Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal


The acquisition of one of Portugal’s biggest agricultural companies by Macau firm CESL Asia last year may yet be seen as a defining moment in the economic relationship between China, Portugal and the Macau SAR.

China’s population is around 1.4 billion people. And that is a lot of mouths to feed. So when a Macau investment and services firm acquired one of Portugal’s biggest agricultural companies a few months ago, the opportunities for the Middle Kingdom didn’t go unnoticed.

In October, CESL Asia, a Macau firm which aims to ‘foster a greener society’ and works with clients and partners to introduce ‘innovative and environmentally friendly solutions that help to minimize the environmental impacts arising from business activities’, acquired Portuguese farming group Monte do Pasto, Portugal’s largest beef producer, investing 40 million euros (MOP357 million) into 3,700 hectares of agricultural land in the south of the European country.

Monte do Pasto’s land, which lies in the municipalities of Cuba and Alvito in the Alentejo region, is mainly used as pasture for cattle. It lies close to Alqueva Dam, which constitutes one of the largest dams and artificial lakes in Western Europe, giving the fields excellent access to water. The company, which was established in 1981, has traditionally exported most of its beef as its cattle are ‘known for having very good genetics’.