The way in which Portuguese companies managed to turn the years of the crisis is, for António Ramalho, a factor of optimism in view of possible difficulties in the future. In 12 years, Portuguese exports almost doubled in value, says the banker.
What are the expectations for this Exporter 2018?
The increase in exports is proof, and if from the point of view of trade fairs, the biggest introduction we had was the World Summit, the largest export was Portugal Exporter, which is our great summit. Our expectation is to win the number of companies, especially at this time also we hit the number of exports on the Portuguese market.
Why is this important for the New Bank?
This is the 13th edition and we support exports for 12 years. It is worth recalling that during this period the Portuguese exports increased by about € 32 billion, an increase of 76%. And of course, as 60% of exporting companies are our customers, what we do is to meet the obvious needs of our customers. This is a partnership we have with the AIP Foundation and AICEP in order to ensure the best possible approach to the new market needs and is something we do every year.
It reported the increase in exports. Taking into account the latest data, do you think the future will smile in Portugal in this chapter?
I think there has been a revolution in the profile of Portuguese companies during the adjustment period that was maintained later. This means that our companies are more competitive. There was also an understanding by companies that, as exporting companies, they have greater financial autonomy, greater value added and higher return on equity, as well as lower risk and greater funding. We won the inner battle. The outer battle is unlimited because the whole market is out there. Our 10 million market is a small market compared to thousands of consumers around the world. So I believe that, by winning the internal battle, we must be optimistic about the external battle.
Will the future finally smile?
I think our companies are better prepared than ever before to realize this reality and we, as a bank of companies, rely on them: we are the bank, they are the companies, but we are convinced that our executives have the ability to promote this the desire of the Portuguese society.
She mentioned the new market needs. What has the market changed in these 12 years and what challenges does it pose?
Over the last 12 years, the increase in Portuguese exports has almost doubled, with an average annual growth rate of 6% over the last 12 years (2005 to 2017). This is also true when we analyze the evolution of the weight of exports to GDP, since in 2006 this figure was 30% and in 2017 43%. The positive balance of the Portuguese balance of goods and services is also positive.
There are many challenges: from increasing sales and exports to diversifying destination countries, instability, uncertainty and competition inherent in the markets themselves, digitization and participation in a globalized world.
The weight of exports to national GDP is not very high. What are the strategies, for example, exceeding the 50% threshold?
The strategy is to be able to export more businesses and, for those already exporting, to find more destination markets, to discover the markets and to confirm the quality of their products and services.
What makes today the difference in Portuguese products reaching the international market?
Portugal has a broad aggregate of assets, a constituent element of national supply and is responsible for success in the domestic and foreign markets. Distinguished factors of Portuguese products, some of which are due to their exclusivity and come from our natural resources, combined with factors such as innovation and design, which have led to the confirmation of Portuguese products.
How did New Bank support work in the export effort of Portuguese companies?
New Bank, which still has a market share in commercial finance, 22%, has no secrets. Our performance is always present in moments and strategic events for entrepreneurs. For example, in Portugal Exporter, where we are going to develop a series of workshops devoted to business opportunities in countries and strategic sectors for Portugal, if it supports companies in their everyday needs to all their needs.
How is this support different?
The Bank has an offer for companies with 360 vision for the needs of our customers. Our service goes beyond simple borrowing. We have unique and innovative solutions such as efficient fund management, advice on international trading, and a comprehensive offer for the main asset of companies, their human resources. The combination of this complete offer, in a spirit of cooperation and proximity, is what enables us to create value for business.