Nokia and Gradiente Electronica S/A to Manufacture Mobile Phones in Brazilian Joint Venture

The agreement establishes a joint venture (51 percent Nokia, 49 percent Gradiente) to manufacture digital and analog cellular phones for the Brazilian market. Under the agreement, a new company, NGI Limitada, will produce phones under both the Nokia and Gradiente brand names. The location for the joint venture has not yet been chosen.

Olli Kallasvuo, executive vice-president of Nokia Americas, said that the joint venture is a continuation of the strong relationship that Nokia has maintained with Gradiente since 1993. “Nokia’s success is based both on the joint efforts with our partners to serve market areas, as well as our ability to develop innovative products suited to our customers’ needs,” he said. “This announcement is further proof of our commitment to the Brazilian market.”

“Not only the deepening of this relationship, but the joint venture between Nokia and Gradiente represents a modern option of growth,” says Eugenio Staub, Gradiente’s president. “The union of strengths creates gains of scale and, consequently, big competitive advantage for involved parties. With the growth of the Brazilian market, provided by the opening of B-Band, we will be talking about significantly bigger volumes. When that happens, the quality of our products will make all the difference.”

In 1996, Nokia and Gradiente signed a licensing agreement for the production of cellular phones in Brazil. Since then, Gradiente has been producing cellular phones under the Nokia brand name as well as their own brand. In addition, Nokia has sold cellular phones to Gradiente for assembly in the Manaus free-trade zone since 1993.

A joint-stock company with national funds, established in 1964, Gradiente is now one of the most outstanding companies in the consumer electronics business in Brazil for the audio, video, and video games markets and services related to those segments. With 3,600 employees, the company had net sales of US $700 million in 1996. Based in Sao Paulo, Gradiente maintains its production lines in Manaus. It also has two procurement offices in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Knowledge of the local market and its distribution channels, as well as a policy of long-term strategic alliances with its suppliers, allows Gradiente to have working relationships with companies worldwide, offering the most advanced technology for the Brazilian consumer. The company also has its own engineering force, which has created products that have been successful in the market and have received many awards.