Francisco Monteiro, Chairman and CEO of Brimont, spoke to Africa Oil & Power about how Brimont kickstarted growth at the beginning of the year through its procurement services and how it will focus on strategy execution across each business unit going forward.
How has Brimont sustained growth in the past twelve months?
Brimont maintained a strong operational performance in the second quarter of 2020, thus consolidating the positive results reached since the beginning of this year. This growth level was mainly driven by Brimont Procurement, consistently supplying major oil and gas projects in Angola with products and services including chemicals, lubricants, spare parts, personal protective equipment (PPE), equipment servicing, etc., but also by the Consulting and Real Estate business units, which completed a number of consultancy and asset management projects in the last 12 months. Profitability continued to improve, although overshadowed by the depreciation of the Kwanza against the Dollar and the Euro, and the relevant costs incurred to mitigate the operational and social impact resulting from the pandemic. Going forward, we will remain focused on driving strategy execution in each business unit in order to make 2020 a successful year for Brimont and all our stakeholders.
To what extent can COVID-19 serve as an impetus for an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables in Angola?
We strongly believe there is going to be more growth in renewables in Angola, but at a slower rate than if COVID-19 had not happened. The leverage resulting from fossil fuels to energy alternatives is undeniable. When fossil fuels are in crisis, renewable energy development will inevitably be affected. Additionally, most renewable energy equipment was coming from China, currently facing supply-chain disruptions that had never been seen before.
Does Brimont have plans to increase its investment in renewable energy?
Brimont will commit significant capital to solar projects from 2021 onwards. As a solar developer/contractor we focus primarily on engineering, procurement and construction work. In Angola and Mozambique, most of our projects have focused on off-grid solar solutions for remote communities, but our track record also includes rooftop installations, as well as electrical and installation subcontracting jobs.
We are currently investing in strengthening the capacities of our local teams, an effort based on the belief that technical expertise combined with deep cultural knowledge and fluency in local languages maximizes the impact our renewable projects can have and assures business sustainability.
What measures have Brimont implemented to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on operations, and how would you evaluate the efficacy of such measures thus far?
Responding immediately to the health crisis was paramount. As we operate in one of the last regions in the world to be affected by COVID-19, we had the chance to plan ahead of the crisis. Our main concern was safety. Under this principle, we set adequate measures for business continuity while assuring that all stakeholders were protected. The majority of our employees now work from home, the use of PPEs has been generalized, disinfection procedures for workspaces/work instruments have been implemented, physical documents have been exchanged by digital formats to expedite transfer and minimize contact, and we have provided our workers with dedicated transportation from home to work to prevent the use of public transportation. These measures have allowed our teams to remain healthy and safe, while production levels have remained unaffected and jobs and salaries have been preserved. We now see a partial-work-from-home model as a strong a high-value possibility for the future.