Randoncorp: Legacy meets the future

Honouring tradition and still looking towards growth and innovation can be a fine balance for any company. For Brazil’s Randoncorp, that balance has been reached with a recent rebranding, encompassing the profound changes the trailer builder has undergone and marking the beginning of a new stage.

It’s been a meteoric rise. Going from a tool manufacturing workshop in the 1940s to a company that is now among one of the largest manufacturers of semi-trailers in the world is an impressive feat.

By all accounts, however, the biggest changes for Randoncorp have taken place more recently and have buoyed the company to solidify its legacy and pledge a commitment to the future.

It makes sense then that the company’s rebrand has only recently taken place. The new name has been billed as a tribute to its legacy, but also as a way to build a new identity that reflects the path of the future.

Previously known as Empresas Randon, the company, which is made up of five different verticals with its OEM making up 35 per cent of revenue, chose to change its name to Randoncorp last year.

Image: Pedro Henrique Tesch.

“This was a strategic and necessary step,” said Randoncorp CEO, Sérgio L. Carvalho. “Randoncorp has undergone profound transformation in recent years. We are a traditional company originating from a family business and honouring its own legacy. But at the same time, we are very youthful.”

Carvalho goes on to explain that it isn’t just the company that has changed, so has its business model – becoming much more resilient as it faces the future.

“We have advanced in the development of disruptive technologies, acquired and created industrial units, grown and expanded our global presence.”

In many ways the name change isn’t just a recognition but a coming of age, spurred by the fact that it is hitting record consolidated net revenue – reaching 11.2 billion BRL ($2.3 billion USD) in 2022.

The Randon OEM has a significant presence in the markets of Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia and also in the North American market. To these countries it exports platforms, bulk carriers, tippers and tankers, mainly to customers transporting bulk cargo, industrialised cargo, containers, transporting minerals in general and transporting fuels. In Brazil, it supplies mainly to agribusiness and mining, industry, civil construction and petrochemical segments. To serve these markets, its highlighted products are the tipper, the bulk carrier, the carbon tanker, the sider (tipper) and the general cargo van.

Global presence

The company’s headquarters is in Caxias do Sul, found in Brazil’s southern, mountainous region. Active in five complimentary business verticals, Randoncorp offers a complete line of equipment for the land freight transport services from road implements to rail cars.

A publicly traded company, it is present in more than 120 countries on five continents.

Its emphasis is on industrial parks and distribution centres in the Americas, Europe and Asia, as well as assembly units in Africa and is made up of more than 16,000 employees.

The company says its growth is supported by three different pillars – acquisitions, diversification (whether in terms of portfolios, markets or geographies) and mobility innovation.

Image: Alex Battistel.

“Our legacy drives us to seize opportunities to build something even bigger and better for the future,” Carvalho said. “In the last five years we have quadrupled our revenue. This outcome is the result of a solid growth strategy that relies on the commitment of our teams, and today we are proud to place ourselves more and more as a global reference in the mobility segment.”

What is proving to work well is the diversification of Randoncorp’s products and services that results in solid synergy of operations that can meet global mobility challenges.

“We have a strategic position in the development of innovative and disruptive technologies in electrification, nanotechnology and composite materials, as well as industrial automation solutions and digital and financial services for the transport and logistics sector,” Carvalho explained.

Financial results

Looking to more recent figures, Randoncorp recorded in the year, revenue of 10.9 billion BRL. Consolidated EBITDA reached 1.5 billion BRL in the year, which represents an increase of 4.3 per cent compared to 2022. The EBITDA margin was 14.5 per cent in 2023.

Considering the complex and competitive market context, with a decrease in volumes and revenues associated with the truck market and a challenging international scenario, leadership is pleased with these numbers proving the company is able to overcome challenges thanks to its diversification.

Foreign market figures are also showing solid global achievements. The revenues that bring together the values of exports with sales made by units located outside Brazil, totalled, in 2023, 466.7 million USD, 6.9 per cent higher than 2022, favoured by the increase in revenues from operations US and UK.

