Tuesday, September 15, 2015

With sale of mill to Bunge, Pih leaves the field and prepares new onslaught

The Chairman of the Pacific Group, Lawrence Pih, says that has caused sadness to sell the mill which bears the name of the group, one of the largest in South America, to the Bunge. Due to the confidentiality agreement signed in the transaction, the entrepreneur cannot comment on the reasons for selling the unit founded by her father, a refugee from the capitalist Chinese regime in late 1950 he saw in Brazil good opportunities to start. But he makes clear that his melancholy after signing the papers with the American multinational, on August 28, was not material but emotional background. And signals that its recovery is in progress, as it prepares for new investments.
PIH begins to define what he does from now, at the height of his 72 years-"I'm only doing 73 in December", reinforces, in reference to an article published recently by this newspaper in which these months left for her birthday were not taken into account. His plan is to invest in an area where the group who chairs still does not act. Three are on target: education, health and infrastructure, and the third has already orbited their plans: public concessions contest for port operations.
Any of these paths will require a significant leap in terms of capital allocation, says the Manager. Therefore, in addition to resources from the sale of Pacific Mill for Bunge, whose value was not revealed, Pih plans to demobilize about 40% of its stock of buildings-which totals 2 million square meters in land-in order to reinforce the batteries. The plan also includes the search for investors overseas to fatten the amount needed, which, he said, is in the "billion reais.
About 50 years, Pih follows a routine that involves a workday of 70 hours a week-an average of daily 2:00 pm from Monday to Friday. "On weekends job. During the holidays, too. " When talking about this characteristic, he recalls that, in his first 26 years of dedication to the mill, didn't take a day of vacation. "I'm always working."
The milling operation-will only be effective after sale which the approval of regulatory agencies-still absorb most of that time. Investment in the capital market, made for him in the world, occur concurrently to searches that are performed to always optimize the operation of the mill, located in complex at the port of Santos (SP) made up of warehouses and one berth for ships.
Even in day to day wheat, Pih wants to wait about six months to drop the hammer on your new bet. Is the time that it considers reasonable to consolidate their ideas. And the future of the mill, which in a few months will be in charge of the Bunge, tends to be promising. The multinational has already signaled that the unit, which currently operates with a little more than a third of its capacity, will be its growth platform in the segment in the State of São Paulo in Brazil.
Despite all the economic turmoil in Brazil, your choice is to continue investing in the country. "It is in these times of crisis that appear the opportunities". And he hopes to take advantage of them, for no other reason is unwilling to be rid of part of the land to its real estate stock. "Land freeze also generate costs, as in cleaning, maintenance and collection of taxes", justifies.
In the agribusiness, Pih says no longer what the charm. "My mission on this project is closed. After you decide which new project will embark, the entrepreneur intends to prospect for investors abroad. "The assets in Brazil are cheap in dollar". He doesn't mind being a minority-what could happen, depending on the required contributions on course to choose. But makes sure to have active role in the new venture.
When granted this interview a few days before the Standard & Poor's downgrade Brazil's rating of investment grade to speculative grade, Lawrence Pih was already among those who believed that relegation wouldn't happen only next year.
According to him, a possible dent in public accounts of $ 30 billion in 2016 is not the only reason for the distrust with the Brazilian economy. PIH says that there is a lack of structural adjustments in the Government to reduce the public spending-such as a change in the calculation of the minimum wage, which directly affects the welfare, and social benefits and adjustments in makes to productive sectors, beyond the end to subsidies on loans by the BNDES.
It regrets that the State has agigantado in recent years. Came to represent 36% of GDP, a percentage that rises to 42% considered the State. "And the Government can only invest 2% to 3%? Something is wrong, "he says. PIH doesn't see how ambitious a fiscal effort of $ 64 billion to achieve a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2016 if considered that federal collections is of r $ 2.2 trillion. "The public spending has to be more efficient," he says.
Despite his critical view in relation to the Government and the workers ' Party (PT), in what was one of the first businessmen to declare support, in late 1980, Pih does not believe that the impeachment of President Dilma is a constructive solution to the Brazil. "We cannot, at this time of great political and economic difficulties, afford to create a constitutional impasse," he said.
But acknowledges that political stress will continue for a while. "We are in a country where the vocation of the opposition is to be situation. Most politicians have own design ".
The scandal exposed by the car wash Operation brought a great contribution to the ongoing economic downturn, he says. "Neither do I, I'm a pessimist, imagined a 3% drop in GDP this year. The economic environment has deteriorated very quickly. And the scandal have its role, to the extent that equips the press weekly with complaints against congressmen and big businessmen ".
But "there is no crisis that does not end," he says. When decided by the country in 50 years, after a pilgrimage for Europe, AMERICA and Africa, the father of Lawrence Pih, envisioned that Brazil would bring the best opportunities. "I search the whole world. The other emerging countries are also in a difficult situation, "analyzes Pih. He mentions both of Latin America as the Middle East and Eastern Europe. "The Japan skating, Europe does not move and the us will grow 2% this year. We live in a difficult situation, but Brazil still brings opportunities. "
Valor Economico
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