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PSI 20


The 60s - A single business area

18 August 1959
Sonae - Sociedade Nacional de Estratificados is founded

Start up of production of decorative laminates (laminite)

Sonae hires Belmiro de Azevedo

Efforts are focused on the production of decorative laminates

The 70s - Development of the business through vertical integration

Sonae diversifies by acquiring NOVOPAN (particleboard factory and additional investments aimed at producing surfaced particleboard (Aglomerite)). 

Sonae begins operating in the chemical industry

In a protest against the nationalisation of the company, the workers go on strike and the management resigns.

The 80s - Diversification through acquisitions and the set up of new businesses

- Sonae Investimentos, SGPS, SA is founded as a holding company
- Launch of Sonae on the capital markets with a stock market capitalisation value of 500,000 (thousands of Portuguese Escudos or 2,493M€)
- Sonae and the French company Promodès set up a joint venture to renew the distribution and retail business

- Set up of Modelo Continente SARL 
- Acquisition of Agloma (largest particle board manufacturer in the country), which is modernised
- Set up of Sonae UK, Ltd
- mds, a sub-holding whose goal is to manage insurance and risk policy for the Sonae companies, is created

Opening of the 1st hypermarket in Portugal: Continente (Matosinhos). This moment marked the start up of the Sonae Distribuição business, the result of a joint venture between Sonae and Promodés.

- Opening of the Hotel Porto Sheraton (now Porto Palácio Hotel)
- Acquisition of Orbitur

- Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) were launched for seven of the Group companies. This came as a surprise to the market, but the response was positive: for five of the seven IPOs, demand exceeds supply
- Standardisation of Modelo and Invictos brands as Modelo
- Acquisition of SIAF and Paivopan

Sonae Tecnologias de Informação is created, investing in new technologies and the media sectors

- Start up of the Sonae Imobiliária business
- Opening of the first shopping centres managed by Sonae – Portimão and Albufeira
- Acquisition of Spanboard (Northern Ireland)
- Purchase of STAR
- Creation of Ibersol – Restauração e Gestão Hoteleira, which will represent major international brands such as Pizza Hut or Burger King
- Creation of Contacto Construções
- Rádio Nova begins broadcasting, in the first incursion into journalism.

The 90s - Development of strategic businesses and expansion into telecommunications

- Launch of Público, SA: first nationwide daily newspaper 
- Opening, in Mangualde, of the SIAF MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) factory. It represents the largest investment by Sonae in industry and strengthens its leading role in this field.

- Launch of the first batch of Continente own-brand products
- Opening of CascaiShopping (first modern shopping centre in Portugal).

Stake in the share capital of BPA (Banco Português do Atlântico, SA), which is in the process of being privatised.

Sonae Indústria acquires management control of Tafisa (one of the biggest groups in the wood based panels sector in Spain).

- Sonae: 1st Portuguese company to be a member of the WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development)
- Launch of Visa Universo
- Launch of Modalfa, a chain of stores offering the latest fashions and offering an excellent quality/price ratio
- Start of the specialised retail project, with stand alone brand names (Maxmat, Max Office, Inventory, Sportzone, etc.).
- The first Solinca brand health club opens

- Setting Up of INPARSA 
- Launch of Worten, a major store for white goods and consumer electronics

- Opening of the Colombo Shopping Centre, the biggest in Iberia
- Launch of non-food retail in Spain
- Launch of Vobis, a large store concept selling technology and computer consumables
- Acquisition of Torralta (Tróia)
- Launch of Sport Zone

- Launch of Optimus
- Sonae acquires a large number of shares in Barbosa & Almeida (the second largest supplier of glass packaging in the Iberian market), becoming its majority shareholder.
- Acquisition of 8.3% of the capital of Portucel (cellulose production), a stake that is later increased. The objective is to lead this sector in the Iberian Peninsula.
- Opening of NorteShopping
- Acquisition and sale of TVI credits by Sonae Tecnologias de Informação.
- Sonae Indústria acquires around 85% of the Glunz AG (Germany) 

- Opening of the Vasco da Gama Centre
- Acquisition of a stake in Soporcel, manufacturer of paste and paper with a significant turnover in continental Europe
- Start of the international expansion of Sonae Sierra with its entry into Spain, Greece and Brazil.
- Launch of Clix, which soon becomes the leader of internet access in the residential sector
- Launch of Novis (landline operator)
- Sonae Indústria starts production of MDF in Brazil
- Set up of Box Lines – Navegação, SA, a shipping company providing container transport services between mainland Portugal and the islands.

The 00s - International growth and reorganisation of the business portfolio

- Creation of BizDirect
- Sonaecom is listed on the Lisbon Stock Exchange (IPO)
- Optimus wins 1 of the 4 UMTS licences (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), investing in wireless data and voice transmission
- Launch of, an Internet auction community that offers its users business opportunities
- Sonae Sierra enters Italy and Germany
- Consolidation of the position of Sonae Indústria in South Africa through the acquisition of Sappi Novoboard, a wood company
-  Norscut wins the concession tender for the design, planning, construction, financing, operation and maintenance under a shadow toll system (SCUT) of motorway sections and various associated roads in the Interior Norte region

- Opening of AlgarveShopping, enabling Sonae Imobiliária to exceed 1 million m2 of GLA under management.
- Involvement in the privatisation of Gescartão, number one company in the production of packaging in Portugal
- Commercial launch of WeDo Consulting, intended to develop new systems in the area of information technologies.

