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Businesses that continue to grow in times of pandemic

The year 2020 proved to be one of the most challenging ever, the result of a pandemic, as there was no memory, that practically stopped the country. Thousands of Portuguese saw their income affected, lost family and friends in the fight against an invisible virus, distanced themselves from those they love most in the hope of protecting them and embracing again and several companies were forced to close doors and dismiss employees … However, many resisted. In this article, we highlight three that continued to grow in times of a pandemic and made adversity opportunities.

The examples are clear and are right here on our “side”, with these three companies headquartered in the district of Porto. We are talking about the Fortera Group, which operates in the luxury real estate business and which, in the last four years, has concluded nine projects in Porto, in Gaia and Espinho, the KuantoKusta online sales platform and the logistics and transport group Rangel.

LIVE! he was talking to the CEOs of the three companies and now reveals all the details. They are real testimonies of companies, which managed to keep their businesses active, possibly firmer than ever, and to prosper even at a time that had everything to be “a failure”. The difference may be in the resilient spirit with which each faced the pandemic and seized the opportunities that arose from there. They are considered the “miracles of the pandemic” and show that, after all, 2020 also had some good things…

O KuantoKusta, por exemplo, superou 100 milhões de euros durante a Black Friday e encaminhou mais 1,25 milhões de encomendas durante a época promocional, batendo, assim, um recorde histórico, em parte suportado pelo crescimento de 800% de encomendas processadas no seu marketplace em comparação com o ano de 2019. Por sua vez, o grupo Rangel, com presença direta em sete países, iniciou operações no México e na África do Sul e tornou-se responsável pela logística da distribuição das vacinas contra a covid-19 em Portugal.

With regard to the investment by the Fortera group in the last year, which essentially focused on the acquisition in Vila Nova de Gaia, Braga and Espinho, it amounts to a value very close to 180 million. The two major areas in which the brand operates, it should be noted, are essentially centered on the acquisition of real estate for construction from scratch or the rehabilitation of spaces for hotel or residential purposes. In Gaia, for example, Fortera will give birth to the Skyline, an ecosystem that, according to Elad Dror, the group’s CEO, “will change the county forever” and that included a new congress center with a capacity of 2,500 seats, a 340-foot tower rooms, parking for 600 vehicles and more than 30 thousand square meters of services.

Among the main difficulties experienced by Fortera during the pandemic is “the delay in the construction and consequent delivery of the units”, the “impossibility of investors and partners to visit Portugal at this time” and “delays in planning and issues of the municipalities”, revealed the official of the company, founded in 2015. In the transport sector, Nuno Rangel considers that the greatest adversities were related to “the complex logistics operations”. “It was the case with the many transports that we made of air cargo from China, since it was the only way to remove the necessary and urgent goods from that country. We even had to charter eight freighters and planes, as is the case with Antonov 124, one of the largest planes in the world ”, he revealed. In addition to keeping deliveries on the move, Rangel also mobilized “dynamic contingency plans”,in order to “manage and mitigate supply chain disruption”.

 From the moment the first alert state was declared, in March, there was an exponential increase in the logistical activity of medicines and related health products”, he revealed, adding that this increase represented a “doubling in the number of units shipped during the months of March and April ”.

What about the purchase of products? What, after all, were the products most sought after by the Portuguese during the pandemic? Sara Sá, from KuantoKusta marketing, revealed that before the beginning of the first state of emergency and right after it was decreed, there was a “race for masks and disinfection material”. “The increase in demand, from February 24th to March 1st, 2020, for example, in masks was around 2000%, in alcohol and similar products it reached 7000%”, having again had a “growth sudden ”when the state of emergency was declared.

With the beginning of mandatory teleworking, laptops, printers and peripherals were the products with the greatest increase in research. “In the case of printers, 186% increase”, he said, stressing that “all categories of the website benefited from the confinement”, having seen a “considerable increase in online purchases, especially from new users.

At the beginning of the second phase of distance learning, enacted in this general confinement, there was once again, similarly to what had already happened in March, an “unrestrained demand and stock rupture” in products related to the IT area, such as laptops and printers.

Discover, in detail, the responses of the representatives of the companies and get to know the main plans of the three giants for the post-pandemic period.

Elad Dror, CEO Grupo Fortera

What was the group’s main investment during the pandemic?

They are all big and important to us and the cities. In Gaia, with the Skyline project we have more than 300 apartments, and we will start AZUL, with 64 units, later this year.

In Espinho, our enterprise project will create a mega move to the south of the city – 130 jobs during the construction and another 150 after completion – and will allow the municipality to recover population, work and leisure. And, in Braga, we have the rehabilitation of Convento do Carmo, which becomes particularly important, especially now that Braga was elected the best European destination to visit in 2021.

What will the Skyline represent for the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, in particular, for the North and for the country? 

It is a new center of Gaia, an ecosystem that will change the municipality forever. The congress center, the hotel, commerce and offices, all around a beautiful square that will be a point of interest not only for the people who stay and work there, but for all citizens of Gaia and all tourists.

This project puts Gaia in the spotlight and gives it recognition for a modern city with cutting edge architecture and landscapes of the 21st century.

What is the current status of the project?

We are working on the design of the congress center, the hotel and the square. The pandemic has slowed everything down, but we are 100% committed to the project. Eventually we can change some elements to adapt to the new reality, but the general concept remains.

What plans do you make for the post-pandemic period?

The new needs to live, work and travel. And we will demonstrate this in all of our projects.

What are the main investments planned for the future? 

We have more than 200,000 m2 in pipeline, for sure we will be busy. But we have many big surprises for the country with new concepts and a business vision, mainly in trade, which can impact many jobs and workplaces that will be essential for the future to come. We hope to help with that and continue to bring investment and innovation.

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