This Brazilian specialist in asphalt for road building has increased its lead since becoming part of the world’s biggest construction equipment group. Reuben Ford catches up with the company that has overtaken expectations and follows its unstoppable success.
Ciber Equipamentos Rodoviários produces, develops, and manufactures equipment for building, keeping and repairing roads.
Founded over 50 years ago, Ciber established market leadership from the start. However, when the multinational Wirtgen Group bought majority shares in the company in 1996, the Brazilian brand went global.
Today, Ciber is an international benchmark in; milling, recycling, crushing and paving as an example, more than 92 percent in milling in Brazil.
“We are a consolidated name in Brazil and master dealer of the Wirtgen Group. Looking forward, we are increasing our presence overseas to maintain record growth,” says Luiz Marcelo Tegon, President of Ciber.
With projects in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Australia initiated in the last five years, Ciber is well on the way to achieving its long-term plan. “We depend less and less on national road building projects, thanks to international contracts,” Tegon affirms.
Brazil’s notorious economic highs and lows and erratic government investment strategies are additional reasons for understanding the company’s expansion – especially as the country prepares itself for the presidential elections in October 2014. Any changes in infrastructure development have obvious repercussions on business. “Exports balance business and also allow us to achieve growth well above ‘organic’ rates,” Tegon adds.
As a member of the Wirtgen Group, an internationally active group of companies in the construction equipment industry, Ciber joins four renowned brands; Wirtgen, Vögele, Hamm and Kleemann – all headquartered in Germany. The group also has production facilities in Brazil, India and China.
“Our core business is asphalt plant production. Being part of the Wirtgen Group makes us a part of a complete portfolio of road building products, machinery and services,” Tegon says. Ciber offers a complete line of equipment for construction and repair of paving and road surfacing in its markets. High quality equipment such as compactors and counterflow asphalt plants, cold mix plants, pavers, milling machines, recyclers and crushers. The machinery and technology produced both nationally and internationally, focus on efficiency and productivity to give durable results.
Ciber has a strong history in asphalt paving and holds licenses to produce some Wirtgen technology in Brazil. The company imports from all others producers in the group. Products are sold nationally through a network of strategically located subsidiaries. “Five years ago we changed our production strategy – adapting to the model of an assembly plant. There are no more boilers or welding procedures. We work with suppliers following a concept and prototype that meet our performance standards,” Tegon explains. The focus is firmly on providing the products that meet market needs.
Development in Technology
Founded in 1958 by a subcontractor named Clemente Cifali in Caixas do Sul (Rio Grande do Sul state), the company (Clemente Cifali & Filho) was the first in Brazil to manufacture asphalt plants. Today, known worldwide as Ciber Equipamentos Rodoviários, Ciber has accompanied the development and modernization of Brazil.
As early as 1967, Ciber was selling to other Latin American countries. Further international connections led to a partnership with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries from Japan in 1974 – improving performance and technology and increasing leadership in South America.
By 1984, Ciber was 100 percent owned by Brazilian and Japanese investors and considerable investment had been made in infrastructure and administration.
A joint venture with Wirtgen GmbH in 1984 saw the start of important changes for the company. The agreement transferred the most modern technology to the Brazilian subsidiary and the manufacture of cold milling machines began in Brazil. “When Wirtgen assumed control of the company in 1996, it was one of the most important steps in our history,” Tegon affirms. Becoming part of a world-leading group proportioned an intense exchange of technology between Ciber and the other member companies. “The change consolidated our trade mark, catalyzed growth and propelled us forward,” he continues.
Subsequently, an innovative concept of modular plants revolutionized the paving industry in Brazil. Production of Hamm compactors in Porto Alegre was started in 2005 and in the following years, Ciber launched its Advanced and iNOVA asphalt plant series and Plus Series of pavers, which gave greater stability and reliability to the brand as well as improving performance.
Trade links with Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Libya, Algeria, Cameroon and South Africa) and further regions of Latin America were also established during this period.
In 2008, following commemorations of 50 years of market leadership, Ciber launched its Kompakt Asphalt Plant. The series reduced installation costs and construction time – ideal for more complex sites, or faster execution. The Kompakt Asphalt Plant has won four design awards for its innovation at the National Confederation of Industries, Brazil Design Awards, Idea Brazil and World Idea Awards, one of the most prestigious prizes in the United States and worldwide.
Ciber’s 48,000-square-meter factory located in Porto Alegre in the state of Rio Grande do Sul has doubled production between 2011 and 2014, equating to sales in the region of $250 million. “Our aim is to double our figures again by 2019,” Tegon comments.
“Wirtgen is the only international group to have the entire production chain (milling, applying, compacting, and recycling) in its extensive portfolio,” he continues. Being part of the world’s leading road construction group has clearly boosted numbers: in 2013, Ciber enjoyed an 85 percent national market share in asphalt recycling and 92 percent in milling. “An average of all our services gives us leadership of the road building market,” Tegon summarizes.
The group also affords Ciber the opportunity to bring machinery to Brazil. As well as making the company even more competitive, it contributes directly to the improvement of Brazilian infrastructure and services.
Battling the nationwide lack of qualified labor, high taxation and limited logistics with strategically planned investment, Ciber has remained committed to client and shareholder satisfaction. “Contrary to other companies in the sector we have a clear path of evolution, following the domestic and global market, constantly improving on our past,” Tegon affirms.
It has been a fast track to success. This year, Ciber confirms its alliance with John Deere to improve its distribution channel for compactors (Hamm), another in a strong team of partners.
Big results in a bigger picture, the Latin American and global leader, the company changes have focused on technology, research and development and investment on quality and longevity while remaining close to the demands and needs of its customers.