- The set up of a joint venture with the Suzano group leads to the creation of Lazam-mds, which will become one of the largest insurance brokers and administrators in Brazil
- WeDo Consulting opens offices in Spain and Brazil
- Opening of the Parque Dom Pedro shopping centre in Brazil, the largest shopping centre in Latin America

- Creation of Mainroad – Serviços em Tecnologia de Informação, SA
- Setting up of the Sierra Fund. With an expected life of ten years, this fund permits investment by international companies in some of the Sonae Sierra shopping centers providing these investors with a return on their capital

- First sales of Optimus Home, landline telephones
- Sale of stake in Portucel/Soporcel
- mds heads the set up of the Brokers Link international broker network, now one of the largest networks of insurance brokers in the world
- Launch of Zippy, a chain of shops selling clothing, accessories, childcare products, furniture and toys for children aged 0 to 14.
- Opening of Worten Mobile, a shop offering sales and advice in the field of mobile telecommunications

- Spin off of Sonae Indústria
- Disposal of Sonae Distribuição Brazil to the Wall-Mart group
- Sonae Imobiliária is renamed Sonae Sierra
- Opening of the first shopping centre in Greece, Mediterranean Cosmos
- Worldwide launch of Kanguru broadband

- Launch of Área Saúde (retail sales of health and beauty products and services)
- Launch of Clix Smart TV, which includes some digital-quality channels, special channel packages and video rental
- Sonae Capital becomes a partner in ENEOP - Eólicas de Portugal, SA
- Sonaecom takeover bid for PT and PT Multimédia

- Changes in the management structure (Belmiro de Azevedo becomes Chairman of Sonae and Paulo Azevedo becomes the Executive Chairman)
- Acquisition of Carrefour Portugal
- Launch of Continente and Modelo loyalty cards
- mds acquires 14% of the reinsurance broker Cooper Gay in London, increasing its stake in 2008 to 32.12% making it the largest shareholder of the 5th reinsurance broker in the world
- Creation of Saphety, a business consultancy firm that provides technology solutions to increase effectiveness, efficiency, innovation and sustainability
- The brand is created for bookshop and stationery articles
- Entry into the Romanian market with the acquisition of River Plaza Mall, a shopping centre already in operation. River Plaza Mall is the 44th Sonae Sierra shopping centre and its acquisition reflects the continuity of the company's international expansion policy. 
- WeDo Consulting acquires Cape Technologies in Ireland, which transforms it into the world leader in Revenue Assurance, changing its name to WeDo technologies.
- Alexa, the first Sonae Sierra shopping centre in Germany is opened in Berlin
- Spin off of Sonae Capital 

- Launch of the Loop shoe shop chain
- International expansion of Sport Zone and Worten to the Spanish market
- Merger of Star/Geotur (joint venture between Sonae and RAR), travel agencies operating in Portugal and Spain
- Implementation of the Bom Bocado Cafeterias, an innovative Sonae Distribuição concept that combines the convenience of its products with high quality personalised service
- Setting up of the Sierra Fund Portugal, which holds eight of the Portuguese Sonae Sierra shopping centres
- The Sonae Sierra Portfolio now has 50 shopping centres with the opening of its first two newly built centres in Italy, Freccia Rossa and Gli Orsi

- Presentation of Sonae’s corporate strategy 
- Reorganisation of the business areas into:
  • Modelo Continente
  • Sonae Retalho Especializado (Sonae Non Food Retail)
  • Imobiliário de Retalho (Retail Real Estate) 
- Set up of a new business area focused on Investment Management 
- Celebration of the company’s 50th birthday. Edition of the book Sonae 50 Years Ahead

Launch of the new corporate identity

Decade 10 - International expansion


- Launch of the new corporate identity
- Expansión internacional con especial atención en España (46 nuevas tiendas)
- Apertura de las primeras cinco tiendas Zippy en Arabia Saudí


- International expansion with entry into new markets under the Zippy brand (Turkey, Egypt, Kazakhstan)
- International expansion of Berg and Deeply brands
- Sonae is awarded the Gold Lion in Cannes for its corporate identity


- Launch of “Obrigações Continente”, a 200 M€ bond issue available through a public subscription offer to retail investors
- Partnership between Optimus e Nespresso, to create an innovative mobile phone payment service for vending machines that lets users pay for a coffee by sending an SMS
- Sonae SR with 136 stores outside Portugal at the end of the first semester
- Meu Super stores with exponential growth, opening 1 store for every 3 weeks


- Creation of the convenience supermarkets through franchising (Meu  Super)
- Sonae launches initiative of venture capital (Sonae E.Ventures) to invest in e-commerce companies
- Merger between Zon and Optimus gives rise to the NOS brand
- International expansion of Sonae MC through exportation (wholesale)


- Rollout of new store concepts for Worten, Sport Zone, MO and Zippy
- Launch of  1st ZU store, specialized in pets and cats
- Rebranding from to note!
- Franchising  of Well’s and note!
- Sport Zone opens first  international store in franchising (Ceuta, Spain)
- International expansion of several insignias from Sonae with entry into 5 new markets (Armenia, Bulgaria, Chile, Georgia and Mozambique) and wholesale for 40 countries

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