SINGAPORE (June 25): Rubens Menin, chairman of Brazilian homebuilder MRV Engenharia, has been named EY’s World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018. Picked from among 761 programme participants, he is the first-ever winner of the award to hail from South America. Singapore’s representative at the awards was Shi Xu, CEO of Nanofilm Technologies International, which supplies the automotive industry with coated parts for internal combustion engines.

Menin, 62, founded MRV with two partners in 1979. At the time, Brazil was developing rapidly and many people left the rural areas to seek their fortune in cities. Unable to afford housing, they ended up living in shanty towns, or favelas. Menin saw an opportunity to produce cheaper housing for the masses.

Today, MRV is Brazil’s leading low-income housing builder and Latin America’s largest real estate developer by units sold. It employs more than 24,000 people, operates in 150 cities and has built about 300,000 properties. Last year, it recorded net operating revenue of US$1.4 billion ($1.9 billion) and earnings of US$197 million. In 2007, when it was listed in Brazil, its operating revenue had been just US$105 million, while earnings were just US$13 million.

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