There is a lot of talk at the moment about Spanish pensions. But, it would appear, not enough. At least it is by no means clear that public opinion and voters are very aware of what is about to land on top of them: that in 2017 the pension piggy bank will be empty. And what will happen then?
Articles by Fernando Barciela
About the Author
Ebro Foods is the leading rice producer in the world and number two in pasta. It is no longer a sugar company but a group with a large portfolio of diversified products. It has won the respect of giants in the industry like Nestlé or the Mars Group.
Spain has been trying to push ahead with two projects which are vitally important for its energy sector: the sale of gas and electricity (basically renewables) to the EU. With practically no positive results to date. In 2012, an agreement was reached with France and Brussels to increase the electricity and gas interconnections with Europe via the Pyrenees. But in spite of that, and the fact the money is already ready there, the investments required are taking much more time to materialise than they should.
The most important thing is not the fact that Rajoy has been saved, although it is, because he is giving investors and businessmen reasons to still have confidence in Spain. But it is the fact that he has saved the country from the worst case scenario: a return to times of misrule, which in this case would have been even more bloody for the country.
The first thing that should be said about Ana Botin is that only a few weeks after taking over the reins of Santander in September 2014, she left no-one in doubt that she planned to put that house in order and take the bank’s problems seriously. After a wave of restructuring, including lay-offs and bank closures, things have turned nasty again for Santander in the first half of this year, with Brexit and Brazil key complications.
Up to what point is the lack of a government affecting Spain and its government? Spain’s Stock Market Regulator (the CNMV) now has no visible head. And the number of public sector jobs cannot be increased, nor AENA’s air fares. But perhaps this is due to other reasons which could have equally existed in a normal political situation.
The savings banks which were bailed out by the FROB continue to present problems for that institution and the government. The idea was that after they were restructured and their value had increased, they would find a buyer or incorporate a partner with a controlling stake or seek a stock market listing. So then they would give back at least a good part of the state aid received from the FROB. But these plans are turning out to be difficult to implement.
The Gallegan fashion retailer never fails to amaze us with its growth capacity, which is also healthy. As of now, it is not just the leading Spanish company in stock market terms but also one of the three or four in the Eurostoxx 50 worth over 100 billion euros.
Socimis, or Reits as they are called in Europe and the US, have helped revive the damaged real estate sector in Spain since 2009. Merlin Properties has been one of the most successful ones and was listed by Chairman and founder Ismael Clemente in 2014. In his opinion, that was a good year to start because “the cycle bottomed out at the end of 2013.”
When the former CEO of BBVA, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri (62) arrived at Bankia in 2012, the most critical year for the bank (19.2 billion euros of losses), everyone celebrated his appointment. They saw it as a guarantee that Bankia would succeed in getting back on its feet within the expected timeframe, not only in terms of its business but also terms of its stock market valuation.