The administrator of the Spanish company Initium Cerámicas visited the microphones of "De Cara al Mundo" to talk about his business experience with the Alaouite kingdom

Enrique Becerra: “Marruecos es un país muy bueno para hacer negocios, te acoge con los brazos abiertos”

enrique becerra

In the latest edition of "De Cara al Mundo", on Onda Madrid, we had the participation of Enrique Becerra, a Spanish businessman, administrator of Initium Cerámicas, who has been trading with Morocco for more than a decade. Friendship and perseverance are two of the keys to doing business in the neighbouring country.

Mr. Becerra, you are in Morocco, what are you doing there?

Yes, we are in the province of Berrechid, 50 kilometres from Casablanca. This is where the largest number of ceramics factories in Morocco congregate, where the five tile factories in the country are located, plus those that produce bricks. We come here because this is where tiles are produced and where this industry is concentrated.

What do you export or manufacture with Morocco?

We are a company dedicated to the end of the line, to the area of packaging and palletisation of the tiles, within the ceramic process.

When did you start working with Morocco?

We have been working in this country for a decade. At the beginning you have to do a lot of commercial work until you gain their trust, which is not so easy. You have to make many trips, talk to customers and, above all, have a good product, because our direct competition is Italian ceramics, and they have been in Morocco for many more years than we have. But the commercial work pays off thanks also to the closeness that we Spaniards have with them.

As you come here, you gain confidence, and you establish both a commercial and friendly relationship, something that is highly valued here. We Spaniards, because we share such a similar character, it is very easy to find a friendly relationship, but it is hard work because you have to invest money in hotels, meals and flights to forge that relationship and sell your product. Something that also happens with other countries, of course. 

 Initium Cerámicas

We can say that this is an expense or an investment, because you are investing in order to have a business there. Can you tell us how much you are currently invoicing in Morocco?

In Morocco last year we had a turnover of more than 400,000 euros, which is very good. The good thing here is that word spreads quickly. As we are all concentrated in the same area, if you work well, they advertise you themselves. If you don't deliver, the same thing happens, but in reverse, of course.

We are very happy, and we are moving forward. Of the five groups in this industry in Morocco, we are already in three and we are now going to enter the fourth before the end of the year, but it is a question of perseverance, and it is the result of the ten years we have been here.

Have you been affected by the political crisis or have you been able to continue working normally?

It has affected us, but not enough to stop working with them. This industry is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year productions. They need us because the process cannot stop, it is continuous due to the profitability of the product. The political crisis is noticeable in that you invoice less, but you don't stop invoicing, it affects minimally.

Enrique, when you have had a problem in Morocco, how have you solved it?

We solve problems with the client. Our sector does not work with chambers of commerce, nor with governments, it is direct and outside of political problems, and sometimes that is our luck. 

Enrique Becerra, un empresario español, administrador de Initium Cerámicas

One last question, what would you recommend to someone who is listening to us at the moment, who has a product, and is thinking of going to Morocco to do business there?

Personally I think Morocco is a very good country to do business in, it welcomes you with open arms and the people are very friendly. Although I could not come to set up a manufacturing process here, the option of having an agency, being with them and hiring Moroccan workers so that I don't have to come and go so many times is very good, because it is an important cost despite the geographical proximity. Obviously it is a country with many opportunities, but right now we cannot set up a manufacturing process because our work is more technical.

But we Spaniards have the attitude and character to set up a business here in Morocco. It's about managing your own company, finding the right people and having time and perseverance, like when you want to open a business there, you need a Moroccan person. It doesn't mean that he is the owner, but he has to be the manager of the company. I have a Moroccan manager as the owner.

But doing business here is not very complicated, they make it very easy for you. I see it very well, I like it as a country, I have been treated very well and all the people are polite to you. It's something that people who don't come here can't know.

You have to know the terrain. In Spain we are often moved by clichés or stereotypes from years ago that reality has overcome.

That's right. People have to change their mentality a bit. You can't talk about a country without knowing it or about people without knowing them. We have different cultures, but we respect each other. Morocco is one of the countries I travel to for work and one of the few where I don't have any problems. I come here at ease and I like it a lot.