Carla Santos
General Manager of Mapei Portugal

Portugal's reduced public debt and improved credit rating have boosted its investment appeal. The construction market is evolving, embracing new technologies, sustainable products, and off-site building solutions. Mapei Portugal is involved in key infrastructural projects. A new manufacturing plant and new products cater to the needs of Portugal's growing construction industry, with a focus on restoration, sustainability, and innovation.

In recent years, Portugal has been one of the most virtuous countries in the European Union. The reduction of public debt has boosted the nation’s credibility. Does this mean more favourable conditions for those who want to invest in the country?

The reduction in the ratio of public debt to GDP, which fell below 100% at the end of 2023, together with the decrease in the national public deficit and strong economic growth, was instrumental in securing Portugal an upgrade in its credit rating by the three most important agencies (Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's). 
So, after 12 years, Portugal is once again an A-rated nation, and this has certainly boosted its credibility on a global scale. Having regained its status among nations with low levels of debt means lower interest rates for the Portuguese households and companies.
Overall, Portugal’s sustained economic growth trajectory has instilled confidence in its prospects, positioning the country favourably among global investors and contributing to its status as a stable and attractive destination for investments.

How has the construction market changed in recent years and what are the prospects and trends in the short to medium term?

The Portuguese construction industry has indeed changed a lot in recent years, having to face many challenges such as the disruption of the global supply chain, fluctuations in energy costs caused by geopolitical tensions and the impact of inflation, which has reached very high levels. The resilience and solidity of our construction industry has been instrumental in precisely tackling these problems, strengthening the role of construction as a pillar of the Portuguese economy and a driver of growth and development.
As in the rest of the world, the adoption of new technologies is fundamental to the development of the Portuguese construction industry, as well as the development of innovative solutions and the research and use of more eco-sustainable products and more efficient construction methods.  
Energy efficiency is also crucial in view of the targets set by the European Union for the reduction of CO2 emissions related to the construction industry's activities. Protocols and certification systems related to sustainability in construction such as LEED and BREEAM are also increasingly used in Portugal. 
Now that the availability and costs of raw materials are stabilising, Portugal still has to deal with the long-term issue of labour shortages, particularly skilled labour, and the ever-increasing costs involved. This difficulty, combined with the need to keep down expenses and meet deadlines, has prompted the market to develop off-site building solutions, which allow construction work to be carried out away from building sites. 
This is a fast-growing trend in Portugal, favoured by improved industrial processes that allow the entire building process to be monitored efficiently.
Real estate companies will become increasingly important in the short term for carrying out building projects in Portugal. Many renovation/redevelopment projects on historical buildings will be completed, as well as numerous new builds in the housing, tourism and industrial sectors.
Many renovation/redevelopment projects on historical buildings will be completed in Portugal, as well as numerous new builds in the housing, tourism and industrial sectors.

Which building sectors are considered the most promising and interesting for Mapei Portugal?

Forecasts for the building industry in Portugal indicate sustained growth in 2024: the sector will continue to contribute to the national economy with a growth rate of around +3%.
The housing sector, which is the most affected by financial issues, has been the focus of several measures as part of the Portuguese National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) to counter the discrepancy between a lack of supply and high demand, especially in major cities like Lisbon and Porto.
The civil engineering sector will continue to be dynamic, benefiting from investment linked to European Union funds, especially as part of programmes like the Portuguese NRRP and “Portugal 2030”, a partnership agreement between our country and the European Commission that will see 23 billion euros allocated for boosting and strengthening the Portuguese economy.
Infrastructure projects currently in the pipeline include extensions to railway lines in various regions, an extension to the Lisbon and Porto undergrounds and, by the end of 2024, work on improving operations at Lisbon airport. Mapei is involved in a number of these infrastructural projects, contributing, for example, to the construction of a new bridge over Douro River, which will complete the Porto underground network by supplying products such as polyurea-based waterproofing membranes from the PURTOP range and protective wall coatings from the ELASTOCOLOR line. 
Besides, Portugal is now a popular tourist destination for travellers from all over the world, and in 2023 it broke the record for the number of visitors set in 2019. This means the building and renovation of tourist facilities are now strategic targets.
The national health care system and all its facilities are also the focus of new public investment. 
On the other hand, private hospitals are also booming, and we are witnessing a proliferation of private medical facilities throughout the country due to the limitations of the national health care service.
Mapei is involved in a number of infrastructural projects, such as a new bridge over Douro River.

