CESL Asia – returning to Portugal
CESL Asia is a Macau company of Portuguese origin and capital. Since 1987, it has engaged in consulting and operation in the energy and environment sectors, has 450 employees, and posts a turnover of approximately US$40 million.
For more than 40 years, CESL Asia has been linked to projects as diverse as the Solid Waste Incineration Plant, Taipa and Coloane Wastewater Treatment Plants, Macau Airport (Facilities Management), Lotus Flower Bridge, and the Integrated Resorts of The Venetian Macao, City of Dreams, Galaxy Macau and Wynn Macau (facilities Management).
In 2012, the company began investing in Portugal. In particular, it has invested some 15 million euros in three solar power plants in the south of the country.
“From our base in Macau and in association with CPV technology company in China, and with the support of our team in Portugal, we are now evaluating opportunities for solar investments in Portugal, Spain and Latin American markets,” said CEO Antonio Trindade.
This year, CESL Asia finalised an agreement to buy the largest Portuguese cattle-breeding firm, Monte do Pasto, for some MOP367 million.
Using its bases in Macau and Portugal, the firm wants to facilitate business for Chinese investors looking to do business in Portuguese-speaking countries.
Kevin Ho – much more than a nephew
At the end of 2017, the name of businessman and manager Kevin Ho jumped to the front pages in Portugal. Even in Macau few knew of Edmund Ho’s nephew. But in November of that year his name was trumpeted with great fanfare upon his acquisition of 30 per cent of Global Media Group, a media pillar of Portugal.
Through its subsidiary KNJ Investment, Ho invested MOP135 million in the company.
Two years on the situation has not improved for Global Media, with public revelations of financial difficulties involving debt repayments and salaries in arrears. Regardless, Kevin Ho told Macau Business in April that he is “fully committed” and “more confident” than ever. Meanwhile, he has just purchased a building for MOP87 million in Porto, the second city, which he will convert into a hotel.
The presentation of this and other investments that Kevin Ho has planned for Portugal in the coming years – in excess of MOP630 million – was one of the highlights of the visit that Chief Executive Chui Sai On made this year to Portuguese primary cities.
The MOP630 million will be spent in different areas but mainly in real estate.
Stanley Ho/STDM – the biggest
Stanley Ho was, is, and will, for many years, be the largest investor from Macau in Portugal.
The history of STDM’s strongman with Portugal remains to be written but it is almost 40 years old – when he was granted the concession of what is still Europe’s largest casino, Estoril.
A sole concessionaire of gambling in Macau, by dint of the Portuguese authorities, Stanley Ho made a point of investing in Portugal, whether for the value of the business or to help, as he made a point of many times. Politicians asked him for help when they wanted a trustworthy investor, and he rarely said no . . .
His relationship with Portugal goes back much further than his business, with his first wife being granted Portuguese residency and his son Robert (his designated successor in STDM) a fatality of a car accident in Portugal.
Over these 40 years Stanley Ho has invested in businesses in Portugal as diverse as cement and banking.
Currently, STDM interests are limited to two gambling concessions (Estoril and Póvoa de Varzim) and to the Stanley Ho Foundation (which manages family real estate assets) while other real estate assets are managed by a foundation bearing his name.
Tin Min Jade – wine
The most unknown of the companies of Macau with investments in Portugal.
Tin Min Jade is a jade shop in Macau Fisherman’s Wharf owned by Wu Zhiwei, who is also a property developer in the territory and Mainland China, where he has tea plantations and other businesses.
In Macau Wu is best known as a Macau Deputy in the Political Consultative Conference of Anhui Province (alongside Kevin Ho) and is also chairman of the Macau-Anhui Chamber of Commerce.
Wu is a discreet businessman who since 2016 has been making several investments in Portugal. In that year, Wu and his wife, Lao Chao Peng, acquired Quinta da Marmeleira, an agricultural estate on the outskirts of Lisbon dedicated mainly to the production of wine. Shortly after the purchase Wu and Lao created a new company at the same address of the same name, designated for imports and exports. The company’s corporate purpose is not only agricultural production (including wine) but hotel activities and the stone carving trade (jade . . .).
Mr. Wu wants to sell the wine he produces in Portugal in Macau.
ICBC – via Macau!
No, it’s not a mistake . . .
The largest bank in the world by total assets, and one of the four largest in China, appears on this list of companies in Macau investing in Portugal.
When it decided to open a branch in Portugal, ICBC did so not via Beijing or Hong Kong but through its dependence upon Macau, the legal entity responsible for the Portuguese bank.
A simple fact seems to explain this choice of ICBC: when ICBC bought Stanley Ho’s Seng Heng Bank it inherited a permit to open a representative office.
Hence, the evolution to a branch (2012) was a logical step, not least because the Chinese giant was involved in some of the great deals that Chinese companies made in Portugal in the last decade such as the purchase by China Three Gorges of 21.35 per cent of EDP.
ICBC was the first Chinese bank to open its doors in Portugal, quickly followed by Bank of China.