Navigating the Brazilian crisis: Lessons learnt

Dec 15th 2016 |

An interview with Roberto Souza, Finance Director – Brazil, Johnson Electric

What has this crisis taught you?  

The crisis has taught me that we have to always be alert and look for early signs. This enables the preparation of contingency plans and actions for when the need arises. 

What should treasuries prioritise? 

First of all, treasuries must prioritise liquidity. We must look after cash, prepare cash flow analysis more frequently and maintain discussions with Corporate Treasury for ongoing guidance.

How do you ensure you have the necessary liquidity when and where needed in an environment like this? 

It is not difficult to anticipate cash issues if we have detailed cash flow analysis and forecasts. We need to manage in advance. Planning is fundamental.

How do you incorporate global policies in a changing local environment, marked by regulatory and tax constraints? 

It's really not easy and sometimes Brazil cannot participate of certain programmes such as the global cash pool or intercompany payments.

What is the balance between global standardization and the efficiencies you can gain locally with different practices? 

We follow the standards defined by the Corporate Treasury (with some minor exceptions as I explained above), so any local efficiency must be discussed with them prior to any implementation.

How do you ensure Treasury is aligned with the company's strategy?

We can only use the banks the corporate advises us to; we must follow our corporate strategy.

In a world of low interest rates, increased regulation and competition, the future of international bank´s current business model is uncertain. What is your bank strategy in the light of this?  What is your ideal bank partner?

I think the current situation will continue and intensify; we had an example here in Brazil where HSBC sold their retail bank and so did Citibank. Our strategy is to have international partners for Treasury and local ones for operational issues.

Has the exit of some international banks from the region affected you?

Yes, the decision was to find another partner and to transfer the operational issues to a second one.

What is your take on FinTechs and Blockchain? 

This is the future, we need to keep a close eye on them to keep up with change.