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Sonae SGPS, S.A.
Sociedade Anónima
Traded asEuronextSON
IndustryRetail (food and non-food products), Shopping Centers, Telecommunications, Retail properties and investment management
FounderAfonso Pinto de Magalhães
HeadquartersMaia, Portugal
Key people
Paulo de Azevedo (Chairman and Co-CEO), Ângelo Paupério (Co-CEO)
ProductsGrocery stores; hypermarkets; pharmacies; foodservice outlets; bookshops; apparel, consumer electronics and white goods retail; shopping centre and real estate management; financial investments; telecommunications
Revenue5.718 billion (2011)[1]
€661 million (2011)[1]
€178 million (2011)[1]
Total assets€7.552 billion (end 2010)
Total equity€1.862 billion (end 2010)
Number of employees
43,270 (end 2010)
SubsidiariesSonae MC, Sonae RP, Sonae Sierra (50%), Sonaecom (89.9%)

Sonae (Sonae SGPS, S.A.) (About this sound listen ) is a Portuguese retail company (Sonae MC and Sonae SR) with two big partnerships in the shopping centres areas (Sonae Sierra) and the Software and Information Systems, Media and Telecommunications (Sonaecom). Sonae has around 40,000 employees [2] and is present in more than 60 countries. It is listed in Euronext PSI-20, in Lisbon, under SON code.[3]


Sonae was founded in 1959, in Maia, Portugal in the engineered wood business and more specifically the production of high-pressure decorative laminates, by the businessman, banker and patron from Arouca, Afonso Pinto de Magalhães.

During its first two decades of existence, Sonae stayed as a small to medium-size business, focused on the wood derivatives market.

Afonso Pinto de Magalhães, also the founder of Banco Pinto Magalhães, left Fábio Lemos in control of Sonae during the tumultuous years after the Carnation Revolution.[4] At some stage during that period, the company was even nationalized, and then, privatized again.

In 1982, Afonso Pinto de Magalhães gave 16% of Sonae to Belmiro de Azevedo and, after his death, Belmiro de Azevedo achieved the majority of capital, gaining control over the company. During the 1980s, the company began a period of rapid growth, which coincided with Portugal's entry in the European Economic Community (before it has changed into the European Union). It was also during the 80s that Sonae began its fast growth and, in 1985, Sonae Investimentos SGPS, S.A was created and entered the Lisbon Stock Exchange.[4] Furthermore, Sonae began its strategy to diversify its business, through the acquisition and creation of new enterprises: the opening of the first hypermarket in Portugal (Continente), the inauguration of Porto Sheraton Hotel, the purchase of Star (a travel company) and the opening of the two first shopping centres (in Portimão and Albufeira).

Hand in hand with these new business ventures, that also included the expansion to the ICT, Entertainment, ant Tourism areas, came the territorial enlargement, creating a presence that is now global in many areas.[5]

In 2007, Paulo de Azevedo became Sonae's CEO, taking the group leadership and succeeding his father, Belmiro de Azevedo.[6]

In March 2015, Belmiro de Azevedo resigned as chairman. Paulo de Azevedo was chosen to become chairman and CEO of the group, sharing the executive committee presidency with Ângelo Paupério, former vice president of Sonae.[7] This same year, the company Sonae IM was started.


From 2009, Sonae (Sonae SGPS, S.A.) holds a portfolio of businesses grouped into different business areas, where its subholdings are included:[8]

Core Businesses

  • Sonae MC - Portuguese leader in the area of food retail, with a set of different formats: Continente (hypermarkets), Continente Modelo (supermarkets), Continente Bom Dia (convenience stores), Continente Ice (specialised in deep frozen food), Meu Super (franchising format of close-by stores), Bom Bocado (restaurant services), (bookshop) and Well's (drugstores).[9]
  • Sonae SR - Responsible for Sonae's non-food related retail area, particularly sports, clothing and electronics, through the brands SportZone (sports), MO (textile), Zippy (Kids clothing and accessories), Worten (household appliances, consumer electronics and entertainment), Worten Mobile (mobile telecommunications), Pets&Plants (garden supplies and articles for pets).[9]

Core Partnerships

  • Sonae Sierra - International specialist in shopping centres. Founded in Portugal in 1989, it is owned by Sonae in 50% of the shares. The remaining 50% are owned by Grosvenor Group (United Kingdom)
  • Sonaecom - Partnership in the areas of telecommunications, software, information systems and media, which develops an active role in the integrated management of the business units. The universe of companies that are connected to this area is formed by: NOS[10] (telecommunications), Biztech (commercialization of multi-brand IT solutions), WeDo Technologies (supplier of software solutions) and Saphety (simplified solutions and processes automation). In the media area, Sonaecom also owns Público, a reference daily newspaper.

Related Business

  • Sonae RP - Created in 2009, Sonae Retail Properties is focused on the management and development of its real estate assets as a way to provide support to its retail business growth goals.

Active Investments

  • Investment Management - Business branch responsible for Sonae's mergers and acquisitions. Part of this area are businesses like MDS, Cooper Gay and Herco (in the Insurance sector), Geostar (a travel agency that is a joint-venture with the RAR group) and Maxmat (bricolage in a joint-venture with CRH).

With autonomy since 2007, there is Sonae Capital, presided by Cláudia Azevedo,[11] daughter of Belmiro de Azevedo, with three main business areas:[12]

  • Sonae Turismo: Business developer in the Resorts, Hotel and Fitness areas.
  • Energy: Management of the co-generation centrals and photovoltaic parks.
  • Spread SGPS: Promotions of refrigeration, AVAC and maintenance management and financial participation.


