, the Irish materials handling and storage manufacturer, has achieved €20m in export sales to Brazil since 2008. The company’s largest client in the market is retail and online giant Magazine Luiza, which owns Brazil’s largest fleet of Combilift trucks.
HealthBeacon, an Irish medical technology company, promoted its smart sharps system during the trade mission. Earlier this year HealthBeacon secured regulatory approval to bring their product to the Brazilian market.