Sudden Influx Of Brazilian Companies Seeking Miami Sites
By Patricia Hoyos
With more than a handful of Brazilian companies having already established a major presence in South Florida, many more are eyeing Miami-Dade as a place to do business.
"There is a great deal of interest [from Brazilian companies], which actually has changed recently," said Frank Nero, president and CEO of the Beacon Council. "In the past, a lot of the multinationals set up in Miami to access Latin America. Now they are looking to come to Miami to access the US market."
Mr. Nero said the Beacon Council is aware of companies from bakeries to high-tech firms interested in "establishing some sort of operation" in the Miami market as Brazil continues growing its economy. Although he couldn’t provide specific details, he said he anticipates an increasing trend of international companies seeking to become active in the area.
According to an economic climate report by the Beacon Council, there are 15 Brazilian multinationals in South Florida, with Burger King becoming the largest after a Brazilian equity firm purchased the fast-food chain in 2010.
Other large Brazilian companies in Miami-Dade include Banco do Brasil, Odebrecht Contractors of South Florida, Embraer Aircraft Holding, TAM Airlines and designer furniture manufacturer Artefacto USA, according to the Brazilian Consulate General in Miami.
Banco do Brasil recently strengthened its Florida presence by purchasing Eurobank’s three branches in Coral Gables, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton in its $6 million acquisition.
TAM Airlines is one of two airlines that offer direct flights between Brazil and Miami, servicing Brazil’s growing number of tourists to the US.
In terms of local employment, besides Burger King’s large workforce, Embraer is leading the Brazilian multinationals with 283 local employees, followed by Odebrecht Construction’s 191, according to the 2010 World City Who’s Here Directory.
Mr. Nero said he would be disappointed if Miami didn’t see new Brazilian multinationals making an entrance into the Miami market, because the interest to do so is certainly there.
As Brazil’s economy remains strong with a 2011 gross domestic product growth of 2.8% and with the possibility of the US easing its visa requirements for Brazilians, he said he expects to see a variety of new companies from different industries appearing.
"There’s a variety of different companies here [the Beacon Council] may not even be aware of," Mr. Nero said. "They may be operating here and may have some Brazilian background, but we do know that they’re here. There is increasing activity here from Brazil, and there’s no reason to believe it will stop."