One of Brazil's fastest growing companies in the vertical transport segment announces new projects and the planned expansion of its factory. Reuben Ford describes an attitude that aims high in quality, technology, competence and ethics.
The Villarta Group assembles and services elevators, escalators and travelators for a range of market sectors including commercial buildings and industry. It operates in three market divisions: production and maintenance of elevators, assembly of escalators and modernization (technological and aesthetic updates) of elevation machinery.
The two companies, Elevadores Villarta Ltda (Villarta Elevators Ltd) and Villarta Equipamentos de Elevação Ltda (Villarta Elevation Equipment Ltd), are expanding production and sales and increasing their participation in the development of equipment for civil construction, shopping centers, hospitals, stadiums and mining. Benefiting from the current boom in the Brazilian infrastructure, the group aims to grow its business by 25 percent.
Director of the company Jomar Villarta emphasizes: “We provide the fastest and most modern elevators and escalators, which are also the most silent and ecologically friendly in the market. We have experience in large projects and our products are present in constructions around the country.”
Founded almost 30 years ago, the Villarta Group operates from offices in São Paulo City, where the administration and services are organized centrally. Initially, the company focused on equipment maintenance but gradually began producing elevators and is now a consolidated brand in the sector.
A manufacturing facility in Taubaté (São Paulo state) produces and assembles parts for the company’s elevators, moving stairways and platforms. The Villarta Group has ten further offices in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba and Belo Horizonte, among others and representatives located strategically around Brazil.
Elevadores Villarta, responsible for production and services, opened in 1985 and has seen contracts grow steadily from 1000 in 1993 to 2,000 six years later in 1999. In 2005 Elevadores Villarta had increased its portfolio to 3,000 and to 3,200 in 2013. “The number of clients has stabilized recently and our focus is on providing a full and efficient service to them,” Villarta explains.
Villarta Equipamentos de Elevação, founded in 2004 has steadily increased its portfolio of installed equipment: “In 2006 100 pieces of equipment were installed, this grew to 500 in 2009 and 1,000 in 2012 – our target for 2013 is 1,500,” Villarta says.
Supporting rising business, the Group recently began $2 million extension work in Taubaté. A 6,000-square-meter site, located next to the existing factory, will provide new jobs as well as space for expansion of the production lines, which according to Villarta “will meet growing demand registered in the first two quarters of 2013.”
The development of new parts and equipment is part of new strategic investment in new contracts. “We are delivering 20 new escalator units in a new shopping mall in Rio de Janeiro. The Jardim Guadalupe Mall is a $150 million investment and will influence 1.2 million people,” Villarta says.
With financial backing from Prosperitas Investimentos, a university, leisure center and medical center are also planned in the Jardim Guadalupe Mall, which will contain 250 stores, including some of Brazil’s largest department stores.
“We are also supplying escalators to Maringá Park Shopping Mall in the south of the country. Eight new escalator systems will be an important part of the extension and modernization work currently underway,” Villarta adds.
The group has additionally gained ground in the mining sector. The multinational Anglo American Plc, one of the world’s largest diversified mining and natural resource groups, is investing $1.8 billion in increasing iron and nickel production in the Brazilian state of Goiás. Villarta is developing a heavy-duty cargo platform, capable of lifting up to ten tons.
The Villarta Group’s largest project is the new Palmeiras soccer club stadium in São Paulo. The $10-million contract confirms the group as the official supplier of escalators and elevators for the Allianz Parque.
“A total of 15 elevators and 26 escalators will be installed in the new 25,000-square-meter arena that will also have a panoramic restaurant, snack bars, stores and parking lot for 2,000 vehicles,” Villarta says.
“The equipment is as modern as any found in large hotels, shopping malls and convention centers around the world. We want to leave our mark on this project and on one of the biggest events in the history of the city,” he continues.
Additionally, Villarta will have an exclusive box at the stadium, use of the convention and events center and allocated parking. The machinery was conceived to attend the needs of the 55,000 spectators expected at the arena’s various events. “Each elevator has a load-bearing capacity of up to 1.5 tons and each escalator will transport around 9,000 passengers an hour, a total of 240,000 people in one hour,” Villarta elaborates.
Allianz Parque is the first multi-use events arena in Latin America.
Villarta specializes in the latest electromechanical technology for modern elevators. “We offer to our clients the options of replacing their electrical system for digital ones,” Villarta clarifies. Digital technology increases the efficiency of the company’s products, economizing energy and space.
Specifically, he explains that the use of oil can be reduced from elevator systems. “In most elevators oil is dripped onto the guide rails of the lifting machinery, today it is possible to replace that with rollers.”
The group is also one of the first to bring machine room-less elevators to Brazil – with no need for a control room (usually located at the top of the building), these systems have a more compact and convenient design as well as improved performance.
“The escalators and travelators that we supply can be equipped with movement sensors that slow down the equipment when not in use to save energy. As soon as passengers approach the moving stairway, sensors accelerate it again,” Villarta continues.
Development of the vertical platforms has resulted in a range from restaurant use and elevators for the handicapped to 10-ton industrial and mining machines.
“Approximately 70 percent of our business is derived from services and 30 percent from new equipment. We service all brands of elevators, escalators and platforms and manufacture under one only,” Villarta explains.
Bringing international standards and technology to Brazil is an important part of Villarta’s business, even though the company does not presently export. Attending vertical transport trade fairs (such as Interlift in Germany) and following trends and innovations in the industry keep the company up-to-date with the market. “We know Brazil and understand which technologies can be applied here in respect of our construction norms and infrastructure,” Villarta points out.
The group brings parts from China, Spain, Italy and Germany for assembly and maintenance of products in Brazil.
Villarta is clear about the company’s future. “After the huge multinationals in our industry sector in Brazil, we are the biggest ‘small player’ – our 5 percent annual growth is rising – proof that we understand local needs. The quality and quantity of our work are always going up and we are very happy with all the recent developments. Our closeness to the client and know-how in the Brazilian market prove that not all elevators are the same.”
Due to importation and international awareness the fluctuating rate of the Brazilian real against the dollar have shaken up business. However, Villarta quickly emphasizes that economic challenges and advantages (such as the domestic construction boom) provide an even playing field for all companies in Brazil.
The Villarta Group is just about to finish the installation of almost 50 escalators for renovation work in Rio de Janeiro’s international Galeão airport. In addition to existing projects and maintenance contracts with leading stores (Marisa), publishers (Editora Abril) and Aircraft manufacturer (Embraer), there are ample grounds for an optimistic future.
Meeting the demands of public and private companies, as well as important environmental and ethical needs, the Villarta Group is raising the technological bar in Brazil. Investment, competence and efficiency assure the group’s future success.