As the largest construction group in the state of Minas Gerais, and one of the most respected in all of Brazil, Lider has done an admirable job at living up to its name. Ín truth, the company has been a pioneer from day one, when an engineer named Carlos Carneiro Costa decided it was time that Minas’ still provincial capital of Belo Horizonte began to offer its residents the same type of upscale, high-quality residential buildings that were being constructed in São Paulo.
Lider Construtora has grown exponentially in the past few years. In 2000, the company boasted annual revenues of $60 million. Over subsequent years, this value climbed to $70 million in 2003, $75 million in 2005, and $105 million in 2006. This year, the company hopes to bring in revenues of close to $125 million. Reflecting on the reasons for this growth Carneiro Costa points to the fact that over the last three years the civil construction sector has “really heated up.” Furthermore, Lider entered into a series of strategic partnerships with other major construction firms – many of them, such as Cyrella and Klabin-Segall, based in São Paulo – that really spurred the company´s growth, while bringing numerous benefits.
Explains Carneiro Costa: “These partnerships diminish risks, increase investment capital, and allow us access to lots of knowledge and know-how. In the end, everybody wins, because we learn from our partners and they learn from us. And the clients really benefit too because they get a product that is subject to more in-depth studies and better analysis.”
Eyes on the Future
In fact, it was in conjunction with Cyrella that Lider recently wrapped up yet another pioneering project: the Olympus. Completed last year, the 538,000 square-foot luxury condominium complex is a first for Belo Horizonte, which up until now had only known single-building condos. Based on Cyrella’s and Lider’s own experiences in São Paulo’s highly developed civil construction market, the Olympus features a complex comprised of nine buildings. “It’s a sign of the times,” declares Carneiro Costa, proudly. “These multi-dwelling complexes are a new trend here in Brazil, but they’re quickly catching on. Not only are they safer, but closed condominiums with a larger number of buildings or houses allow residents to benefit from diminished costs in terms of security expenditures, condominium fees, and other shared features.”
With this reduction in shared costs, it becomes feasible to design condo complexes that aren’t just for wealthy and middle-class Brazilians, but for working class citizens as well. “This is a big project of ours for the near future,” confesses Carneiro Costa. “The demand is already visible on the horizon. We’ve undertaken studies and are already looking at creating a separate team of executives, engineers, and architects that will focus specifically on projects for lower-income Brazilians.”
Indeed, the growing demand for housing coupled with the boom in civil construction is creating unprecedented opportunities throughout Brazil. Although Lider is a giant in Minas, with a 25 percent share of the market, and a force to be reckoned with in São Paulo and Brasilia, it hopes to extend its reach to other parts of Brazil. It recently completed resort projects on the coasts of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, and is analyzing other opportunities as well. Says Carneiro Costa: “Brazil is just so big. There´s so much space, and so much left to build.”
Meanwhile, as it prepares itself for the future, Lider is discovering that its past carries more and more clout in an increasingly competitive market. “One of our biggest differentiating factors is our famous know-how,” explains Carneiro Costa. “Know-how only comes with time and we have 40 years of experience. We have 2,500 people working for us here at Lider. And everyone – from our architects, analysts, engineers and technicians to our sales team and service personnel – really understands the business, the market, and the clients.”
Although it has staked its reputation on constructing high-end residential buildings, Lider’s commitment to quality goes beyond clients’ social or economic background. As Liliane Carneiro Costa points out: “Our commitment is to making high-quality buildings that will really last – and not only because an apartment is a durable good, but because we know that people work all their lives to buy a home. In the end, our biggest satisfaction comes from seeing families moving into our buildings and living happily ever after.”