The diversification of geographic and sectorial markets is the answer to the challenges that the mouldmaking industry is facing. The position was unanimous among all participants in the 'Market Days' conference. But the guest speakers left a warning: this diversification must be accompanied by a well defined strategy and by the cooperation among national moldmakers, which will allow them to gain scale and, with that, conquer some markets that will be essential to assure the future of the sector.

"We will have to look at other sectors, in order to reduce the dangerous dependence we have from the automotive industry, and also to other geographic markets. The world is going to change and not in a linear way as it has been so far, the demand for molds is going to change and even plastic, the main raw-material, is going to change", considered Gabriel Silva, from consulting company TGA, in the debate panel under the theme "Market Diversification". Gonçalo Caetano, from Simoldes Group, also defended the importance of cooperation, either with national companies, or with strategic partners in the markets. "We must bear in mind that international presence is not achieved only with direct investment. It is done with partnerships and this is the great challenge of our sector: we need an open mind to cooperate, even because our companies are 'fitted' between big clients on one side and big suppliers on the other". This way, he considered, companies will be able to gain scale and conquer markets, something fundamental to be able to diversify. Idálio Silva, from Uepro, enhanced that the dependency of a market, be it sectorial or geographic, is something "extremely dangerous", once it can put an entire organization at risk. He gave his company as an example, to explain that for several years it has followed a logic of diversification and that the automotive sector, for instance, "never represents more than 5%". The company's biggest bet, he clarified, is currently focused on the aeronautical industry, but even this does not represent such a large share that puts the business at risk.

The debate was preceded by a presentation of two markets that are "good examples for possible diversification": Turkey and South Africa.

'USA: Challenges and Opportunities' was the theme of the second session of the 'Market Days' conference. Laurie Harbour, from Harbour Results, was the main speaker and considered that this is an important market for Portuguese moulds, but it has to be worked in order to identify the best opportunities. As an approach to the market, he suggests that companies can establish partnerships to better position themselves in the market. "They don't need to be installed in the United States, but if they have a presence there, they can be more competitive", he pointed out.


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