The North American company Sovos will hire more than 100 professionals to strengthen the operation in Portugal. The tax software provider acquired Portuguese companies Saphety and Peta Pilot last summer and, now that the process of merging the two national companies is coming to an end, it aims to double the national team by 2023 .
In Dinheiro Vivo, James Buckley, managing director of Sovos in Europe, explains that Portugal is adding “more scale” to the global operation in Europe, where the multinational is “trying to consolidate and develop” its activities. For this, it is necessary to strengthen the collaborators. “We will at least double the team with more than a hundred new positions. We are now a hundred and we will be more than 200 in the next 12 months”, reveals James Buckley.
With offices in Lisbon and Porto, Sovos already has around 40 vacancies, among others, for software engineers, analysts, developers, compliance services specialists, customer support or project managers.
The boss of Sovos underlines that Portugal is an “attractive country” to invest, where professionals are “polyglot, particularly at ease in English and well trained academically”. In the case of the acquisitions of Saphety and Peta Pilot, there is the advantage for the North American of having access to “management and infrastructure talents”.
Portugal will be a hub in Europe
Sovos’ idea for Portugal is to make the national operation a hub for business in Europe. James Buckley mentions that the tax software provider already has “a big operation” in Turkey and the UK.
“And in Portugal we want to centralize the operation as much as possible towards the customer and any product development for Europe can be done here,” he says, noting that Sovos also has this capability in Sweden and Turkey. Portugal will be the next country to have this function. “These will be the three development centers in Europe,” he adds.
Saphety and Peta Pilot are substantial support
It was in July 2021 that Sovos announced the acquisition of Saphety and Peta Pilot. Saphety specializes in electronic invoicing services for public administrations and companies and Peta Pilot provides electronic accounting services for tax administrations and companies.
Sovos’ managing director for Europe explains that the tax software company is a “compliance company” dedicated to the business segment and, so far, very focused on large companies and on VAT and related processes .
From now on, the objective is to build a complete portfolio of VAT compliance, SAF-T file and transactions between companies and public administration. In Portugal alone, the state has “about 80,000 suppliers”, a growth opportunity for Sovos, given the requirement for electronic invoicing.
James Buckley says the acquisition of the two Portuguese companies was to find someone who could provide products that could “help considerably” with the business. And he adds that what the two companies add “to Sovos’ portfolio is very relevant.” At a time of digital transformation, “they bring talent and technology”.
“Through the digitization of taxes, we see that the needs of companies are increasingly complex and that the major challenges are the interconnection of the processes associated with the business and of all the transactional systems associated with two entities which require compliance”.
Portugal accelerates its growth
Saphety and Peta Pilot were already involved in the public sector. The bet will continue, with Sovos now wanting to reach small and medium-sized businesses as well, according to Buckley.
Asked whether the arrival of European funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) in Portugal also represents an opportunity for the Portuguese operation of Sovos, supporting public procurement, he replied: “We can bring a lot expertise in this area”.
Sovos operates in 70 countries, with 15 offices in North America, South America and Europe. It has about two thousand workers. Sovos is owned by Hg and TA Associates and has grown through mergers and acquisitions. “In Europe there have been four in 18 months”, according to the leader, who does not reveal any value of acquisitions in Portugal.
At the time of the purchase by the North American, Saphety was present in Portugal, Brazil and Colombia, counting ten thousand client companies and approximately 190 thousand users in 52 countries. Peta Pilot had operations in Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde, in addition to Portugal. Rui Fontoura, former CEO of Saphety, became vice president of Sovos, while Válter Pinho, former CEO of Peta Pilot, became general manager of Sovos Portugal.