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126 INDUSTRY TODAY
PROFILE • LIBRELATO
HE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS OF 2008 SPELLED
catastrophe for many companies. But for Librelato – a
Brazilian manufacturer of trailers, platforms, chassis
and other cargo truck products and accessories – it
provided an opportunity. “We decided not to reduce
any of our investments when the crisis hit,” reveals company
President José Carlos Librelato.
The decision wasn’t hard; after all, Brazil has already faced
many financial crises. “This was merely one more,” comments
Librelato,” and as it was with all of the others, we believed that
this would only be temporary.”
His optimism wasn’t misdirected or imprudent. “Brazil’s con-
struction segment was booming and foreign investment was still
strong,” he observes. “Our experience was also strong, so we
continued full speed ahead.”
Results can speak for themselves, but Librelato is happy to
describe the upshot. “Just look at what happened,” he enthuses.
“In 2008, we grew by 90 percent. The following year, we grew
by yet another 90 percent.”
RIDING THE INCOMING TIDE
After performing so well during tough economic times – and
bolstered by Brazil’s recovering economy – the company is gear-
ing up for even larger scale growth.
Traditionally, one of the company’s most important segments
is its civil construction center, which is headquartered in
Orleans, a town in the southern state of Santa Catarina. Recent
circumstances bolster Librelato’s position: Over the last few
years, spurred on by foreign investment, government incentive
programs, and increased buying power of Brazil’s lower socio-
economic classes, the country’s real estate segment has taken off
like never before. “Because of the enormous potential present in
Brazil, our civil construction branch has realized significant
growth in recent years,” says Librelato. “Unlimited opportuni-
ties present themselves between the upcoming 2016 Olympic
games and the 2014 World Cup tournament, as well as the gov-
ernments growth acceleration program,” says Librelato.
The second phase of that program – called PAC – involves the
investment of billions of U.S. dollars in areas ranging from
energy to housing and sanitation. “Again, this involves unlim-
ited opportunities, and all projects involve the erection of struc-
tures that, in turn, require the kind of transportation solutions
that we offer,” describes Librelato.
HISTORY OF INNOVATION
Founded in 1940 by Berto Librelato, the company actually began
life as a sawmill positioned in Santa Catarina’s interior. By the
mid-late 1960s, this modest family enterprise forayed into the
transportation segment when it began making wooden bodywork
and accessories for trucks at its newly constructed factory in
Orleans. Eventually, in the early 1990s, the company began pro-
ducing its own line of products (such as container chassis, trans-
port platforms, and tilt-off trailers for the transportation of rub-
ble and debris as well as specialized trailers for the transport of
specific goods).
Subsequently, Librelato’s product portfolio expanded enor-
mously to include hydraulic tilt trailers, tow trailers, dump and
transfer trailers, and mechanized waste disposal trailers, as well as
lightweight trailers on chassis. During the course of the company’s
evolution, its innovative designs and technology revolutionized it
market segment, specifically by introducing cutting-edge solu-
tions such as the first articulated semi-trailers (launched in 2000)