Mapei has opened a new manufacturing plant: can you explain what it will manufacture, and which lines of Mapei products it will cater for?

The increase in production capacity will allow us to respond adequately to the needs of the Portuguese market, improving our range of offer and raising the level of our services. The new plant will also allow us to expand our portfolio of locally manufactured products, which is very important on a market where price is still a key factor.  
At the heart of our plans is the range of products for installing ceramic tiles: we expect a significant rise in sales of cementitious adhesives after launching KERAFLEX XX ZERO at the beginning of the year, which was a big hit with our customers, especially in relation to the introduction of “fully offset CO2 emissions**”.
Equally important for us is the ZERO line of mortars for repairing concrete: a strategic range that will allow us to help boost the Portuguese building industry, which is, first and foremost, infrastructure-driven, as indicated by the industry figures for 2023. 
Another key project for us is the start of manufacturing activities for the MAPE-ANTIQUE line of products adapted to the specific needs of the Portuguese market. We expect this range to play a part in numerous restoration, renovation and redevelopment projects, particularly on historic buildings.
A new Mapei Portugal manufacturing unit was officially opened in Cantanhede on 13th March, 2024.

Portugal has an important historical and artistic heritage. Does renovation and restoration work open up new business opportunities for Mapei?

Portugal has a cultural heritage of enormous prestige, thanks to all its monuments and historical buildings. The renovation and rehabilitation of the artistic/historical heritage plays an important role in the Portuguese building industry and contributes to the protection of our cultural heritage, while ensuring economic growth and sustainable development. 
Mapei is now recognised in the Portuguese industry as a provider of reliable, high-quality products for this type of projects, thanks partly to our contribution to the completion of many renovation projects over recent years. 

For example, we recently took part in the renovation of the National Conservatory of Lisbon with Mapei supplying products for consolidating masonry, such as MAPE-ANTIQUE STRUTTURALE NHL.

For the past few years, you have been General Manager of Mapei Portugal. One of the few women at the head of a company in the building industry.

I am very proud to be General Manager of Mapei Portugal. I have been working in the building industry for 25 years and I have had the chance to do various jobs from operations to sales. I am highly motivated to lead the growth of our company and to strengthen its position as a reliable brand in the Portuguese building industry.
Mapei Portugal's strength lies in its people: we are a team that stands out for its notable dedication, ambition and courage in facing everyday challenges. We believe that a closely knit and highly motivated team will enable us to achieve all our goals. We are also determined to enhance the skills and specialisation of our team members so we can keep on adding value to the Portuguese building industry with the help of innovative products and high-quality services.
Our success is also based on the close relationship we have with our clients and business partners. Our deep understanding of their needs and market developments means we can set up partnerships enabling both us and our clients to grow.
Looking to the future, we are determined to map out a very definite trajectory of growth for Mapei in Portugal by remaining faithful to our values and continuing to encourage an ongoing culture of cooperation and innovation.
Residential complexes, tourist facilities, hospitals: building drives economic growth
A gala dinner with Mapei Portugal staff closed the celebrations for the new plant in Cantanhede.

