The way Petrobras operates (or should I say how the Brazilian government allows them to!) in Brazil makes it difficult for other players to have decent opportunities in this market. Much like any state oil company anywhere in the world controlling most of the country's reserves would, of course.
I plan on enlisting the help of Mr. DRL to write more on this soon, but for now let's just say.... barriers to entry, much? Ummm, yeah. Now (today it was announced) Petrobras is starting up a rig holding company (read more here) - likely not good news for anyone in the oil and gas drilling services business in Brazil. Unless of course you're with Tio Petrobras.
- Warnings of potential FOOD SHORTAGES in Brazil, along with Kenya, Indonesia, Uganda, Nigeria, the Philippines. Click here for more on that...
- More dollars raised to fund Brazil oil - HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA (HRTP3.BR) raised more than $1.5 billion in a share offer last week, right on the heels of Petrobras' financing last month, which was the world's largest ever, at $25 billion. Brazil is still seen as being hot hot hot.
- In case you were up last night wondering about how social media is penetrating the Brazilian market... Orkut is still the most popular social networking site here, then Windows Live, then Facebook (though it is growing rapidly), then Twitter. More here.
Awhile back, before I headed to Canada in May, I was in one of my favorite Gallerias in Ipanema, located at V. de Piraja 351. I was shocked to see how many stores had closed on the upper levels. Brazil may be booming but this photo is telling:
This is prime Ipanema real estate, folks. Second floor of a popular Galleria. Looks pretty deserted!
There still are some treasures to be had there, though. Such as this new addition, a maternity store, Zazou:
This store had fantastic world cup gear and balloons galore. If you are looking for party supplies in Ipanema, look no further than Parabens pra voce:
Whenever we go to Angra, Paraty or most recently, PIcinguaba, along the BR-101 highway, I am curious about the Cidade Albanoel. It's a huge Christmas theme park by the side of the highway that appears abandoned. Kind of sad and eerie. This time when I returned home I remembered to do some research, and the story I found is quite interesting!
From this Orky site, and wikipedia I found out that the project was conceived in 2000 and was intended to be the largest tourist entertainment attractions in Brazil (the size of 460 football fields!), but its owner, Albano Reis, who had previously run for mayor of Rio de Janeiro, was struck and killed on the highway by a European tourist near the complex in 2004. Also in the works were other projects: Ruins
Water Park, a western city, a rustic little farm, a ship-hotel, a
concert hall and a ten-story tower.
I get a lot of inquiries from people who would like to move to Brazil to work. My advice is to find a multinational firm operating here and get here on an expat package. As it's been said, Brazil is not for beginners, folks. We use all the help we can get our hands on! Make sure your have a generous living allowance...
So if you've read my blog entries and are still interested in job hunting for something that might take you to Brazil, here are some companies that are making waves in the media recently about either entering the Brazilian market or expanding their presence here:
Standard Chartered - starting investment banking operations in Brazil.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International just made a $56 million acquisition in Brazil (announced today but hadn't named the company). This is the second Brazilian acquisition the California based company has made in as many months.
Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP, which is a New York law
firm, plans to open an office in Sao Paulo. In the past year, other firms such as Simpson Thacher &
Bartlett LLP, DLA Piper LLP, and Mayer Brown LLP have also set up shop in Brazil. Read more here.
Vaaldiam, a Canadian mining company, just announced plans to restart one of its Brazilian mines.
Speaking of Canadians, it is widely speculated that Scotiabank (who happen to be one of our banks of choice back home in Canada), which has quite a presence in other parts of South America such as Peru and Chile, could bid to
purchase the Brazilian securities
unit of German lender Commerzbank...
Finally (more Canadians) - a delegation of Atlantic Canadian organizations and companies in the oil and gas and transportation sectors just returned from what they are calling a successful business mission
Haven't done one of these in awhile... just some stories that caught my attention
This story really freaks me out, it's really sad - a 41 year old engineer named Michael Kanaley, an American expat, married to a Brazilian, a father, had been here 7 years... encountered some sort of major trouble while driving home from Buzios earlier this week - he was found shot to death, and his vehicle was found later, burned out. Awful.