Innovation

Not a company to shy away from a market challenge or a complicated consumer need, Randoncorp sees innovation as the way to come up with creative solutions and sees it as a duty to invest.

Image: Juniko Bondan.

In 2023 it invested 193 BRL million in research and development, completing 60 projects and registering 126 patents. Focusing on trends in the automotive industry, Randoncorp encourages scientific research and the search for new technological solutions by supporting the Instituto Hercílio Randon, the first Brazilian science and technology institution focused on the automotive sector.

The company recently opened an e-plant dedicated to the production of e-Sys, an electric auxiliary traction system with axles, batteries and an intelligent management algorithm, an unprecedented development made entirely by Randoncorp.

It has also recently announced the full acquisition of Auttom, a reference in industrial automation and robotics. The aim is to reinforce the synergy of the business verticals and enhance the development of automation solutions for the market.

Randoncorp has also made advancements in nanotechnology with NIONE, which patented a nanostructured additive for coatings that increases corrosion resistance and can double the useful life of automotive components exposed to extreme weather conditions. Nanotechnology also appears in the formulation of cast products, providing great lightness and durability to fundamental components of heavy transport.

Other innovative projects the company have recently launched:

• A photovoltaic plant with 2,400 solar panels to supply activities in Caxias do Sul – the first Brazilian plant is part of a series of global initiatives that focus on the generation of renewable energy.

• Randon Smart, a telemetry system that manages semi-trailer fleets offering controls and actions for tracking semi-trailers with real-time date generation.

• Composs, a line of composite materials products, which replace metallic components and result in products with superior performance. Weight reduction, which can exceed 60 per cent, is one of the main advantages.

• Randon Solar, a refrigerated truck with energy control and management. It is equipped with flexible photovoltaic panels on the sides and roof to capture solar energy, saving an estimated 1.800 litres of diesel per year.

What’s new

Randon’s NEW R range of trailers is creating a buzz within the industry, with a series of technologies and solutions that deal with modularity, electromobility, sustainability and embedded intelligence. Unprecedented modular manufacturing technology enables a 70 per cent decrease in weld usage, reduced operating costs, and simplified maintenance.

A semi-trailer from the NEW R Line can be up to 1.0 tonnes lighter than similar ones on the market, depending on the model, resulting in increased safety, profitability and environmental gains.

Recently, it’s introduced to the market the Sider Modular NEW R in a new version that has a modular chassis with standardised components and configurations that allow multiple combinations of the final product. Being one tonne lighter than the previous version, the Sider Modular NEW R enables greater net load gain, positively impacting conveyor profitability and operating costs.

The Hybrid R line, equipped with e-Sys technology can, depending on the application, loading condition and road condition, save up to 25 per cent on fuel, allow for less wear and tear on components and contribute to lower emissions of gases and waste into the environment.

The Randoncorp expansion strategy is supported by a vision of the future, says Carvalho and the company has already strengthened its global positioning. At the beginning of 2023, it consolidated its global strategy steps with the acquisition of the North American semi-trailer manufacturer Hercules, entering its OEM vertical into the North American market. Meanwhile, the acquisition of the operations of AML Juratek in the United Kingdom serves the European aftermarket.

The future

The future, according to Carvalho, is looking bright.

In March, the company released its guidance for 2024, projecting consolidated net revenue between 11.5 billion BRL and 12.5 billion BRL, with an estimated revenue in the foreign market between 420 million USD and 480 million USD. Regarding the EBITDA margin, the projected range was between 14 per cent and 16 per cent at the end of the twelve months of the year.

In 2024, Randoncorp will launch Caldeira Verde, a project looking to operate the boilers of Frasle Mobility – a multinational company focused on the aftermarket and part of Randoncorp – with biomass replacing natural gas. The project, worth 17 million BRL, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent, which represents 20 per cent achievement of the target stipulated in Randoncorp’s ESG commitments.

“We are confident in our expansion strategy, diversification of segments and products, and internationalisation to continue growing in a resilient way,” Carvalho said. “We are optimistic with caution.”

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