“It gives me a lot of pleasure to grab a busted factory and turn it into a top-tier SME”, confesses Francisco Batista, an entrepreneur and business angel, who loves to bring dying companies back to life
extiles came into his life by pure chance. The year was 1990; the location was the national bastion of the right-wing party PSD; at the wedding party of his older brother Francisco. The godfather of his new sister-in-law, having learned of his profession, introduced him to António Correia, a tailor that was planning on establishing an atelier and needed someone to do the accounting. Would he be interested?
In taking care of the accounting only, no – replied Francisco, adding quickly that he was, in fact, available to become his partner, and ensure the project management.
Done deal. They shook hands and, right there and then, Acorfato was born. They shyly started making academic outfits, cloaks and cassocks inside their garage, with his tailor partner working part-time (during the week he worked in Braga as an employee), but two years later they were inaugurating a brand new and modern facilities, with 50 workers, and selling suits for Spanish clients.
In 1997, the business was already expanding, through the purchase of a manufacturing unit in Mangualde (formerly dedicated to women’s clothing, started producing trousers) rechristened with the names of the two partners: CBI – Correia and Batista Industries.
“We were a great pair. I learned manufacturing and modelling from him. He learned management and the commercial part of the business from me”, recalls Francisco Batista, who chose the restaurant Cascata de Pedra, in Mangualde, for our lunch, but since it was closed he opted for Quinta da Magarenha, which was also closed. So we ended up in plan C, Casa do Caçador, a restaurant where he hadn’t been for many years, but it was up for the job, in the end.
The ability to see the problems before they arise is one of the attributes required of a good entrepreneur. This way, in 2007, he saw that the 15-year difference between him and his partner would necessarily lead to different visions on the company’s development. So the B (Batista) proposed the C (Correia) a friendly separation, before the strategic differences would burst out at the seams, hurting the business and the friendship between the two beyond repair.
B got what was, by then, the weakest component of the society – CBI (initials that may also be attributed to Beira Interior Confecções) – and C got Acorfato.
Francisco and his team got their hands dirty, and in twelve years transformed the manufacturing unit in Mangualde, which used to fit in 600 m2, into a group managing a covered area of ten thousand m2, a factory in Cape Verde and another in Arganil (Amma 1981). The company closed 2018 with 780 employers, a turnover close to 30 million euro (97% from exports), and a client portfolio featuring high-profile brands such as Massimo Dutti, Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein or Sacoor.
In the meantime, Francisco still found the time to rescue five companies (one selling frozen products and four textiles) from the claws of bankruptcy. “It gives me a lot of pleasure to grab a busted factory and turn it into a top-tier SME”, confesses Francisco Batista, an entrepreneur and business angel, who loves to bring dying companies back to life. “I have already saved more than 600 jobs”, he completes, proudly.
Born and raised in Tábua as the middle child of five (three boys and two girls) children of the marriage between a stay-at-home mom and a bricklayer (“My father was a stone artist”, he specifies). After finishing basic school, he went to work for Henrique Tavares’ accounting firm, his first employer and mentor, to whom he manifests eternal gratitude. During the nine years he spent at Midoconta, in Midões, not only did he become an official accounting technician (TOC) and learned the secrets of the trade, he also sharpened his entrepreneurial spirit. In 1987, together with an optician, he started his own business with four stores, Tábua Optical Centre. Three years on, he began a beautiful friendship with textiles that lasts until today. Married to Nathalie (a Portuguese born in France) with whom he had two children: Anselmo, 21, who is running for Management at FEUC after having graduated in Engineering and Industrial Management from ISEC; and Eva, 18, who is going to study Pharmaceutical Sciences in Coimbra
Dish Fire-grilled pork ribs Drinks Water, Cabriz white Dão Dessert Molotov pudding with “ovos moles” and two coffees