Brightstar, the company that manufactures Samsung and LG cell phones in Tierra del Fuego, managed to close the sale of its business in Argentina. An orderly withdrawal from the country came at a cost: The US-based company received a token $ 1 in return.
The operation includes the transfer and continuity of two plants and 526 direct employees, an extremely sensitive issue for the provincial government, the unions and the two brands that depend on their services.
The operation included, in addition to the industrial part, a company dedicated to providing technical services to cell phones and marketing consumer electronics products and accessories from various brands.
The focus of the negotiation was severance pay for Brightstar’s top executives. The US parent company agreed to pay US $ 4.5 million to indemnify 17 executives. The other issue was the unions, which gave up claims to avoid layoffs.
The versions about the withdrawal of Brightstar have been circulating for a month. The company was looking for “a strategic partner” to transfer the assets to it, within the framework of a global strategy to “divest in some markets, including Argentina.” The decision to find a buyer accelerated in the last hours and efforts were concentrated almost exclusively on the Mirgor group, which also produces and distributes cell phones and TV for Samsung.
Brightstar’s departure caused shock and surprise on the island. Not so its possible new owner. Mirgor is known because one of its shareholders is Nicolás Caputo, one of Mauricio Macri’s best friends. But also because it has 3 plants, it leads the ranking of industrial employment (2,278) and in cell phone production (almost 1.6 million out of a total of 3.7 million units accumulated in September). Samsung’s interest is logical.
Mirgor is a close ally of the Korean brand, because it is also the owner and administrator of 50 Samsung Store, its owner chain. Samsung has a similar alliance with Visuar, the company with which it manufactures refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves in Cañuelas. For all this, senior executives of the technology followed minute by minute the outcome of the negotiations.
The industry believes that Brightstar is not oversized or in debt. A provincial official reasoned: “Of the 526 employees, only 405 are effective. The rest are hired. If you have problems, the first thing is to cancel contracts. And then you open a voluntary retirement. None of that happened in this case.”