Germán Efromovich

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Efromovich in 2012

Germán Efromovich (born 1948 in La Paz)[1] is a Bolivian-born entrepreneur with multiple citizenship: Brazilian, Colombian, and Polish. He was born into a family of Polish Jews.[2]


His family is originally from Poland. Looking for a new home after World War II, his parents left Poland for South America, first to Bolivia, where he was born, and later to Chile, where Germán Efromovich was raised from 1955 in Arica and then from 1964 in São Paulo, Brazil. After schooling he earned a degree in mechanical engineering from FEI University in Brazil. His career includes selling encyclopedias, dubbing Mexican movies into Portuguese and the ownership of a school in São Bernardo do Campo, where in the 1980s he taught a union leader named Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,[3] who later became President of Brazil.

However, the oil sector laid the foundation for what evolved into the Synergy Group. To build his oil and aviation empire Efromovich bought Avianca, Colombia's national airline, in 2004, for US$ 2 billion, plus the assumption of US$ 220 million in debt and leasing liabilities.[4] Initially performing only nondestructive testing for the Brazilian-government-run oil company, Petrobras, Efromovich developed more business to the point of building and leasing oil rigs. His other businesses include power plants, shipyards and products for the medical industry.

After the sinking of one of these oil rigs in the South Atlantic, off the Brazilian coast, legal disputes with insurance companies and with Petrobras, Germán Efromovich began investing in aviation. This was by pure chance, because a customer, who could not pay cash in a business deal, gave him two of his aircraft. This was the beginning of an air taxi company. The Efromovich brothers called it OceanAir and started to transport staff between the oil exploration site in Macaé and Rio de Janeiro.[5] OceanAir, 2010 renamed Avianca Brazil, was launched in 1998 and six years later he purchased the Colombian legacy airline Avianca from Julio Mario Santo Domingo. As a result of his major investments in Colombia's economic and social development, Efromovich was officially made an honorary Colombian citizen in 2005 by the Colombian government.[6][7]

He has control or shares in his own Synergy Group, based in Rio de Janeiro, which in 1998 was offering maintenance services for oil operations in Brazil. In late 2004, Efromovich's company agreed to buy a controlling stake in Avianca, which at the time was under the protection of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Synergy Group subsequently acquired the remainder of Avianca in 2005.[8]

In February 2010, Avianca and TACA merged to AviancaTaca. TACA Group encompasses TACA Airlines and their participation in Lacsa, TACA Peru, Aviateca, Sansa Airlines, La Costeña, Aeroperlas and Isleña Airlines. Avianca includes: Avianca, Tampa Cargo and the recently incorporated AeroGal from Ecuador. The combined Avianca and Taca is now the second-largest airline in the region in terms of revenue, behind Chilean-Brazilian's LATAM Airlines Group. All these airlines are controlled by Synergy Aerospace Corp. based in Bogota, a subsidiarity of Synergy Group.[9]

Efromovich also has shares in Wayraperú, Avianca Ecuador and OceanAir, which was later renamed Avianca Brasil.[10]

On 5 November 2017, the Paradise Papers, a set of confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment, revealed that Efromovich and Synergy Group's subsidiary Avianca Holdings are linked to an offshore conglomerate used for the aerocommercial holding business with ramifications in Bermuda, Panama and Cyprus. Efromovich used a Panamanian offshore that hid more than 20 firms located in tax havens.[11]


Germán Efromovich is married to Hilda Liberas,related to the Gilinski,Rabinovitch and Garcias business families from Colombia and they have three daughters. His life is spent shuttling between São Paulo and Bogotá. He has a younger brother named José Efromovich, five years younger, who is chairman of Avianca Brazil.[12]


  1. ^ [1], 12 June 2015 (in Portuguese)
  2. ^ Paweł Rożyński: Całkiem fajny kraj at Rzeczpospolita, 2 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  4. ^ Efromovich: Unlikely owner saves national airline Financial Times Online, 8 May 2012
  5. ^ José Efromovich: O imigrante que construiu um império ao lado do irmão (in English: José Efromovich : The immigrant who built an empire with his brother), Estadão Online, 6 June 2011 (pt)
  6. ^ Empresario brasileño Efromovich recibió nacionalidad colombiana EFE Agency, retrieved 28 July 2012 (es)
  7. ^ Official press release from the Presidency of Colombia 9 November 2005 (es)
  8. ^ Efromovich to own Latin America's No. 2 airline Global Travel Industry News Online, 18 October 2009
  9. ^ Reuters Editorial (2012-10-18). "Portugal picks Synergy for final TAP airline bid". Reuters. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  10. ^ Efromovich to own Latin America's No. 2 airline Global Travel Industry News, 18 October 2009
  11. ^ Delfino, Emilia; Crucianelli, Sandra; Fitz Patrick, Mariel; Brom, Ricardo; Jastreblansky, Maia; Ruiz, Iván; Alconada Mon, Hugo (10 November 2017). "Paradise Papers - El entramado de más de 20 offshores detrás del desembarco de Avianca". Perfil. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  12. ^ Interview in Portuguese with Estadão TV, 5 June 2011 (pt)

External links[edit]

  • ECOPETROL: The Efromovich’s challenge
  • Efromovich: Hardworking Visionary