On a happier note, 6 day cruises departing Sao Paulo at the end of the montha re as low as $374 per person (based on double occupancy). Smoking deal!!!! Click here for details.
Currently meeting in Brazil - an international commission deciding on fishing limits for tuna and other large migratory fish.
In 2009 Brazil set a record for the most vehicles sold ever in its history. Mercedes Benz apparently caught wind of this and is plannng a major expansion, which will be in part financed by a loan of 1.2 billion reais from Brazilian state
development bank BNDES.
Looking to invest in a Brazilian equities fund? Small to mid-caps? There's a new fund - The Advance Brazil Leblon Equities fund. Click here for more.
A Boston family is seeking justice for the death of their family member who was shot by an off-duty police officer in the streets of Rio.
Wallpaper Magazine has issued its Fab 40 featuring 40 reasons to stay (or head to Brazil). They did lists for 10 different areas of which Canada was another. Of particular interest to me on the Brazilian side were a bunch of places and things I've never heard of, there's always more to experience and see in this country, it's more than just the corcovado, sugarloaf and the foz... click here for the list.
My mom sent me this article which is about Stockwell Day's time in Brazil recently. Funny enough, he met with Mr. DRL on one of his trips. The article doesn't say much, but here it is anyway.
An article I'm sure that would be dear to Mr. DRL's heart... further complications to the already atrocious to navigate taxation in Brazil. This article focuses on a new 2% tax on foreign investment in Brazil. Article here, from the Wall Street Journal.
As I mentioned in a recent post, I was quite irritated by the "service" I received from a local travel agent. I was trying to book a multi-destination trip (babymoon) for us, and enlisted his help, which ended up being a fairly pointless endeavor. Why?
In the end, he quoted me US $6,266 for a trip that is sub-par to what I just booked myself for US $2,490. Ummmm yeah that is a US $3,776 difference, not to mention the waste of time in even dealing with him!
Let it also be known that my booking includes very nice hotels in prime areas. His didn't. Unbelievable.
As an aside - I got a smoking good deal on our multidestination flight with TAM, even better than what was quoted to me on Kayak.com. All I did was phone TAM and book it that way. Just FYI.
It sometimes seems to me as though "sales people" be it travel agents, real estate agents, retail shop girls, etc. take a very different approach to their job than what I am used to back home. Sales tactics back home: listen to the customer and find out their needs, then recommend products. Here I don't see much regard for what I as a customer want. If I don't know what I want, that's one thing. But here are some examples of such situations I have found irritating over the past year:
The travel agent mentioned above - instead of looking into any of the 10 or so small, private, spa-like boutique hotels we requested and had already researched and provide us with rates, took it upon himself to only give us one rate - and choose a huge chain hotel for us. In other words, the exact opposite of what we were looking for. When I asked why, he said because it was not as far from the airport as the hotels we'd chosen. We were well aware of this fact when we requested the hotels - rather than simply asking us, he simply assumed. And paid no attention whatsoever to the type and calibre of hotels we had originally requested.
While looking for an apartment, the real estate agent takes us to apartment after apartment with neither outside space/veranda nor view (we specifically requested that we wanted at least one or the other). When after several places like this I finally commented on this to him, he looked at me incredulously and said "but this place is great, it has 4 parking spaces." I informed him that we did not have a car.
While shopping for appliances there was an attempt to talk me into buying a refrigerator I did not want, with features I found useless...
Anytime I go into a clothing store, hideous clothing items are offered to me that are completely opposite of what I am looking at/wearing. Like I am talking lime green sports bras, and oh my favorite! Crop tops. I am in my third trimester, folks...
I don't find that a lot of sales people take the time to read the customer, do the homework, or anticipate needs. It honestly feels like they are just trying to get rid of whatever inventory is getting old, whichever hotel rooms offer the highest commission for them, etc... but maybe I am wrong!
