Coronavirus: the crisis that is making Abílio Diniz lose his sleep for the first time

In the same live held by XP, two Brazilian businessmen spoke about two sectors that live completely different moments: the pharmaceutical and the shoe industry

Abílio Diniz in a lecture. Image: Abílio Diniz Facebook Page
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In an XP Investimentos live on this Wednesday night, one of the most famous Brazilian businessmen Abílio Diniz, today in charge of Península Participações, with investments in Carrefour Brasil, Carrefour Global, BRF among others, said he never experienced a crisis like this one of the coronavirus and that, for the first time in his life, he has lost sleep. “I usually sleep well, but I’ve been restless. This is natural, because I’m concerned about people’s lives,” said the businessman. “But we will come out stronger from this,” added Diniz shortly after.

READ ALL ABOUT COVID-19 and its impacts in Latin America

He also said that discussing the lockdown right now, as some of the Brazilian politicians and businessmen are doing, is talking about the obvious. “Brazil is already at a standstill. What we need now is an agenda of what is needed in this period of combat. It is also very important that this stoppage is dimensioned. This is fundamental because it is necessary to give hope to people. In addition, it is necessary to also schedule the resumption (of the economic activity), which cannot happen overnight, “said Diniz.

He said he talked with the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, and that the government would be organizing measures that will put between BRL 600 billion and BRL 700 billion in circulation. “We are talking about a volume that is similar to the economy that the Pension and Social Security Reform approved last year would bring in 10 years,” said the businessman.

In the same live, two Brazilian businessmen from sectors living completely different moments talked about the crisis: Pedro Bartelle, CEO of Vulcabrás Azaleia, which manages shoe brands like Under Armor in Brazil and has Azaleia and Olympikus as its own brands, and Sammy Birmarcker, president at Profarma, one of the largest pharmaceutical product distributors in Brazil.

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While Profarma is in a sector that today is an island of tranquility in the midst of the crisis, and is experiencing a boom in sales, Vulcabrás Azaleia had to put its 14 thousand employees in collective vacation for three weeks and is negotiating with suppliers in general what the chain of manufacture and sale of shoes in the country needs most at this time: more time to pay its bills.

“What we are experiencing in March is a mega sales boom. Our biggest concern is trying to understand what is going to happen next. In a live of the sector yesterday, we found out that in Italy our sector experienced a boom and is now consolidating itself at a higher level, “said Birmarcker.

He said that the company’s biggest concern has been to take care of those on the front lines: workers at stores and distribution centers. “We know that our employees’ spouses are at risk of running out of income. That’s why we are advancing 25% of their Christmas bonus on April’s payroll for this reason. Our workers are no longer working for their boss or for the company, but for Brazil.” Birmarcker also said that there is no possibility of shortages of medicines in Brazil.

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“Our reality is completely different. We have a portfolio of 15 thousand stores that we serve, and about 10 thousand of small businessmen. The entire chain is suffering,” said Pedro Bartelle, from Vulcabrás Azaleia. He said the company’s attention has been on constant contact with employees, even with them at home now. He said, however, that he misses collective decisions so that the shoe chain as a whole can position itself with suppliers and guarantee the employment of thousands of workers in the coming months.

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