Large companies in Mendoza are in crisis and it affects employment. The Government assures that they seek to expand the productive matrix. But there are few sectors with potential. The technology industry, the big bet.
IMPSA , one of the flagship companies of the Province for more than 100 years, awaits a national rescue. The construction company Cartellone is also in crisis and cannot fight to participate in large projects. CEOSA , a construction company that grew brutally during the last 15 years tied to contracts with the State, had to cede many of its assets to a bank in order not to fail. Green is out of business. The oil companies that had invested began to fall back and even YPF is “humble” when it comes to investment projects in Mendoza. Most of the large agribusiness firms are in a terminal crisis. It is a symbol of economic decline.
The ” elephants ” of Mendoza fall. This is not a zoo comment. This is how large companies (with more than 500 workers) are called that have the power to generate wealth and economic dynamics. In Mendoza, the crisis that has dragged on for years deflated them. And there is an uncertain panorama: with the difficulties that the country has to generate wealth, local take-off is also complicated. Governor Rodolfo Suarez assures that he is obsessed with expanding Mendoza's productive matrix. Under that slogan there is more enthusiasm than ideas. The mining refloat attempt was dropped; the oil industry is in a deep crisis and agribusiness does not generate the same resources as before.
In this panorama, there is a sector that does have incipient growth, but requires a generating change that goes from the educational system to infrastructure and logistics: the knowledge industry. “It is not a question of everyone knowing how to program. But it is taking into account technology as a basic input and to seek answers. From a software developer to a company that thinks of intelligent irrigation systems. Technology solves problems and can be added value from there, “the manager of a multinational explains to MDZ .
Unicorns for elephants
The debacle of “the elephants”, of the big companies, shows in the data as well. In Mendoza unemployment exceeds 15%. The pandemic mostly affected people who had informal jobs. But there is a structural problem as well. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Labor of the Nation, formal employment registered in the Province fell by 8% compared to 2019 with 2020. These are stable jobs, with all guarantees.
The fall of IMPSA is a synthesis of the problems. That company expanded throughout the world with added value generated in Mendoza.
Curiously, now IMPSA , which is not controlled by Pescarmona , asked for a rescue from the national government led by Kirchnerism. In parallel, the former directors of the company hope that the trial will begin for the “notebooks” of corruption where they gave testimony of how they paid bribes and gifts to Kirchner officials during the government of the current vice presidency. In Argentina, history is cyclical; spiral.
Cartellone is another of the great companies that went into decline. A symbolic fact is that the construction company did not participate in the tender to build Portezuelo del Viento. There is another emblem there: it is the unprecedented case of hiring a Chinese company for a work that does not require financing. Local companies could not qualify to lead the work and neither could national ones. That is why Sinohydro is the one who leads the only consortium competing to build the dam, with two local construction companies and IMPSA supporting them. Even medium-sized companies seeking to be part of the business were left out. In the Malalwe consortium, two of the three companies are in trouble. One is IMPSA , which is in the hands of the banks and asked for a ransom. And the other is CEOSA, which had to cede its assets to the Supervielle bank.
In the plan that Suarez plans to carry out to improve Mendoza's economy, there is a sector that is growing, even despite the difficulties. The technology industry is the only sector where jobs have not been lost, on the contrary. In fact there was investment and some of the ” unicorns ” arrived, such as Mercado Libre. Everything, without being able to avoid obstacles. The national law of the knowledge industry was frozen despite the previous consensus and remains in the middle of the legislative mud. These companies are promoted in Mendoza, but infrastructure is still lacking. “There are no buildings prepared for offices of technology companies. It is not a serious problem, but if you want to promote the arrival of large companies you have to take it into account,” they explain from the sector. The ICT Park is a place where projects are being developed, but it still has an incipient growth.
The issue has a virtuous imprint on the Province: the crack jumped and there is political agreement to advance the promotion. “It is a sector that has a social license without discussion and has no ceiling, except for some political decisions that can harm. In Mendoza there is a lot of potential,” explained Fabricio Cuaranta, from the ICT Pole.