A new plant to extend the range of products

Mapei has been operating in Portugal for more than twenty years: it was 2001 when the Group's Portuguese subsidiary, then called Lusomapei, started to supply its materials to the building industry in this country and some African nations. Since then, facilities, human resources and sales have continued to grow: in 2002, manufacturing began in a plant in Anadia in the north of the country, and in 2008 the company's headquarters and a distribution centre were opened in Castanheira do Ribatejo. In the meantime, Mapei products have grown in popularity on the Portuguese market, contributing to the completion of important construction, restoration and redevelopment projects, such as those on the Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Fatima, the subways of Porto and Lisbon, the football stadiums for Euro 2004, the hospitals in Vila Franca de Xira and Braga, the "Factory of Words" library in Vila Franca de Xira and the Prata Living Concept housing complex in Lisbon designed by Renzo Piano.
The opening of a new manufacturing unit in Cantanhede on 13th March is just the latest milestone in the trajectory of growth of the company that was renamed "Mapei Portugal" last year to emphasise its relationships with the Group. The event was attended by Marco Squinzi, CEO of the Mapei Group, Simona Giorgetta, Member of the Mapei Board of Directors, and Carla Santos, General Manager of Mapei Portugal.
The plant, which involved an investment of 13 million Euro, covers a surface area of 26,500 m², 12,000 m² of which indoors, and is equipped with cutting-edge technology that will enable the Portuguese subsidiary to boost its manufacturing output, expand its product range and improve customer services. The complex also houses the Mapei Academy, a facility serving Mapei's training purposes, which include seminars, courses, workshops, tutorials and webinars for designers, installers and retailers.
From left: The opening ceremony of the new Mapei plant in Portugal was attended by Marco Squinzi, CEO of the Mapei Group, Carla Santos, General Manager of Mapei Portugal, and Simona Giorgetta, Member of the Board of Directors of the Mapei Group

Mapei World Lisbon: closer to project designers

There are many means by which Mapei Portugal ensures constant support for professionals of the building industry. In addition to training events through the Mapei Academy, the subsidiary's commitment to the world of design is best exemplified by Mapei World Lisbon: an exclusive showroom in the heart of Lisbon that enables designers and architects to take advantage of all Mapei’s know-how when working on their projects or drawing up specifications. This "sister" facility to other similar spaces that Mapei has in Paris, London and Milan makes expert technicians available and displays specific products for many realms of application (from laying resin-based and cementitious floors and repairing concrete to restoring masonry and creating sports surfaces), offering visitors a unique experience. In addition to displays showing product systems and technical documentation, many iconic architectural projects carried out using the company's materials are showcased at Mapei World Lisbon. Its official opening on 25th January helped strengthening Mapei's ties with the world of design. On 13th March Carlo Formosa, the then Italian Ambassador to Portugal, Simona Giorgetta (Member of the Mapei Board of Directors) and Marco Squinzi (CEO of the Group) visited Mapei World Lisbon.


The Year it was founded
Million Euros
Manufacturing Plant
Mapei World Lisbon
On 13th March, 2024 Carlo Formosa, the then Italian Ambassador to Portugal, Simona Giorgetta (Member of the Mapei Board of Directors) and Marco Squinzi (CEO of the Group) visited Mapei World Lisbon.

From trade fairs to sport: showcasing the Mapei brand 

Mapei Portugal is also very active in the field of marketing and communication. It regularly takes part in leading industry events, such as Lisbon Food Affair, an exhibition that provides a hub for the entire farm-food sector in Portugal, or the 1st edition of the National Architecture Awards "Espaço" 2023, which aims to reward excellence in Portuguese architectural projects, and also Urban Regeneration Week held every year in Porto. That is also why, at the beginning of 2024, the Portuguese subsidiary was made "Brand no. 1 in the choice of professionals" for the second year in the "Chemical products for building" category by "Consumer Choice", a system that evaluates the satisfaction and acceptability ratings of brands. 

Mapei Portugal also stands out in sport and has always sponsored teams, athletes and events. This year it was the turn of “FigueiraChampions/Casino Figueira”, an event that featured the “Figueira Champions Classic” race for professional cyclists held on 10th February, and “Figueira Champions Day”, which gave many amateurs the chance to ride on the same route in Figueira da Foz along the coast of central Portugal on Sunday 11th February.

*This product is manufactured and distributed on the Portogues market by Mapei Portugal.

**These products are part of the CO2 Fully Offset in the Entire Life Cycle line of products. CO2 emissions measured throughout the life cycle of products from the Zero line in 2024 using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, verified and certified with EPDs, are offset through the acquisition of certified carbon credits in support of forestry protection projects. 

Mapei Portugal sponsored the cycling event “FigueiraChampions/ Casino Figueira” on 10th and 11th February
Carla Santos
General Manager of Mapei Portugal
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Products for ceramics and stone material
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