In 2012, Sonae invested more than 70 million Euros in research in the retail sector, in a programme that involved around 3,200 employees. In 2014, Sonae compiled a book with more than 80 innovations developed during 2013, in areas like Health or Technology, many of them with national and international prizes.[13]


In 2013, Sonae gave back to the community 10.6 million Euros of which 5 million were in foodstuffs donations, impacting more than 2,000 institutions.[14] The main intervention areas are: Environmental Awareness, Culture, Education, Health and Sports, Science and Innovation (R&D) and Social Solidarity.[15]


Sonae has received awards and distinctions in a number of areas, having been recognised as one of the Most Ethical Companies in the world,[16] as Human Capital Master[17] and with the ICSC Solal Marketing Awards.[18] According to the latest edition of the Global Powers of Retailing report, carried out by Deloitte and the American magazine Stores, Sonae is one of the 250 largest retailers in the world, positioning itself at 155 place, which is equivalent to an increase of 10 places from the previous ranking.[19] In 2015, Sonae’s major retail brands were distinguished as "Trusted Brands", according to the international study carried out for the 15th consecutive year by the Reader's Digest Selections.[20] It is the second most desired company to work by Portuguese university students, according to a survey conducted by Spark Agency and Economics and Management School at Minho University.[21] The company was recognized by Kaizen Institute for its continuous improvement. Continente was honoured with the title “Kaizen Ambassador”, for its work carried out in store operations, and Worten was the winner in the “Excellence in Quality” category, for its sales force management project.[22]

Sonae brands (Continente, Worten, Sport Zone, Wells and Zippy) were the most valued by consumers, in the fourth edition of Consumer Choice Awards.[23]

Sonae's Shopping Centers[edit]


8.ª Avenida | AlbufeiraShopping | AlgarveShopping | Arrabidashopping | Cascaishopping | CC Continente de Portimão | Centro Colombo | Centro Vasco da Gama | CoimbraShopping | Estação Viana Shopping | GaiaShopping | Guimarães Shopping | LeiriaShopping | LoureShopping | Madeira Shopping | MaiaShopping | Norteshopping | Parque Atlântico | RioSul Shopping | Serra Shopping | Via Catarina


Boavista Shopping | Boulevard Londrina Shopping | Franca Shopping | Manauara Shopping | Parque D. Pedro | Passeio das Águas Shopping | Shopping Campo Limpo | Shopping Metrópole | Shopping Plaza Sul | Uberlândia Shopping


Dos mares | GranCasa | La Farga | Luz del Tajo | Max Center | Plaza Mayor | Valle Real | Zubiarte


Freccia Rossa | Gli Orsi | Le Terrazze


Alexa | Hofgarten Solingen | Loop5 | Münster Arkaden


Pantheon Plaza


River Plaza Mall (Râmnicu Vâlcea), Park Lake Plaza (Titan - Bucharest),

In development: Adora Park Lake (Craiova), Shopping Plaza (Ploiești).


BDA Colony, Happy Ghara

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2011" (PDF). Sonae. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-07.
  2. ^ Sonae surpasses 40,000 employees, Jornal de Negócios, published on August 26, 2010 (Portuguese)
  3. ^ Euronext PSI-20 Index, Diário Económico, consulted on July 7, 2014 (Portuguese)
  4. ^ a b Sonae's History, Official Website, consulted on July 18, 2014 (Portuguese)
  5. ^ Sonae Sierra invests on the first Shopping in Morocco, Diário Económico, published on May 20, 2014 (Portuguese)
  6. ^ Paulo Azevedo: "We will be big and international", Jornal Económico, published on March 21, 2011 (Portuguese)
  7. ^ Belmiro de Azevedo resigns as chairman of Sonae, Diário Económico, published on March 9, 2015 (Portuguese)
  8. ^ Sonae Business Areas - Official Website, consulted on July 7, 2014 (Portuguese)
  9. ^ a b Sonae Brands - Official Website consulted on June 14, 2014 (Portuguese)
  10. ^ ZON/Optimus Merger Archived 2014-07-09 at the Wayback Machine., Jornal de Negócios, consulted on July 12, 2014 (Portuguese)
  11. ^ Claudia Azevedo assumes presidency of Sonae Capital, Público, published on March 18, 2013 (Portuguese)
  12. ^ Sonae Turismo Presentation Archived 2015-04-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Sonae invests more than 70 million Euros in research, Jornal de Negócios, published on May 20, 2014 (Portuguese)
  14. ^ Sonae gives 10.6 million to the community, Diário de Viseu, published on March 17, 2014 (Portuguese)
  15. ^ Sustainability Approach, Official Website, consulted on July 16, 2014 (Portuguese)
  16. ^ Sonae is one of the “World Most Ethical Companies”, Jornal de Negócios, published on March 12, 2013 (Portuguese)
  17. ^ SONAE SR wins Human Capital Master, Universia, published on March 27, 2014 (Portuguese)
  18. ^ Promofans wins International Recognition, Marketeer Online, published on May 19, 2014 (Portuguese)
  19. ^ Jerónimo Martins and Sonae rise in the largest retailers in the world "ranking", Jornal de Negócios Online, published on January 12, 2015 (Portuguese)
  20. ^ Sonae brands lead Portuguese trust, Grande Consumo Online, published on March 13, 2015 (Portuguese)
  21. ^ Google, Sonae e Deloitte são as empresas preferidas dos estudantes portugueses, Expresso Online, published on May 25, 2015 (Portuguese)
  22. ^ Sonae Scoops Two Excellence Awards, European Supermarket Magazine, published on July 6, 2015 (Portuguese)
  23. ^ Rita Gonçalves (November 26, 2015). "Sonae is the big winner of Consumer Choice Awards" (in Portuguese). Hipersuper. Retrieved January 22, 2016.

External links[edit]

Área Sur

Plaza Mayor