Please remind our audience of Grupo Reno’s current footprint and capabilities?
Founded in 1957 as a family business in Chile, Grupo Reno has grown into one of the largest distributors of solvents in the country, later expanding to Argentina, and six years ago, to Peru. This year, we opened a new operation in Paraguay, and we are also considering Colombia for next year. Within our territories, Grupo Reno has warehouses in Chile, Peru, and Argentina, with large capacities for both liquid and dry cargo.
Can you share more details about the new logistics centre in Santiago?
This will have a capacity of 7,000 cubic meters, with 35 tanks ready for the storage of non-dangerous and dangerous goods. The new plant is very modern, meeting all international standards of safety and sustainability.
Please elaborate on your expansion plans in the region?
Next year, we want to open a new operation in Colombia, while also doing ad-hoc work with various countries in Central America. Cultural, linguistic and geographical proximities, but also structural market gaps, especially in Colombia, create the perfect opportunity for us to tap into and replicate our tested model of operating in other countries in the region. Reflecting on our most recent international foray, Paraguay is a small market but full of opportunities in niche products. We expect the same in other countries we would like to serve.
How has your portfolio evolved recently?
The only way to grow in today’s contracted market is to increase product volumes and variety. We have around 140 products in stock in Chile, while in Peru, we have consistently augmented our participation with new products in new markets, from the paints industry to the personal care industry. We have a clear strategy of diversification within our business – instead of focusing on one market, we prefer to have a varied presence in many small markets. Currently, not one sector has more than 10% of our focus, so we are extremely balanced.
What is the investment mood in Chile today?
Demand slowed down across all industries, and prices followed. The situation is complex, but we have been able to maintain stable growth by developing new segments and managing bigger volumes. Politics impacts the economy here in Chile, and neither are particularly positive today; we don’t see a change in the right direction anytime soon. In recent months, we had a few of our big customers closing production in the country. Because Chile is an open economy, some manufacturers prefer to import rather than produce locally, which is a big challenge to distributors.
Have you noticed a preference from your clients for sustainable or green solvents?
In practice, no, we have not felt this preference, but I must say we do feel a general anxiety in the markets for products that have a cleaner or greener profile, and some clients are starting to favor those partners that can show a sustainability strategy. At Reno, we have taken a clear path toward sustainability. We are now in the third year of EcoVadis certification, with a bronze badge, from where we want to upgrade in the future. Grupo Reno has a team exclusively dedicated to environmental, social, and governance compliance at the highest international levels.
Grupo Reno has also assigned an area for the conservation of the natural environment. Could you comment on this?
In the surroundings of the Viña del Mar, Reno has a protected area of about 25 hectares of Chilean palm trees, as part of our commitment to the environment. We wanted to be a part of the conservation efforts to protect this threatened species that can live up to 1,000 years and stand up to 30 meters tall. It was an important cause for us to play a part in protecting this indigenous species, and, with it, Chile’s natural heritage.
What are your objectives for 2024?
Grupo Reno has a very well-established position in Chile and Peru, and we want to further strengthen our position in Paraguay and then start building a footprint in Colombia. Other big focuses for next year will be to continue to improve the competitiveness of our products, as well as push forward with our sustainability agenda in the areas of biodiversity conservation and improved efficiencies.
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