posted on 01/22/2023 06:00
(credit: Marcelo Ferreira/CB/DA Press)
The crisis of Americanas, one of the largest companies in the retail sector in the country, took many Brazilians by surprise, especially the approximately 100,000 employees and over 50 million customers. However, according to specialists, the episode reflects the lack of good governance and an organizational culture focused on wild profit, problems that are not limited to the company that filed for judicial recovery last 19 years, but affect other national companies.
Professor and researcher Pedro Paro, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Humanizadas, assesses that the model currently used by a number of large companies in the Brazilian market is outdated and insufficient to solve the challenges of the 21st century, which concern the environment, social and corporate governance, represented by the acronym, in English, “ESG”, and which has already been gradually adopted in Brazil.
“Organizations that have healthier, more positive cultures, which have more leadership and which manage to operate in another model, in another mental system, capable of generating value and possibilities, these companies tend not to take risks, as in this case And, yes, they tend to find a variety of opportunities, a matter of top talent, attraction and growth of the client and consumer base,” the executive points out.
Since 2019, the researcher has been working at Humanizadas, a company dedicated to monitoring good organizational culture practices within other companies which, as the name suggests, intends to contribute to the improvement of human and social relations in the market.
According to Paro, the Americanas case, which culminated in the judicial recovery process after the discovery of a BRL 20 billion accounting deficit – which affected the company’s ability to pay a BRL 43 billion debt along with more than 16,300 creditors – is an example of the lack of culture that affects other companies in the retail market and other sectors.
“This debt, in my opinion, is an accumulation of years and years, of discussions that have not been had, and lack of psychological security in the work environment, lack of transparency, processes, routines and favors of the administrative government, therefore, for For to me, this reveals a mental model which is the mental model of the last century, of savage capitalism,” Paro argues.
Among the most decisive factors that have led Americans to reach the situation they are in today, the one that stood out the most among the experts interviewed by Corriere is the lack of transparency and timely action. A day after the company announced a R$20 billion accounting inconsistency, then-CEO Sergio Rial, who resigned after being in charge for 10 days, said the balance of the deficit had existed for at least 7 -9 years.
In the opinion of the economist Victoria Saddi, partner of SM Futures, there has been a clear omission on the part of the company’s management, with respect to the problem which has been worsening for years. “And the problem is, what’s been reported, this accounting error, is a basic error. You don’t have an accounting course, but you’re talking about a business owner. So, they knew. It’s already clear they knew.” , reflects the executive.
The president of the Commercial Law Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), in the Pinheiros subsection, in São Paulo, Fernando Brandariz, believes that there was a well-structured articulation to omit information. «It has been going on for some time, that no one noticed during the verification, and not even the banks, when they provided the credits. I think it must be something a little difficult to pinpoint. I’m not saying there’s a fraud in there, but if there was a fraud, it wasn’t a dirty fraud. It was a well put together structure,” he analyzes.
According to the accountant and executive director of NTW Maringá, Eduardo Gimenes, the category of financial expenses of a company is treated separately from operating profit, in the Income Statement for the year (DRE), which includes expenses related to the cost of operating the company, for which the expenses and the position in the Income Statement are fundamental information to understand the level of debt and the degree of financial leverage in this case.
“And when we talk about a publicly traded company, this can be very serious, as it hides crucial information in the decision-making process when investors buy shares in a company,” recalls Gimenes.
It’s worth mentioning that Americanas’ minority shareholders want to hold PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) liable for negligence when it prepared the company’s financial statements and approved “unqualified” accounts. Abradin, an entity that brings together minority shareholders of publicly traded companies, even sent the Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) a document calling for the audit to be investigated. The regulatory body determines the billion-dollar gap in the Americans, as do controlling shareholders, Brazilian investor trio Jorge Paulo Lemann, Carlos Alberto Sicupira and Marcel Telles, partners at 3G Capital.
According to a survey conducted by economist Einar Rivero, commercial head of TradeMap, in 2022 the volume of dividends paid by the company up to September 2022, amounting to R$ 333.2 million, was the highest ever paid by the company in the last 10 years. This amount, compared to competitors, is the second highest in history, losing out against the dividends paid by Via Varejo in 2013, of R$ 394 million. Americanas shares have practically pulverized, in the last week, and have been removed from the Bovespa Index (IBovespa), the main indicator of the São Paulo Stock Exchange (B3), which is worth less than R$ 1, quoted at R$ 0 .71 on Friday.
*Intern under supervision
by Rosana Hessel
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