The Portuguese market remains a starting point for many multinational companies, which in Portugal seek to attract the best talent and seek traction in their organizations.
In an interview with Executive Digest, Alejandro Romero, Global CEO of LLYC, during a visit to Portugal, discussed projects dedicated to the Portuguese market and the importance of investing in the offices of the future.
LLYC will continue to bet and invest in Portugal. How important is this market to the LLYC world?
Portugal is a very important market for LLYC. We have been investing in this market for several years and plan to continue doing so in the future. The business numbers achieved by our Lisbon office are very good. We expect operating revenue and EBITDA to grow by double digits this year. Our results so far indicate that we will achieve our goals. I think these numbers make us very satisfied, although they also increase our level of demand. They invite us not to let our guard down. There is no doubt that the work Marlene Gaspar is doing as General Manager – just as Thiago Vidal did before – is exceptional. Our focus is on our clients and the ability to integrate a complete offering that delivers results for our clients’ businesses.
What investments and plans are planned for the company’s activity in Portugal?
We want LLYC to continue to gain importance in Portugal. We are already an important player in the communications, marketing, public affairs and digital consultancy in the country. The idea is to strengthen this position and take advantage of all available opportunities, both organically and inorganically. Our mission is to continue to provide professional growth opportunities for all of our employees.
Does the company plan to open new offices in the country? What are the characteristics of the office of the future?
Currently, we have clients from the north to the south of the country, all managed from the Lisbon office. Digitization provides us with opportunities to work across geographical boundaries, allowing us to determine where we have the best professionals with the most experience according to our clients’ challenges.
For LLYC, the office design of the future must align with the company’s goals and the development of individuals and teams. We believe in offices that foster creativity, interaction between teams, collaborative work and innovation. They must, at the same time, allow individual contribution. Therefore, they are open spaces, with large common areas for exchanging ideas, holding team meetings and sharing. In addition, it should include shared or individual rooms that allow us, through technology, to communicate with colleagues in any office.
Within these spaces, there must also be room for technology, which helps us be more efficient in operations and communication. The most important thing is to have flexible spaces that adapt to the needs of every working moment. The key is innovation and the ability to create together.
What offer do you intend to provide employees with these spaces?
We want to provide employees with spaces where they can participate and get to know each other, encourage their creativity, have all the necessary conditions to develop their professional activity, and a great ability to contact and interact with other LLYC teams. We want to promote the use of these spaces as well as the individual work that can now be done remotely.
Regarding human resources, how do you evaluate talent attraction and retention in Portugal?
At LLYC, we firmly believe in talent and promote the personal and professional growth of our employees. In the Strategic Plan 2023-2025, we propose a comprehensive employee management, always putting “LLYCERs” at the heart of our decisions and thinking about them throughout their journey in the company since before they joined us. We break this journey down into key moments and work on each one to make sure you live and feel the best experience possible.
LLYC’s distinctive value proposition for its professionals is enhancing their careers through internal promotion to leadership positions. In our Portugal office, we find many examples of internal growth, accompanied at all times by compensation policies based on professional growth, taking into account the individual contributions of each employee.
In 2022 and 2023, we implemented the “LLYC Formula” way of working. This initiative not only promotes balance between personal and professional lives, as 99% of employees have a mixed way of working, but it also aims to be more efficient at work and enhance interpersonal relationships, by bringing teams together in the office for a few days in the week. A week and allowing remote work for the rest.
In 2022, we launched “Challengers”, a revolutionary initiative aimed at enhancing the careers of our junior employees at LLYC. Our goal is to provide them with all the tools, opportunities and support they need to grow and develop at LLYC. The program aims to attract, retain and develop the best talent to prepare them as future consultants. It is an innovative model of professional development through which we improve the experience of our professionals and accelerate the careers of young talents, junior consultants and consultants, offering personalized measures according to their needs and providing tools and resources to help them grow and achieve your goals.
What is your analysis of the company’s recent financial results?
The company’s recent financial results are very positive. In the first half of the year, operating income and total income increased by 12% (39.9 and 48.7 million euros, respectively) and recurring EBITDA improved by 9% to 8.8 million euros. Profits rose to €4.5 million, representing a growth of 13.4% compared to the same period in 2022. In other words, we are growing by double digits, despite the uncertain environment in which we find ourselves. Numbers through June are in line with expectations. Six months later, LLYC has already reached 50% of its expected full-year revenue and EBITDA. Our organic growth is significantly higher than that reported by companies in this sector, driven by the operations with the greatest impact on the group given its size: Madrid, São Paulo and Mexico. We have a strong balance sheet and a prudent financial approach.
I would like to highlight the many achievements we have achieved in this first semester. First, the recent integration of BAM by LLYC in San Diego, which has allowed us to triple our size in the US. Secondly, strengthening the Deep Digital unit that covers all digital marketing services (creative, performance, paid media) and solutions based on digital transformation and intelligence. The unit improved its income by 25% through June. I am very satisfied. We are becoming an increasingly stronger and more diversified company, investing in innovation and creativity, and transforming our business model. We want LLYC to continue to be a reference to support the growth of our clients and professionals.
What new areas have been integrated into the company and what is the strategy adopted for the future?
Growth is part of LLYC’s DNA. The strategic plan we have approved for 2023-2025 proposes to practically double the company again, making it, at that moment, a company with an operating income of 130 million euros and almost 2,000 professionals. Growth in marketing solutions and full integration of deep digital services (deep learning, AI, digital influence, inbound marketing, etc.) will be key to this growth. Moreover, we will work to strengthen the entire health field. We continue to invest significantly in improving our R&D capabilities. In addition, €40 million is planned to be invested during this period to make new acquisitions. The focus is on key markets, such as the US or Brussels, where our clients’ demand for intelligence and influence continues to grow.
I am convinced that the future is bright for LLYC. We integrate technology and creativity into our projects. Our greatest strength lies in having a team that combines extensive experience with a constant desire to innovate the way we work, while constantly recruiting new young talent. We are in an industry that plays an increasingly important role in clients’ businesses. Communications and marketing are essential in today’s world. We need to communicate, influence and persuade.
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