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Today
199
years of continuous growth
Today the Bensaude Group operates in multiple areas serving thousands of people.
Start the journey through our history
decade of 2010
  • 2018

    The Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico is the result of a rebranding and repositioning of the new "Grand Hotel" brand that emerges, closely connected to the Atlantic Ocean and the history of the Azorean hotel industry that began within the Bensaude Group with Sociedade Terra Nostra more than 80 years ago.
    It is the first 5-star hotel of the Bensaude Group.


    Trailing the roads of the Azores Islands and born from the Bensaude Group with its immense history in tourism, WAYZOR Rent a car stems from the legacy of Varela Rent-a-car, a well-known name in the Azores and among Azoreans, reborn with a new direction.

  • 2017
    Bensaude Group  opens the Neat Hotel Avenida, in downtown Ponta Delgada (São Miguel Island). This unit results from the makeover of the former originates Hotel Avenida and embodies an innovative and differentiating concept. Following the latest market trends, the new hotel is the perfect fit for the cosmopolitan and urban traveler looking for simplicity, professionalism and comfort. The Neat Hotel Avenida is both young and hip but also professional and comfortable, reflecting the essence and the green of the Azores.
  • 2016
    As result of the significant investment in the Distribution area, INSCO opens the first large Logistics Center in the Azores, located in Ponta Delgada.

    With the acquisition of Beltrão Coelho  Company (in the Azores), the Group consolidates its position in the office equipment supply business, as well as in the after-sales service.
  • 2015
    Opening of Global Solutions, a chain of retail stores focused on the wholesale supply of furniture and painting supplies. 
  • 2014
    Terra Nostra Garden Hotel's renovation is complete. The unit becomes a national and international symbol, collecting a plethora of awards and recognitions, including Portugal’s Leading Boutique Hotel, by the World Travel Awards, and Best Countryside Hotel, by Condé Nast.

    The opening of the Continente Modelo of Fajã de Baixo, in São Miguel Island, marks the beginning of a new expansion in the Distribution Area. This new stage also includes the development of My Super Brand. 
  • 2013
    Launch of Clipmar, a Company that supplies logistical and storage services to freight forwarders.
  • 2010
    Bencom acquires exclusive control over BP’s business assets in the Azores. The company changes its headquarters from Santa Clara to Nordela and makes a strong investment in logistics and infrastructures across the islands.
decade of 2000
  • 2009
    Bensaude Group becomes the major shareholder of Terparque.
  • 2008
    In association with 2 other investors (Iberazoria and SAAGA), Bencom creates Terparque, a fuel storage field with 45,000 square meters and a capacity of 34,000 cubic meters, fit to accommodate different types of fuels. This is a very important facility, created to meet the fuel demands of Terceira Island. 

    In the same year, Rotapico, a Cargo Transport Company, is founded in Pico Island.





  • 2007
    The acquisition of the Nicolau Sousa Lima Group is finalized. This is considered the largest private deal ever made in the Azores. This is also the beginning of a new cycle in the Group's history with a focus on diversification.

    In line with the practice of investing in the maritime sector, the Bensaude Group builds a new freighter
    which keeps the traditional name "CORVO". 
  • 2005
    For the first time, the Group opens a hotel outside the Azores Islands. Hotel Açores Lisboa sits in a prime location in the Portuguese Capital, next to the well-known Praça de Espanha.
  • 2004
    With an astonishing view over Pico Mountain, Hotel do Canal opens its doors, becoming the first Bensaude Hotel in the City of Horta.

    Opening of Hotel Marina Atlântico, in Ponta Delgada, this 4-star hotel is known for its modern architecture and amazing view over the marina.

    Varela & C ª, Lda - Ambiente
     Company starts in 2004, when the Group first starts the waste management process in the Azores Islands, in responsibly collecting and handling residues.

  • 2003
    The Group’s hotel group opens its first unit in Terceira island: Terceira Mar Hotel.
  • 2001
    The fourth hotel of the group, São Miguel Park hotel, opens with 153 rooms.
  • 2000
    Centrovia begins car inspections in the Azores.

