The first hypermarket is scheduled to open sometime in 2015. Sonae is Portugal’s dominant retailer with more than 400 retail stores spread across the country, and is majority owned and chaired by Portuguese billionaire Belmiro de Azevedo. It operates in the food and non-food retail sectors, selling everything from sports goods and apparel to consumer electronics and appliances. Sonae is publicly traded on the Euronext and has over 40,000 employees in more than 20 countries. The company’s entry into Angola will be through a joint venture with Condis Angola, a retail investment company owned by Isabel dos Santos.
The Condis-Sonae joint venture marks Isabel dos Santos’ first entry into the retail business. But it’s not her first business venture with a Portuguese company. Isabel dos Santos is known to have strong ties with a number of prominent Portuguese companies and businessmen, including Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim, who sits on the board of Banco Internacional de Credito (Banco BIC) in Angola alongside Isabel. She owns a large stake in ZON Multimedia, a listed cable TV company and Banco BPI, one of Portugal’s largest publicly traded banks.
Isabel Dos Santos, 40, the daughter of Angola’s president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos is the wealthiest woman in Angola with a net worth FORBES estimates at $3 billion. As a recent FORBES article spelled out in great detail, her fortune is largely the result of gifts of stakes in Angolan companies. In Angola, her assets include a a 25% stake in Unitel, one of Angola’s two mobile phone networks and a 25% stake in Banco BIC. While Isabel Dos Santos is probably a savvy businesswoman in her own right, there are concerns that she is acting as a proxy for her father who has ruled the oil-rich country for the past 34 years.