Entrepreneur Pedro Queiroz Pereira, chairman of the board of directors of Semapa and Navigator, and owner of one of the largest fortunes in Portugal, died. The news was pre-made by the Express Sunday and confirmed to the observer by a source of the newspaper. Pedro Queiroz Pereira was 69 years old and died on board of his yacht on Ibiza, after a fall of two meters – according to the Periódico de Ibiza – and a subsequent heart attack. Spanish police opened an investigation, although everything indicates that it was an accident, writes the diary of Ibiza.
The magazine Forbes Portugal published in July the list of the ten largest fortunes of Portugal, with the owner of the Semapa Group (owner of Secil and The Navigator Group) in fifth place, with a fortune of estimated 1.129 million euros. In the rankings of Exame Queiroz Pereira was ranked seventh with assets worth more than 700 million euros.
Born in one of the richest families of Estado Novo, the son of the entrepreneur to whom Salazar had built the first luxury hotel in Lisbon – Ritz – Pedro Queiroz Pereira won the taste for the car race, which started in Angola and gained more strength in Brazil, where the family lived after April 25, after the nationalization of the PREC.
He lived in Brazil between 1975 and 1987, ran in several sports cars, including Formula 2, became friendly and went on battle with a man who would become one of the greatest legends of Formula 1, the Brazilian pilot Ayrton Senna. It was precisely in pilot times (first in Angola and later in Brazil) that he became known as PêQuêPê.
When his father, Manuel Queiroz Pereira, died, PQP returned to Portugal to run a number of the legacy companies. In 1995, the privatized state bought control over Secil and CMP (Cimentos Maceira and Pataias, via Semapa.) The company was partly nationalized in 1975. Queiroz Pereira still sold 49% to Irish Irish from CRH, but eventually bought it after several conflicts that ended in an arbitration tribunal.
And this is a brand that leaves Queiroz Pereira as well. The businessman never accepted a defeat or a small dispute and was not afraid to buy wars, not even with the most powerful, as was seen in the case of Ricardo Salgado. He has appealed several times to the court to defend his interests and even sue the state when Portucel was summoned by the Treasury to pay taxes from the moment it was a state-controlled enterprise.
Although the family name is linked to the first luxury hotel in Portugal, the Ritz, Pedro Queiroz Pereira is mainly seen as an industrialist. It was through cement manufacturer Secil that he tried to take a bigger step than the leg when he launched a hostile takeover bid on the much larger Cimpor in 2000.
At the time the operation would cost more than 2.5 billion euros, PQP had to connect the Swiss group Holcim to buy and distribute the company. Semapa would occupy the international part of Cimpor. "We are very sorry to split Cimpor, but if I had not expected a takeover of a foreign company," said the businessman at the time.
The distribution of the assets of Cimpor by the two bidders served as an argument for the government of António Guterres to refuse to sell the stake that was still of the state. The opposition of political power was taken over by the then Minister of Finance, Pina Moura, who eventually handed over the reins of Cimpor to Teixeira Duarte and was subsequently supported by BCP. But Queiroz Pereira sold face to loss and maintained several legal wars. It was up to the court to try to show that Teixeira Duarte and BCP voted in the cement company, which, together with the interests of the two groups, would oblige them to launch a takeover bid.
He lost, but the time came to give reason to his vision for Cimpor. The financial vulnerability of the national shareholders ultimately threw the company into the arms of two Brazilian groups that took advantage of the crisis to buy Cimpor and to distribute the assets, leaving the only Portuguese multinational in a shadow of what it had been. . Already in 2014, when he was called to talk about BES, Queiroz Pereira recalled the case to illustrate the small political influence he had as an entrepreneur.
I could have a part of Cimpor today and I do not have it, showing that my political influence is zero, "
He went to Cimpor, but Queiroz Pereira would still make the most of his career when he fought in 2004 for the privatization of Portucel. At that time, the company was the most important private shareholder in the Sonae group. But Belmiro de Azevedo did not want to launch a public takeover bid on the pulp company, if he bought the capital that was still in the hands of the state, and eventually sold the shares he had to Pedro Queiroz Pereira.
Semapa competes with Altri by Paulo Fernandes, who already owns pulp farms, but wins by offering the highest price and launches the OPA after having spent more than 600 million euros to gain control over Portucel. But it was worth it, the company that is now called Navigator is growing with the investment of more than 500 million euros in a new plant in Setúbal, already planned for privatization, and with internationalization.
It strengthens its position as one of the largest Portuguese exporters, at a time when the domestic market is in recession. And in this moment of deep crisis, the pulp industry Semapa is helping to overcome the decline in the construction industry and Pedro Queiroz Pereira is one of the few Portuguese businessmen who has resisted the troika years.
The name is so inevitable that it appears in the press in connection with different business scenarios and business interests that are not met. Since a possible purchase of Galp, before Américo Amorim, by trying to launch a bid to save Cimpor from the Brazilian robbery in 2012, but that had to be financed by Caixa Geral de Depósitos. More recently, Semapa was associated with international funds that weighed on Portugal Telecom, a takeover that eventually was made by Altice.
