Julio Villareal on the steel sector | Grupo Villacero | Video
The New Economy interviews Julio Villareal, Chairman and CEO of Villacero, on its growth from a small Mexican operator to an international leaderShow transcript
Today Villacero is a global company, working at every level in the value chain of the steel industry – but when it was founded in 1955 it was just a small distributor of products, serving industries in its hometown of Monterrey, Mexico. Julio Villareal discusses the company’s journey into the international markets: starting with an advance into the US in 1980, to its truly global subsidiary operations today.
The New Economy: Julio Villareal Many congratulations on receiving the New Economy award for Best Corporate Citizen, Mexico 2012. What is the position Villacero in the worldwide steel market?
Julio Villareal: Villacero is a global company with a mission to strengthen the steel industry’s value chain. This means generating added value to its products and services while minimising economic risks t throughout the production process.The industry, consumers, service providers and the financial sector regard Villacero as an excellent partner. Villacero is an active participant in the entire value chain, providing optimal comprehensive solutions through the minimisation of risks in the products that the steel industry requires. This is accomplished thanks to Villacero’s significant investments and its vast network, supported by the most advanced technology and a professional and experienced administration of issues related to finance, logistics and international trade, whilst ensuring a strict adherence to the most ethical business practices.
The New Economy: How has Villacero expanded in to international markets?
Julio Villareal: Villacero has been present in international markets for over 30 years. The company has placed special emphasis on its growth as a response to the needs of its customers and suppliers, recognising the importance of driving the activities that distinguish it towards the international arena. Since the early 1980s, Villacero took the first step of its expansion when it directed its attention towards our neighbours to the north, the US. Today, Villacero has an important presence in the US and global markets. One of the most important steps Villacero has taken in its globalisation expansion happened in 1999, when the company grew its operations towards Europe, specifically to the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, Germany, where a partnership with Coutinho Caro & Co. was established in order to expand its presence in international markets. It did so through the creation of CCC Steel, with which Villacero, just like The Beatles, found favourable conditions for the development of its global activities. The expansion process was consolidated in 2008 when Villacero decided to merge its steel trading activities to create Coutinho & Ferrostal (C&F), an independent steel trading company with an efficient and professional staff. Although it’s still a relatively new company, its origins can be traced back to 1984. C&F is present throughout 58 cities in 34 different countries, such as the UK, the US, Germany, China, Singapore, India and Brazil, among others.
The New Economy: So what are Villacero’s future investment plans?
Julio Villareal: Currently, Villacero is immersed in an investment process which started in 2011 and s expected to run until 2015, with the goal of providing a wider array of products and services to its customers.
The New Economy: And what about the companies plans in foreign markets?
Julio Villareal: As was previously mentioned, C&F has an important presence in most regions of the world. What we currently seek is to consolidate this global presence with the fine-tuning of a regional business model that strengthens the bond with our customers and suppliers. This requires the establishment of a structure based on geographic and strategic regions, and incorporating other products and raw materials as well as regional logistics and financial services. Our objective is to consolidate the sustained growth of our customers and suppliers, optimising their costs and increasing the added value of the products and services they offer in their natural markets.
The New Economy: So what’s the relationship between Villacero and the community?
Julio Villareal: In Villacero we have an ongoing commitment with our community. Our social responsibility and environmental protection programmes are a clear example of this, as is the support we provide for the welfare of our employees and their families in order to create an optimal working environment in which they have opportunities to continue excelling in their personal and professional development. This commitment was reflected in the creation of the Villacero Foundation, founded in 1988. It’s mission is to contribute to the comprehensive development of Mexican society, providing a better quality life for its citizens, creating an optimal environment and better employment opportunities, supporting education, culture and social well-being.
The New Economy: And the Villacero Foundation is a major patron of the arts?
Julio Villareal: That’s right. As part of its goal to improve quality of life in our society Villacero promotes culture and the arts. The Villacero Foundation has organised various exhibitions to bring people closer to the talents and efforts of world-renowned artists. Over the past seven years, the Foundation has organised 14 steel sculpture exhibitions in eight countries. In 2012 there will be an exhibit in Santiago, Chile. The Villacero Foundation is the main reason we are here in this great city of London receiving this award. This distinction is an acknowledgement of the people, institutions, and companies of the steel industry that have participated alongside Villacero and its people throughout these years in promoting the arts, creating a tight bond between economic development and society, with the objective of improving quality of life. I’d like to express my personal thanks to each and every one of them.
The New Economy: Julio Villareal, thank you very much
Julio Villareal: Thank You.