Chinese private conglomerate boosts Sino-Portuguese win-win cooperation
A Chinese private conglomerate is becoming a model for investors seeking mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation with Portuguese enterprises.
View of a signboard of Fosun on the rooftop of an office building in Beijing, China, October 19th, 2018. [Photo: Imagine China]
Fosun is a private multinational that has acquired significant stakes in several Portuguese companies.
It established a foothold in 2014 by taking over Portugal's leading insurer Fidelidade, before buying a big healthcare provider now known as Luz Saude.
Fosun further expanded its portfolio later with a 27-percent share in a major Portuguese bank Millennium BCP.
Bank CEO Nuno Amado says Chinese investment has brought changes to Portuguese enterprises.
"What were the changes that we got? First, we got something that's very important for a bank in Europe, in Portugal: the stability in our shareholders. With this stability, we (can) focus obviously on the longer term view that was more difficult before," says Amado.
Fosun Senior Vice President Li Haifeng says his company's investment overseas does not deprive local people of their opportunities.
"When we invest and operate an overseas enterprise, we always take into account both our Chinese staff members' and local people's job opportunities, since we believe that opportunities should be given in a balanced way," says Li.
Apart from providing capital, Fosun has also helped local Portuguese companies to expand their markets.
Fidelidade CEO Jorge Magalhaes Correia says Fosun gives his company not only room for development, but also respects.
"Our cooperation is based on mutual respect and understanding. Cooperation with Fosun does not mean that our company will lose its nature as a Portuguese firm. When our clients seek help in our company, they still regard us as a Portuguese enterprise, which is never changed," says Correia.
The net profit of Fidelidade in 2017 reached 216 million euros, or 244 million U.S. dollars, while the profits of Millennium BCP last year was 180 million euros.
Portugese trade and investment agency head Luis Castro Henriques says Chinese investors are long-term reliable partners for local enterprises.
"The evidence that we have has shown that (Chinese investors are reliable partners). And I think that it has shown also something else which is very, very important. It has shown that all of these examples of success, which are usually very, very large companies, are now moving into smaller companies that are entering Portugal. And so, I think that this perspective on strong and reliable investment will continue," says Henriques.
China's total investment in Portugal has exceeded 9 billion euros, covering various sectors including energy, finance, insurance and healthcare.