    In addition, the Group invests in the car rental business, creating Varela Rent a car. The Company operates on São Miguel Island (on its own) and partners up with local companies in Terceira, Faial, Pico and São Jorge Islands.
decade of 1990
  • 1999
    The Group makes a strategic decision of expanding its hotel offer to the Islands of Terceira and Faial.
  • 1997
    Varela & CA Company buys 87,5%of the shares in Farias Lda, consolidating the Group’s presence in the transportation business. 
  • 1994
    Agência Açoreana de Viagens, a travel agency, now called Açoreana DMC, becomes part of the Group’s portfolio, reinforcing of the strong investment in the tourism sector.
  • 1992
    Bencom SA is established to keep up with the growth and expansion of the fuel business on the other islands. This expansion is supported by the modernization and greater coverage of the regional power grid, that leads to an increase in consumption.
  • 1990
    The "Grand Hotel” style arrives to São Miguel Island, with the opening of Açores Atlântico Hotel in Ponta Delgada.
1980s
  • 1982
    Another step is taken towards the development of the Maritime Transport Area of the Company. The Group creates Bentrans, a logistics operator that provides its services on land, by sea and by air. Bentrans specializes in storage, container consolidation and transport to anywhere in the world.
decade of 1970
  • 1979
    The Group creates a new insurance company called GRUBEN, headquartered in Ponta Delgada.
  • 1976
    After the nationalizations which follow the Portuguese Revolution of 1974, the Bensaude Family doesn’t leave the country, but decides to leave the Capital. Filipe Bensaude, the oldest son of Vasco Bensaude, decides to bring the group headquarters back to Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island. The building located on Vasco Bensaude Square was bought by Salomão Bensaude back in the 19th century and is still the head office of the Company. 
  • 1974
    The Bensaude Family loses a big part of their heritage due to the post-revolution nationalizations. They lose Açoreana (the Bank and the Insurance Company) and the Micaelense Tobacco Factory. A few years later, the group is also "invited” to sell SATA.
decade of 1960
  • 1969
    Bensaude S.A. becomes a shareholder of Farias, a Public Transportation Company. Later, this company will become part of Varela Transportes Company.  
  • 1965
    S. Pedro Hotel opens its doors, and is one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe at the tome. The building had previously been the house of Thomas Hickling, the first American consul in São Miguel, and his sophisticated taste for art and decoration is still present in the building.
  • 1964
    Bensaude Group becomes a shareholder of Varela, a Public transportation company. Later, Varela will invest in other business sectors, such as waste management and rent-a-car.
decade of 1950
  • 1951
    Bensaude Group acquires J.H. Ornelas, a fuel supply company. The firm starts operating in many other areas, such as the automotive sector, distribution and sales.
  • 1950
    Bensaude Group acquires the majority of the capital of Mutualista Açoreana. The Company undergoes an internal restructuring, buying new freighters, including the famed cargo freighter named "Corvo”.
decade of 1940
  • 1949
    The Group acquires fuel facilities in Ponta Delgada, from Standart Oil Cº. These historic facilities provide support to many ships during the World Wars I and II. Under the Bensaude Group, they are still an essential support for ships, and become also an important infrastructure for the milk industry and for the production of electric power.
  • 1947
    Establishment of Sociedade Açoreana de Transportes Aéreos (Azorean Society for Aircraft Transportation— SATA), founded by Bensaude & Cª, José Bensaude, Augusto de Athayde, Albano Freitas da Silva Oliveira and Dr. Augusto Rebelo Arruda. 
decade of 1930
  • 1937
    Opening of Golf Course (São Miguel). 
  • 1935
    Opening of the Terra Nostra Hotel (now Terra Nostra Garden Hotel), a symbol of luxury and contemporary Art Deco style. This unit is located next to Terra Nostra Garden, a magical botanical garden which is also part of by the Bensaude Group.
  • 1934
    The Tourism Bureau is created.
  • 1933
    The Terra Nostra Society is founded with the ambitious goal of developing the tourism sector in São Miguel Island. Bensaude & Cª is one of founding shareholders, along with Lúcio Agnelo Casimiro, Albano Pereira da Ponte, Augusto Rebelo Arruda, Francisco d´Ataíde Machado Faria e Maia, and Francisco Bicudo de Medeiros.
decade of 1910
  • 1918
    The Companhia Nacional de Navegação (C.N.N.), a Company that results from the transformation of the Empresa Nacional de Navegação (E.N.N.), becomes a part of the  Sociedade Geral de Comércio, Indústria e Transportes (SGCIT) (1919-1972), a Company whose activity is connected to the Companhia União Fabril (CUF).
decade of 1900
  • 1902
    The União das Fábricas Açoreanas de Açúcar (Azorean Sugar Factories Group) is created with the goal of setting a factory of beet sugar in São Miguel. This is  the reaction to a decree published in 1901, which drastically reduced the alcohol production in the Azores Islands. At the time, 4 factories closed, 2 of them located in the Terceira Island and the other 2 in São Miguel.
  • 1900
    During the first 30 years of this century, the coal indusrty continues to be prevalent, in order to maritime the navigation fleet. These ships become very important at a geostrategic level. The water supply services and ship repair facilities in Horta and Ponta Delgada have a crucial role during World War I.
decade of 1890
  • 1891
    Launch of the Parceria Geral de Pescarias, a company focused on cod fishing off the coasts of Greenland and Newfoundland. This is the oldest company in this industry and it in time becomes the largest Portuguese ship-owner.
  • 1890
    The Alcohol Factory of Ribeira Grande is established (São Miguel). 
decade of 1880
  • 1884
    The  Alcohol Factory of Santa Clara is established (São Miguel).
  • 1882
    The Portuguese market demands more industrial alcohol, so the group establishes the Alcohol Factory of Lagoa (São Miguel). The Azores Islands have a production of sweet potatoes (industrial alcohol’s raw product) and this expansion is a major contribution to the modernization of the industry.
  • 1881
    Start of Empresa Nacional de Navegação (E.N.N.) (National Navigation Company), with 3 stockholders: Bensaude & Cª, Lima, Mayer & Cª and Ernest George. The main goal is to link, by sea, Lisbon and Moçâmedes, Cape Verde and Guinea.
     
