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INDUSTRY TODAY 83
ESMALTEC • PROFILE
T’S QUITE FITTING THAT ESMALTEC IS CURRENTLY
the number-one manufacturer of stoves in Brazil. Forty
years ago, when the company first began producing this
essential kitchen appliance, it was an industry pioneer.
Today, 98 percent of Brazilians cook on gas stoves.
However, in 1963, when Esmaltec was founded in Fortaleza,
capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Ceará, gas was a
rarity. Back then most Brazilians – particularly those in the tra-
ditionally poor northeast – still used wood-burning stoves.
EXPANDING INTO NEW LINES
“When we started out, our mission was to promote the use of gas
in Brazil,” remembers Annette de Castro, Esmaltec’s chief exec-
utive officer. The company began by producing kitchen gas
cylinders (used to supply gas to stoves, these are sold individu-
ally to consumers throughout Brazil). Within a year, the com-
pany launched its first line of stoves. “We were instrumental in
developing the gas stove category throughout Ceará and the
northeast states,” adds de Castro.
By the 1980s, having consolidated its presence in terms of
stoves, Esmaltec began adding new product lines – water cool-
ers, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, and microwaves
– expanding its portfolio until it had a complete selection of
“linha branca” items (in Brazil, “white line” refers to electro-
domestic appliances that have traditionally been finished with
white enamel). In 2002, aiming to expand beyond the northeast
and stake a claim to the national market, Esmaltec moved into a
new 753,000-square-foot facility located on a 36-hectare site
outside of Fortaleza. Today, in regards to the appliance segment,
the facility is considered one of the most modern in all of
Latin America.
The move gave the company room to expand its existing lines
and ramp up production capacity (its present total monthly out-
put is 300,000 units). As a result, it doubled its market share,
becoming not only the top manufacturer of stoves in the coun-
try, but the leading maker of water coolers as well (garnering 55
percent of the market). With its products now widely and evenly
distributed throughout the country, in recent years Esmaltec has
enjoyed average annual growth rates of 15 percent. Revenues
also have been steadily heating up; this year the company
expects to earn R$659 million (roughly US$388 million).
CATERING TO CUSTOMERS
From its start, the company leveraged growth by knowing
who its final customers are and catering to their specific needs.
“One of the big factors that distinguishes us in the marketplace
A PIONEERING
BRAZILIAN
MANUFACTURER OF
GAS STOVES, ESMALTEC
HAS GROWN INTO THE
COUNTRY’S LEADING
PRODUCER OF THESE
ESSENTIAL APPLIANCES
WHILE EXPANDING ITS
PORTFOLIO TO
INCLUDE EVERY OTHER
ELECTRO-DOMESTIC
ITEM IMAGINABLE.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE
OFFICER ANNETTE DE
CASTRO DESCRIBES TO
MICHAEL SOMMERS
HOW INGREDIENTS
SUCH AS COMPETITIVE
PRICING STRATEGIES
AND ADDED
VALUE FEATURES
HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO
THE CEARÁ-BASED
COMPANY’S RECIPE
FOR SUCCESS.