View all news

Brazilians head to SCU


Steve Spinks
28 July 2014
Southern Cross University will host a delegation of 20 entrepreneurs from Brazilian civil construction cooperative, Coopercon, at the Gold Coast campus today (Monday, July 28).

Stakeholders from the University, Engineers Australia, the Asset Institute and the Gold Coast City Council will join with the delegation for a symposium on ‘Engineering Asset Management: Cross Country Business Opportunities’.

Coopercon, a US$1.45 billion a year juggernaut, was the first civil construction cooperative in Brazil, much like farmers cooperatives operate in Australia, and has been operating for 16 years. The delegation is touring Japan and Australia inspecting business opportunities.

Professor Yvonne Brunetto, from the Southern Cross Business School who is organising the symposium, said the civil construction cooperative was a unique business.

“We have never seen anything like this in Australia so it will be interesting to talk to them about how the structure works,” she said.

“They are looking for new business opportunities throughout Japan and Australia and the symposium we have organised will help them understand the best practice in engineering in Australia and best practice in business management in Australia.”

Coopercon focuses mainly on the north-east region of Brazil. Its main role is being a market regulatory agent, controlling the prices of products and consumables of the civil construction industry.

This process takes place through collective negotiations where large purchase volumes guarantee members the best prices in both the domestic and global markets.

Coopercon’s portfolio includes two steel processing plants for the construction industry with an annual volume of 30,000 tonnes of steel and a vertical transport equipment rental company. Coopercon is also designing as well as constructing a waste recycling plant.

In general numbers, Coopercon and its members have an overall turnover of 3.5 billion reals (about US$1.45 billion). The cooperative comprises the largest 94 construction companies in north-east Brazil, providing services to 353 construction sites which add up to more than 33,000 employees. This volume represents 90 per cent of the construction industry gross domestic product in the state of Ceara.

Photo: SCU's Gold Coast campus.