In 2013, the war of wars between two of the largest Portuguese entrepreneurs was made public. Former allies, Queiroz Pereira and Ricardo Salgado are angry when the businessman suspects that the BES / GES leader wants to join his group and wants to steal his control. And he does not forgive Salgado's alliance with his sister Maud, who said in the BES parliamentary inquiry that he would have been tempted by the banker to stay with GES.
Queiroz Pereira paid little attention to public appearances or interventions in the media, but was head-on when he had something to say in defense of his business interests, as explained during the hearing of the committee of inquiry into BES.
When the Inquiry asked him about the intentions behind Salgado's support for his sister, Queiroz Pereira was caustic.
The Sisters of Salgado stay home at night to sell cakes and he has never bothered to defend them. & # 39;
In the fight against Ricardo Salgado, of whom he accused him of making his group a financier of the Espírito Santo Group such as Portugal Telecom, Queiroz Pereira is one of the first to discover the "rot" of the Espírito Santo Group that he knew in the form of participation shareholders that existed between the two companies. The businessman delivered an explosive dossier to Banco de Portugal in October 2013 with information about the financial difficulties of the companies of the GES Group, which was the largest shareholder of Banco Espírito Santo.
I was not happy that a company in this situation wanted to use mine as it had done with PT and I went to the Banco de Portugal. "
Queiroz Pereira himself admitted that the position of strength he took against the then almighty president of BES Salgado pushed an agreement that ended the shareholder conflict on Semapa at the end of 2013, which was mediated by Fernando Ulrich. The relative "peace" consists of the sale of the shares of Maud Queiroz Pereira to another sister (Margarida) and the sale of the holding of GES in the holdings of Semapa to Pedro Queiroz Pereira.
The episode marked the end of a relationship between the two families (Queiroz Pereira and Espírito Santo), which had lasted almost 80 years, but was not always peaceful. PQP, together with José Maria Ricciardi and Fernando Ulrich, will be one of the protagonists of the fall of BES in delivering to the Banco de Portugal a file full of evidence of the financial disaster of the management of Ricardo Salgado in the GES.
On the banker, Queiroz Pereira's statement was made famous by the BES Commission of Investigation when he described Salgado's response to the ownership of offshore companies buying Semapa shares, in default of the largest shareholder.
"Dr. Ricardo Salgado has a problem: do not deal with the truth perfectly." Offshores were him. "
Years later, in 2016, Pedro Queiroz Pereira shook back the company fabric of the country by threatening to cancel his investments in Portugal, following a decision by the government of António Costa, who had decided to stop the expansion of the eucalyptus area in the country. . country.
"We have to think twice and get drunk" before investing in Portugal, Pedro Queiroz Pereira said in one of his last interviews to Expresso in February 2016.
On the page of the Navigator is still a message online that Pedro Queiroz Pereira, as PCA of the newspaper, left to the shareholders with regard to the exercise of 2017. In this message PQP remembers exactly "the barriers and obstacles for the planting and replanting eucalyptus "a reference to the decision of the Costa government.
"Among the suppliers there are many tens of thousands of forest producers and service providers that are linked to logging and timber transport.With these producers, and with many of their associations, there is an intense history of cooperation aimed at overcoming some of the most serious problems that it faces. national forest: defective forestry methods, phytosanitary diseases, poorly adapted to edaphic climatic conditions, fires, lack of certification, "says the businessman.
This cooperation, carried out in a direct way and in collaboration with other entities, has made it possible for the forest of eucalyptus trees in Portugal to have a vitality that other sectors could achieve by replicating, introducing a competitive dynamic that would improve the modernization of the entire forest sector. It is what I would expect to see, and what would be beneficial if it were to happen. Instead of positive measures, however, barriers and obstacles to the planting and replanting of eucalyptus are announced, which are discriminated against in comparison with other forest grades, without economic or ecological justification.".
Thus PQP concludes in its message "they lose the companies" of the sector, which exacerbate their external competitive position, "and the country loses in the form of foreign exchange and job destruction."
I have to admit that this perspective is somewhat disappointing to me, because it forces me to conclude that instead of improving our endogenous factors of competitiveness, the lives of productive companies become more difficult and investments riskier. When protectionist barriers are reborn, in a more or less hidden form, a little everywhere, this artificial elimination of internal obstacles has been omitted. Certainly, this does not seem to be the way to avoid de-industrialization, "he concludes.
Recently, Navigator was shocked by the US anti-dumping duties on imports of pulp. The company, led by Diogo Silveira since 2014, will dispute the US courts, but warned a profit balloon of 45 million euros. The shares fell and the capital of the Queiroz Pereira family was provisionally smaller.
In May of this year, Semapa extended the board of directors for the next four-year period from eleven to fourteen members, three of whom were daughters of Queiroz Pereira. Already last year, PQP had prevented the & # 39; empire & # 39; would eventually fall apart, creating a private fund managed by his three daughters to control the estate. The businessman was still the chairman of the board of directors of Semapa, but the executive presidency was already in the hands of João Castello Branco.