2019 is most welcome, according to an upbeat crowd at the NBCC Christmas Lounge on December 5, 2018
94 people from 46 member companies found their way to the event. The Norwegian General Consul Sissel Hodne Steen, colleagues fro the Consulate General and NGO Dream Learn Work were also present.
The great turnout at the networking lounge is a clear indication of the fact that 2018 has been a good year for the Norwegian Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has 126 associates and now see companies that were forced to leave, returning.
«It has been a very good year to NBCC, and the increased number of associates also increases our responsibility. NBCC represents an important community to the growing, Brazilian oil and gas sector. Companies from other sectors are also joining us and we intend to continue providing our associates with valuable events and networking arenas. This is our main challenge for 2019», says NBCC president Rachid Felix.
He expects 2019 to be another challenging year financially and even business-wise. The business environment has however improved.
«We have had three-four very difficult years and I believe we hit rock bottom in 2018. At the same time we are now seeing important regulatory changes, especially in the oil and gas industry, where big investors are firming their commitment. This happened even before the election, and has created expectations of future business opportunities. New doors are opening, and the way forward looks brighter.»
In his view, heavy political reforms are required, but the result expected is a more open, efficient society.
«My message is a message of optimism, that the difficulties were worth it. If not in 2019, in the following years there will be vigorous growth and new opportunities, in a more open, transparent and demanding society where more stakeholders are allowed to take part», Mr. Felix said.
Francisco Siestrup, Managing Director of DOLPHIN Drilling Brasil, represents one of the latest additions to NBCC. DOLPHIN Drilling Brasil joined the chamber this month.
With the crisis the company practically closed down all activities in Brazil, but now they are chasing new contracts.
«At this event tonight we meet our competition, our clients and our suppliers. It is a very nice environment and the Norwegian Brazilian business community is proactive and very positive in my view. I have worked with Norwegian companies since 2011, and I enjoy the working environment and the simplicity very much. I canÂ´t say for sure what will happen in 2019, but I am convinced that Brazil will rise, and particularly the oil and gas industry, which is going through a historic moment. I am very anxious to set up my old team and resume activities. All we need is a drilling contract», Mr. Siestrup says.
Marianne Terland Nilsen, Managing Director of marine and offshore paint and coatings producer Jotun, appreciates the chance to meet with colleagues and friends from the Norwegian Brazilian business community in Rio, as the turbulent year of 2018 is coming to an end.
«It is very important to have these arenas for networking where we can meet outside the office and talk about more than just business. Strong relations to your business partners are important all over the world, but maybe even more important here in Brazil», she says.
2018 has been a challenging year for Jotun. The low activity level in the market and the currency variations and depreciation of the Brazilian real, hit Jotun quite hard, but now, all is looking brighter.
«December has been a busy month for Jotun and that makes us very happy and hopeful that 2019 will be an equally positive year for Jotun and for Brazil. Hopefully, the problems are now behind us. We note a positive development in the offshore market and clear signs of increased activities», Marianne Terland Nilsen says.
The NBCC Christmas Lounge Networking took place at the Assador Rio´s restaurant on Aterro do Flamengo on December 5, 2018.
Board member Tom Mario Ringseth also took the opportunity to remember a dear friend, Mr. Harald Martinsen, who passed away in November. He was BNCC´s president since 2013 and fundamental for the foundation of NBCC. His enthusiasm will be missed.
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By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist