Continental threatens to stop investments in Portugal for lack of infrastructures in their factory

  • ECO News
  • 25 September 2017

Continental Mabor's chairman stated the mother company in Germany is unhappy with the Governments' unfulfilled promises about infrastructures. The investment tap is about to close, Carreira warns.

Continental Mabor, the fourth largest Portuguese exporter, with a 830 million euros’ invoice, complains about blocked investments from the mother factory in Germany, due to the lack of infrastructures in the group’s factory in Lousado (near Oporto).

When interviewed by ECO, Pedro Carreira, Continental Mabor’s chairman, stated there is a 150 million euros’ investment plan for Portugal: 50 million have already been applied to the agricultural tires factory and 100 million are progressively being used for expanding the factory for light tires. Nonetheless, the mother company has not run out of capital for the country, according to Pedro Carreira: “There are more steps to be taken over the next couple of years and we hope they can be approved, although we need infrastructures in order for that to happen, otherwise Continental Mabor will not be able to grow”.

Throughout the years, Continental Mabor has complained about the bad access to the industrial complex of Lousado, particularly to the group’s factory. One of the main constraints is a road — that does not exist — but that is goes over the warehouses: “although it has never been build, officially, there is a road crossing our warehouses” and, therefore, the company cannot build more storehouses. Pedro Carreira speaks of a vicious cycle: “If I can’t increase the amount of warehouses and I am increasing production, I will end up having no place to store those extra tires”.

In addition to not having room to grow in terms of buildings, there is also the constraint of trucks’ circulation: “We sometimes have ten or 20 trucks queuing to enter the complex”. The only road was built in 1950: “We have been requesting a four or five kilometer road for 20 years now. We need trucks to be able to access the factory”. He also states: “We’ve had to stop production more than once because trucks got stuck on the way in and we had no materials to work with”.

The mother company in Germany is quite dissatisfied with the situation and has stated that “future investments in the company are clearly dependent on accesses to the factory, which need to be assured”. The chairman of the Portuguese daughter factory stated: “I am no longer presenting projects because I cannot complete them. The money has been allocated, so by the end of this year, Portugal needs to move forward with a new warehouse, otherwise that new warehouse will be moved to France”. He also added the Portuguese Government if “fully aware” of this possibility.

“We clearly want the company to come to Portugal and to continue to invest in our country, but for that, we need our Government to comply with its promises“. Nonetheless, he added: “It has never crossed our minds to put ourselves in a situation where we would get Continental to stand against the Portuguese Government”.

To conclude the interview, the chairman shared his perspectives for 2025: “We will have a proper access to the factory, where we are able to separate cars, trucks and people, as well as good parking lots for all our employees. We will also have a better factory than the one we have today, worth more than two billion euros”.

PUB