Can anyone comment on how sales people are trained here in Brazil? What are some of the fundamentals? How do they differ from North America? Are there some philosophies?
Important business person in Brazil? Better watch what you say... don't discuss important business on the phone, and watch for signs of wiretapping... the paranoia includes fear that cell phones are being activated remotely!
Brazil has banned the import of Chinese food products, which is the fallout from the contaminated milk crisis China is currently experiencing. The ban will last as long as there is a risk to the population.
There is speculation that Brazil will fare better than the average country in the current worldwide economic crisis because it is well-diversified in a number of industries. Anyone notice what the real is currently at? Although it does make Brazil more attractive for business looking to set up here...
Chavez & Lula have commented on the crisis, according to an editorial in the Guardian last week, Chávez, the
Venezuelan president, is hoping for a permanent shift in power in a
region historically dominated by the US. "The world will never be the
same after this crisis," Chávez said during a visit to Brazil. "A new
world order has to emerge and it is a multipolar world. We are
decoupling from the wagon of death." Okey-doke. Taking a more sane diplomatic approach, Lula reportedly complained that
Washington spent years telling Latin America how to get its economic
house in order - and then ignored its own advice. Valid comment on Lula's part...
During the elections last weekend, 5,000 soldiers in Rio kept things in line, and in Brasilia, a man was shot in the leg when attempting to break into President Lula's residence...
This title is quite tongue-in-cheek because after reviewing the news of the past week or so, the prospect of such seems more ridiculous than ever. Depending on which news source you prefer and what time of day it is, the message on how things are in Brazil is quite different. To be honest, my theory is that no one really knows on a macro level (much like oh I don't know, everywhere else on planet earth these days??)
Yet, to inform, encourage and entertain... let's skim the headlines, shall we?
More than 35,000 people attended last week's oil and gas conference in Rio.
markets crashed around the world, executives here were busily making
deals and bubbling with enthusiasm at the prospect of working with
Petrobras to exploit the oil trapped below a thick salt layer
underneath the ocean floor, something that could cost up to US$600
"Being with Petrobras is a bit like being in the first
gold rush in the US...”
Tagline: There was a time that when the 'the United States coughed, Brazil got
pneumonia' but after its own share of crises, Brazil has seen a period
of economic stability and rapid growth.
Article refers to ThyssenKrupp's steel factory going up near Santa Cruz (outside Rio) as resembling "a medieval cathedral -- and stands as a latter-day shrine to
the belief that Brazil's economy will withstand U.S. financial turmoil." I've been there, it is pretty freaking crazy I will say that!
The article points out that although Brazil is not immune to the global chaos going on, particularly with its exports, despite the market turmoil and panic last week, several large-scale projects or expansions in Brazil were still announced with companies such as:
Hyundai of South Korea
Suzuki of Japan
HBO ( it could triple the # of programs produced in Brazil in the next 2 yrs)
Although the article acknowledges it's far from easy to do business in Brazil it also shows how Brazil has made stides to become more independent economically. *(ALSO - not mentioned in this article - but a deal with Tyson was also announced)
The moral of the story: don't expect a crash course on the Brazilian
economy, use multiple resources and don't believe everything you read
in one article, please!! Oh and also - don't take my title seriously ;)
Build- A - Bear in North America is a great little company - kids go in and choose their own bear and get to build him or her, insert a heart, insert a voice box with a special message or multiple voice boxes, give them a bath, choose an outfit, create a birth certificate, and more! So cute, and a great way to spend a memorable afternoon. Before we moved, we went with our nephew and made one for him and one for us, such a fun morning.
Brazil has its own version of Build-A-Bear, it's called
Animaland or Animalandia, and I would argue its business model is much more efficient than its North American counterpart, particularly from an "overhead" perspective. Build-A-Bear is situated in shopping malls where it generally has large stores, Animaland is set up as kiosks in the mall where patrons move around the kiosks to the different stations (stuffing, accessories, etc.)
Here, Animaland also features a scent station for the stuffies.