Bridging gaps since 2009


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«The Brazil-Norway connection is stronger than ever, especially within subsea development and R&D», says Jan Lomholdt (to the left) and Erik Hannisdal, representing M&O Partners.

M&O Partners marks its 10 year anniversary and now prepares for a new growth cycle.

M&O Partners was founded in Rio de Janeiro in 2009, as part of the Inventure Management group with the objective of being the preferred partner for foreign maritime and offshore companies wanting to do business in Brazil.

This year, the company marks its 10 year anniversary, and although it has been a bumpy road, managing partners Erik Hannisdal and Jan Lomholdt have a lot to celebrate: The M&O portfolio counts clients from 16 different countries, and currently the company has about 50 companies on the client list. Since 2009, about 80 companies have used M&O´s services to establish and grow in Brazil.

«M&O offers technical sales support, development of business strategies and market opportunities and local company or subsidiary establishment for international companies. Norwegian company Kongsberg do Brasil was one of our first clients, that we assisted in developing their subsidiary here», says Erik Hannisdal.

Today, M&O Partners offers a platform of services ranging from business development and management for hire services as a core activity, to accounting, R&D, logistical services, representation and sale support, and strategic partnerships. M&O Partners is managing and co-owning companies like ISDB (ex-SINTEF), Ulstein Belga Marine and OSEP (Industrial Base in Macaé).

«Being founded by Norwegians, it is only natural that a majority of the clients are Scandinavian. Currently about 35 percent are Norwegian. But these last couple of years, we have changed our strategies and established offices in Norway, USA and Singapore, and the ambition is to grow internationally. Our business model has been successful in Brazil and we want to increase our presence globally», says Jan Lomholdt.

Change of strategy
The 10 year anniversary will be duly marked during OTC Brazil later this month and also through social events and a celebration for the M&O staff. Currently, the group has about 50 employees.

«2019 will be our best year since the crisis hit in 2015. A lot has changed in 10 years, and surviving the crisis and repositioning ourselves in the market, is our biggest achievement. Before 2015, it was all about local content and the ship building activities in Brazil were soaring. This all ended with the crisis, and we had to come up with a new strategy. We changed focus from capex to opex, from shipyards to offshore, drilling and E&P. Things are looking better now, but suppliers are still waiting for the market to turn, and I believe it will take some time before the whole value chain will see results», says Mr. Lomholdt.

Be persistent
The crisis that was caused by corruption scandals and a steep fall in the oil prices, hit many stakeholders very hard, and many are still sceptic to giving Brazil a new try. This is something that both Erik Hannisdal and Jan Lomholdt can relate to. Today, they are both optimistic though, and look forward to the next ten years. Recent reforms have made the market more dynamic and more diversified, paving the way for new players. Huge investments are on the way from companies like Exxon, Shell and Equinor.

«We managed to keep our clients through the crisis, and we are very proud that we are attracting global players with our services. This proves our strength in the market. To us at M&O, the most important lesson learned is that you have to be persistent, and not give up. In a volatile market, we have also seen the importance of offering flexibility to our clients» says Jan Lomholdt.
«M&O Partners is prepared and very well positioned. We have started hiring new people now, and we expect to see more sustainable growth in the market this time around. The Brazilian market might be the most complicated market in the world, but it is still the place to be for the offshore industry. The Brazilian market is also more competitive and more compliant than ever before, As an energy nation, Brazil is also much more than oil. There are huge opportunities in natural gas and also renewables going forward», says Erik Hannisdal.

By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist