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Focus: 25 years in Brazil

May 29, 2002, 01:00 CEST

Since the start-up 25 years ago, Hydro's activities in Brazil have grown significantly.

With current domestic sales of USD 250 million, total exports of USD 250 million, 13 locations and 1,100 employees, Hydro has become an important player in Brazil.

The company holds a market share of 12 percent in the aluminum business in Brazil and an estimated market share of 9 percent in the Brazilian fertilizer market. Hydro is also considering Brazil as a possible area for future oil and gas activities.

Norsk Hydro opened shop in Brazil in 1977 in Rio de Janeiro as Hydro Comércio & Indústria Ltda., three years after its first investment – a 5 percent stake in the bauxite mines of Mineração Rio do Norte in Trombetas, Pará.

The first order of business back then was to gain a foothold for Hydro and Qatar Fertilizer Co. (Qafco) in the Brazilian fertilizer market, not only one of the biggest fertilizer markets in the world but at that time also a major market for urea imports. Hydro had a 25 percent stake in Qafco, and marketed its entire urea production. In addition, the Rio office looked after Hydro’s interest in MRN.

In 1983, Hydro decided to move its activities to São Paulo, where most fertilizer importers were located. Besides, the state of São Paulo was the biggest market for imported fertilizers in the country, including urea, says Audun Sørbotten, the Hydro Agri executive who pioneered Hydro’s foray into Brazil.

Well aware of the importance of cooperation with local business, the newcomer courted national producers and importers. The company was already cooperating with Adubos Trevo, one of its long-time Brazilian customers. In 2000, almost a quarter of a century later, Hydro took control of the Porto Alegre-based company, which now proudly displays two logos: Adubos Trevo and Hydro.

Today, Hydro’s ambition in Brazil remains the same: To grow in the fertilizer and aluminium markets in Brazil.