decade of 1870
  • 1875
    Banco Lisboa & Açores (Lisbon and The Azores Bank) is founded by a group of financiers from Lisbon and The Azores. Later, this bank will merge with Casa José Henriques Totta, establishing the Totta & Açores Bank (currently Santander Totta). The founding members are Bensaude e Cª, António Gomes Brandão (Visconde de Carregoso), Estevão José Brochado, António Joaquim de Oliveira, Lima Mayer & Filhos, Moura Borges & Cª, Ernesto George, Manuel José Dias Monteiro e Filhos, A.J. Gomes Neto (Visconde dos Olivais), Joaquim Pinto Leite and Joaquim Bessa de Carvalho.
  • 1874
    Bensaude & Cª headquarters are transferred to Lisbon, the Portuguese Capital.
  • 1873
    Acquisition of the Empresa Insulana de Navegação, the oldest Shipping Company in Portugal (founded in 1871).
  • 1870
    Merger of the Companies "Herdeiros de Elias Bensaude” (Horta), led by Elias Bensaude's sons, Walter and Henrique Bensaude, and Bensaude & Ca. (Ponta Delgada), which back then had offices in The Azores and in Lisbon. During this decade until the end of the 19th century, the Company builds coal storage facilities to supply stream-ships in Horta and Ponta Delgada.
decade of 1860
  • 1866
    Opening of the Fábrica de Tabaco Micaelense (FTM) (Tobacco factory of São Miguel), as an individual company owned by José Bensaude (managing partner), Abraão Bensaude, José Jácome Correia and Clemente Joaquim da Costa.
decade of 1830
  • 1835
    Elias Bensaude starts his own business in Horta (Faial Island).
    The first business corporation is established, under the name of Salomão Bensaude, in Ponta Delgada (São Miguel). The Company continues to run it's commercial activities and starts operating in the shipping sector.
     
    Regular commercial routes are established: London, Manchester, Liverpool (United Kingdom), Lisbon and Funchal (Portugal), Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Boston (USA).
decade of 1820/1830
  • The first members of the Bensaude family arrive in The Azores Islands. Abraão, Elias and Salomão travel from Morocco, with British passports. They begin their working life in various areas of business, such as importing textiles from Great Britain and exporting local agricultural products (oranges).