We have interviewed Fabio Pellegrini, manager for the Andean Region, from the company mageba.
What does mageba do?
mageba is a Swiss company with its head office in Switzerland. It is one of the world’s leading suppliers of structural bearings, expansion joints and other high quality products and services for the transport infrastructure and building construction sectors. In the last 10 years, mageba has also significantly expanded its range of products and services relating to earthquake protection and structural monitoring.
Since when have you been active in Colombia?
Since November 2018 (with mageba) and personally since 2007 (but previously with other companies).
Why is Colombia an attractive market for your company?
Especially for the range of products and services relating to seismic protection and structural monitoring. Colombia is for us the Commercial Front Office for the Andean Region, a region constantly affected by earthquake and with a corresponding Norms of “sismo-resistencia”. Furthermore, big investments are being made in infrastructure projects in the region (e.g. the so-called “4G highways” in Colombia).
What questions and/or difficulties did you face when planning to establish your subsidiary in Colombia?
Our main questions were how to set up our subsidiary in Colombia, its relationship with the parent company in Switzerland, how to manage client and inter-company payments (including exchange rate considerations) and finally how to optimize the tax burden taking into account the Double Taxation Treaty between Colombia and Switzerland.
How did Ongresso help you / what services did Ongresso provide?
Ongresso was really quick to analyze and understand our situation, suggest and visualize different options, benchmark and compare the pros/cons of each option and to finally make a conclusive recommendation on the best solution that was accepted and implemented by our top management.
Would you recommend Ongresso? Why?
I can definitely recommend Ongresso to every company interested in starting a business in Colombia and with no or little experience in the local legislation and the “rules of doing business”. To have a clear analysis of the possible options BEFORE creating a local company is crucial and a prerequisite to avoid big surprises during operations, allows optimizing costs and – very important in Colombia – staying fully compliant with the complicated local legislation (taxes, imports, etc.).