AF: What were your main challenges in your 30-year career?
CM: I had a lot of challenges. I've learned a lot over these 32 years (...) MARTIFER was born from scratch, with a share capital of €22,500 and quickly reached a level of leadership (...) However, in 2007, also under pressure from the market and the desire to grow, we went to the stock exchange in Lisbon, and then from there we started to have some difficulties because in 2008 there was a crisis (...) the crisis left us with a very large debt and we had to do the reverse course (...) We practically went to the ground. In 2011/2012. We went through very complicated moments, until in 2014, the shareholders decided to increase MARTIFER's capital, they bet on the company. From there we created the correct dimension for the company, with a more professional management, so we could be prepared for other difficulties that arose (...) In 2014, we were going through really tremendous difficulties and I often asked myself, if we would be able to overcome this crisis. In fact, it could have been easier to drop and start something new on the side, but no (...) we went to the ground, we got up from the ground with a huge load on our backs, at that time we had a debt close to 400 million euros, we didn't have anyone to finance us and therefore we had a very tight cash management on a day-to-day basis, but we managed to get here today (...) We created a very strong government model, very concerned, not in growth but in what is sustainability. (...) there is nothing better than having a memory, remembering history to know what we went through and that we do not want to go through moments as complicated as those ever again.
AF: In your new role as Chairman, I think your challenges are different, you were linked for a long time to executive functions and now not so much. What are your challenges? How do you see this transition?
CM: I can tell you that I am Chairman of MARTIFER, in the governance model that was created and I have a monthly board meeting. Then I have a meeting on Monday with the CEO where he basically tells me what he thinks he has to tell me and where I tell him what I think we should do differently. But above all, a very informal conversation. (...) But I'm doing a series of other projects, some are already active, others will see the light of day in a near future, but I can tell you for example that I am still very interested in energy. I am following the hydrogen process very closely within MARTIFER. I was the one who started this process and every time a process starts, I follow it closely. I was connected until September, with that hydrogen competition in Portugal. I have supported MARTIFER in the photovoltaic part, in what we are doing at this stage.(...) . In parallel, I’m very focused today on thinking about this issue of the circular economy. I think that today what was garbage and went to the landfill, in a short period of time, we will call it raw material and will be incorporated into production processes. I've been looking at this with some attention because I think this sector, in addition to being sustainable and environmentally friendly, will create a lot of wealth. The pressure in the world today for new things makes the pressure on raw materials huge. Therefore, the only possibility is actually to recycle.
AF: We like to close the “Pontos Por Soldar” with questions about the future. You already shared a little bit about your wishes for the future, but going back to the beginning of our conversation, how do you see the industry, the metalworking sector and of specific metallic structures in the next 10 or 15 years?
CM: I see that the industry actually has great potential, although some say that China is the factory of the world, and, in part, it is. But I think that there are actually other opportunities afterwards (...) industry will always be the great engine of what economic activity is, whether we like it or not (...) the future of every entrepreneur must be to find their niche in market and within the niche market, find the right company size.
O "Pontos Por Soldar" é um podcast produzido pela Motofil com o objetivo de abordar diferentes assuntos sobre a Indústria Portugues, nomeadamente a Indústria Metalomecânica.
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