There’s a lot of positive talk about Brazil once again. Stocks in Latin America’s largest economy are hot right now, and they are getting hotter. Brazilian equities have increased by 15 percent in the first two months of 2017, and traders think it’s just the beginning of a Brazilian stock comeback. The issues that Brazil experienced over the last three years are well known. But there are always bright spots even with all the economic and political gloom and doom. Companies like Eucatex, the Sao Paulo-based building supply company, continue to produce positive numbers in spite of the worst recession in more than 100 years. The reason Eucatex is doing better than most companies is a strong international business and CEO Flavio Maluf. Maluf puts environmental concerns in front of bottom line returns, and that strategy works.
The Flavio Maluf story starts as one of those small family business stories. Maluf blossomed into an international superstar in the building supply business. Maluf’s grandfather was in the sawmill business in Sao Paulo in the 1950s, and he realized he could do something with the excess eucalyptus wood he cut for his customers. He decided to make a eucalyptus wood ceiling tile from the excess wood, and he liked the finished product. By 1954, Granddaddy Maluf was selling wood ceiling tiles like they were free. He decided to open Eucatex based on the success of that one product, and the building supply industry has not been the same since then.
Flavio Maluf wanted to go to the United States and study before he joined the family business. Flavio decided New York was the city for him because of the city’s large Brazilian population. Maluf loved NYU, but he returned to Brazil, and he began working for Eucatex in 1987. In 1997, he became president of the company.
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But he is also a dedicated environmentalist and humanitarian. Flavio puts his employees first, and he is a stickler when it comes to producing quality products.