At a time when a great number of companies in the sector are going through a complex period in their activity, CEFAMOL organized, on January 19th, a debate focused on two essential issues in the current moment: on one hand, the financing and capitalization in the mouldmaking industry and, on the other hand, the diversification of financing models in SMEs.

Besides the traditional bank financing, possible solutions to support companies in the financing and capitalization areas were listed, such as the use of external capital, either through investment funds, or through the capital market, or the creation of support lines as long as they are adequate to the specificities of this industry. One of the conclusions reached unanimous agreement among the speakers: it is essential that companies diversify their sources of financing.

João Faustino, President of CEFAMOL, considered, at the opening of the session, and by way of contextualization of the current situation, that "these last two years have not been easy and companies are going through a complicated period due, above all, to the lack of liquidity".

For João Paulo Marques, from CFA consulting, "companies should open doors to outside advisors or non-executive directors to get a broader view of reality and business". Because, he emphasized, "companies grow, they need more capital to invest, either for the production process or for the working capital that, in this sector, is essential". Therefore, the solution may not lie only in the more traditional financing system - banks - but also with other types of financing sources. And he challenged companies to look at issues such as going public, mergers or even partnerships in an investment logic.

In the debate panel that followed, moderated by José Carlos Gomes, from GLN, consultant Luís Pinto, from Vitis Consulting, considered that companies are interested in these alternative financing models and, he said, "I believe they are available - and even willing - to find a solution.

These financers may be potential partners, such as funds or other companies in the same area, or from different sectors, and even clients. But this does not invalidate, he added, the state support measures. In his opinion, "the funds may not be the most adequate, taking into account the known experience that, apparently, has not made the sector's interest prevail, even because they are sustained by a very short term vision". The solution is for investors to look at the issue from a long-term perspective, he argued.

Sónia Calado, from DRT, affirmed to see with good eyes the opening of capital to funds as a solution to the treasury difficulties of the companies. But she warned: "but not with these funds that we know of and that, in some way, have already done this in companies in the sector. In other words, a solution that is not centered on the purchase of capital, but rather on the reinforcement of capital. And, she added, if the option were to create funds with state guarantees and long-term duration, they could "be a real possibility of solution.

The diversification of financing models was in focus in the second part of this session, with a panel composed of speakers representing banking and capital market entities.

Isabel Ucha, from Euronext Lisbon (which manages the Stock Exchange in Portugal), explained the advantages that companies have if they choose this type of solution as a form of financing. Investors, in this case, "have no ambition to manage the company. Therefore, it is a solution that allows "to get more capital and maintain management autonomy". On the other hand, he warned, it implies a greater openness and transparency of the company.

In the debate moderated by Gonçalo Caetano, from Simoldes Group, the consultant Ricardo Luz, from Gestluz, warned for "a reality that companies do not always have in mind: entrepreneurs think the world is as it was, but either they open capital, or they cannot compete, because, today, it is the market that dictates the rules".

Jorge Ferreira, CEO of the company Palbit, pointed out, in turn, that "what makes projects is the profitability of companies. Therefore, this has to be a central issue for entrepreneurs. And when looking for a partner or a financer, he also pointed out, "it is necessary that we are able to make known the successful project we have, what the company has accumulated over the years of experience and its ambition for growth".

Present in the panel, Gonçalo Regalado, from Millennium BCP, praised the entrepreneurial character of the companies in the sector and assured that the banking entity he represents has as a priority "to support companies, in order to ensure their success". There must be credible and sustainable projects and these will certainly be supported.


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