Portugal is in mourning. Commander Rui Nabeiro died, aged 91. Not only one of the biggest fortunes in the country, but also one of its best businessmen, known for his human side and good heart.
He greeted everyone with sympathy and distributed smiles with whom he came across. In an interview with Caras in 2021, he was proud of having built a true empire in the world of coffee and with that having been able to provide better living conditions for his employees and family, which naturally made him happy. “We all have to give more to those who are really in need. Well, give is a word that doesn’t apply. To divide. There is no doubt that everything that can be done in favor of development and creating wealth must be shared by those who don’t have it”, affirmed.
Born on March 28, 1931 into a humble family in Campo Maior, Portalegre district, Manuel Rui Azinhais Nabeiro started working at around 12, helping his mother in a small grocery store and his father and uncles in the coffee roasting. At the age of 17, after his father’s death, he took over the destinies of the small family roasting and to make the company grow he promoted the sale of coffee in Spain, later forming, in partnership with his uncles, Torrefação Camelo.
He would end up selling his stake to family members, finally creating, in 1961, Delta Cafés, which, in addition to a small grocery store, soon began roasting coffee. Thus was born the Delta brand, which after a few months was already distributed throughout the country, being today one of the largest in the field.
In 1984, he created a new roasting factory, at the time the largest in the Iberian Peninsula, and in 1988 the holding company Nabeirogest, through which he currently adds investments in the agricultural sector, with the production of olive oil and wines, with the creation of the Adega Larger, and even in food and beverage distribution, automotive retail, real estate trade and hotels, with businesses in various parts of the world.
Recognized as one of the greatest Portuguese entrepreneurs, a major driver of the economy of his home town, Campo Maior, and of the country, Rui Nabeiro was an employer who treated his approximately 3,800 workers with respect, a benefactor involved in various charitable causes and a man concerned about sustainability.
Aware of the needs around him, he opened the Alice Nabeiro Educational Center in 2007 (named in honor of the woman he married in 1957), to respond to the extracurricular needs of disadvantaged children in Campo Maior. Sponsored by Delta, the University of Évora created, in 2009, the Rui Nabeiro Chair, aimed at promoting research, teaching and scientific dissemination in the area of biodiversity.
In parallel with business, which occupied him practically all of his life, Nabeiro also had a career in politics, having been mayor of Campo Maior City Council in 1962 and 1971, and, running for the PS, he was also elected to the position in 1977, being re-elected twice and remaining at the forefront of the town’s destiny until 1986, making it a unique case of development in the Alentejo.
With a life of hard work, which prevented him from continuing his studies beyond the then fourth grade, he received distinctions such as the degree of commander of the Civil Order of Agricultural, Industrial and Commercial Merit – Industrial Class, awarded in 1995 by Mário Soares, and the Commander of the Order of Infante D. Henrique, awarded in 2006 by Jorge Sampaio.
In the last edition of the Golden Globes, in October 2022, he was awarded the Merit and Excellence award at the XXVI Golden Globes Gala
Rui Nabeiro was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.