Ana Fuentes/Carlos Díaz Güell | “We were a very poor country which in the last 40 years has made a spectacular transformation. Today there are over 150,000 companies which export regularly and have exported at least in the last three years”, explains Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, High Commissioner for the Spain Brand (Marca España), and privileged observer of the economic reality in Spain and how its business class has evolved over the last few decades.
Gigas is a Spanish multinational of storage and information technology trading on the MAB. The company’s market capitalisation is €19 M. This year their revenues will be up 35% and profits by 126%, without considering any possible corporate deals. “People think the MAB is a secondary market, but it’s an alternative one, for companies which are expanding. In the Continuous Market, there’s hardly any company doing this in the explosive sense,” says Diego Cabezudo, CEO at Gigas.
“We need automation because we won’t have enough young people to handle the production. And yes, it’s true that jobs will be lost, but without automation and digitalisation we would not be able to feed a growing population, dress it, entertain it, provide health treatment etc.”
“Goodwill only appears with the acquisition of a company. Not if you just grow organically, which makes comparisons difficult. Skype paid 2.6 billion dollars for eBay and goodwill was 2.3 billion. We need to be capable of making a valuation of the intangibles in this type of company,” explains Anne Jeny, member of the Management Committee of the European Accounting Association.
The M&A market in Spain has been very active over the last two years. There is a lot of cash around, but what is lacking are some good deals.
“If we analyse the data from the last 25 years, there is very little inflation. Underlying inflation in the US has never really fallen below 1% which means that the secular dynamism in the labour market is reducing inflation, via technology and globalisation,” explains Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JP Morgan.
Julián García Valverde founded Imathia and Consultrans, engineering, consultancy and construction companies. They form part of the consortium of 12 Spanish firms which won the contract for Mecca-Medina AVE high-speed train line. On December 31, it crossed for the first time the 453 kms that separate both cities at 300 km/hour in some parts.
“Competition is especially important for innovation and some of the big (US) companies also have a lot of power in the market…but it’s difficult to keep innovating.”
“The MAB doesn’t function in Spain at the moment and it needs to. If not, Spain will be left behind. I don’t know whether we should join forces with other markets, or if the ICO should distribute part of its investment to venture capital funds specialised in these kind of companies, or whether the adminstrative procedures should be cheaper and simpler.”
“Having board members who have experience of different environments, geographical or business, help the board to function better. On the boards in Spain where I am a member there is this international presence and there are members of different nationalities. But on a board of directors more importance shoud be placed on expertise than on nationality.”