Posts Tagged ‘Eike Batista – The salesman of Brazil’

Eike Batista – The salesman of Brazil

Eike Batista – The salesman of Brazil

Brazil’s richest man is betting on resources and infrastructure. Can he deliver?

May 26th 2012 | RIO DE JANEIRO | from the Economist Magazine

FLOGGING insurance door-to-door is not easy. No one likes having lunch interrupted by a stranger who babbles about accidents and death. A salesman must be charming to stop that door from slamming in his face. This was Eike Batista’s baptism of fire. He put himself through college in the 1970s by peddling policies. The skills he learned have come in handy since then.

Mr Batista (pictured, sharing a stage with Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff) dropped out of his engineering course and left Germany for his native Brazil. He bought gold from wildcat miners in the Amazon, sold it in Rio de Janeiro, and made $6m by the age of 25. He borrowed more—and lost most of it—buying out pick-and-shovel operators and trying to mechanise their mine. Food, fuel and equipment had to be flown in. Workers got sick. Finally, the mine started producing. That taught him to stick to “idiot-proof assets”, he now quips, with such high margins that even big setbacks can be survived.  [more]