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International Mission Excerpts - 2007 - Spain & Portugal

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Portugal & Spain
August 19 - September 2, 2007

Excerpt from Site Visit Report for Portugal

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Our primary meeting and site visit occurred on August 24th in Lisbon at the headquarters of EFACEC, a major Portuguese electrical company. On arrival at 9:00am, we were greeted by Managing Director Jose Tomaz Gomes and escorted to their conference room. For the next hour we were treated to a power point presentation by Tania Fernandes on their company and their expansion into the U.S.

Current EFACEC revenues are 370 million Euros. Their plan is to double that revenue by 2012, primarily through international expansion. The United States had evolved into a significant market for their power transformers. After a feasibility study, they decided to build a manufacturing facility in Savannah. Some of their U.S. clients are Austin Energy, Nevada Power, PG&E and Southern Companies. Their company’s formula for success is few clients and quality service. They are under tremendous pressure to increase manufacturing as they are at capacity. Manufacturing is their only expansion. They believe contracting can not be exported.

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A site visit followed to the “New Lisbon.” Formerly the site of World Expo ’98, the area is experiencing a rebirth with a mix of commercial and residential. EFACEC is providing the electrical contracting (electricity, electronic security, security systems and telecommunications) for the Office Park. It’s a 30,000 sq. meter project. The budget is 90 million Euro; EFACEC’s contract is 10 million. There is a mix of 9 buildings, 5 basement levels and 8–9 stories each. Electricians work a 40-hour week and earn between 8 & 9 Euros per hour ($13-14). They’re non-union with 32% of their pay going to social security, which the employer covers. There is no pension or profit sharing. Including vacation and holidays, they get 25 days off a year.

It’s a comparatively low budget project. One reason EFACEC was chosen is their purchasing power. All materials enter the site via quality control. In essence they compare what’s erected to what’s received. The subcontractor is charged for any shortages. EFACEC is responsible for and controls the project, they then subcontract. At peak 100 electricians are on the job; they work 6 days a week.

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They have a difficult time finding qualified electricians but not engineers. They must comply with the legal terms of the agreement and are subject to safety inspections by local government and the power companies supplying the project. Quality control inspections are performed by the owner.

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