Carlos Delclaux: “Europe has busied itself with giving lessons… but it has grown very fat with contentment”


Fernando Rodriguez: Interview with Carlos Delclaux, president of Vidrala and Vocento board member. “The EU has busied itself lecturing the whole world on renewable energies. But a project of this magnitude should have guaranteed supply, and an orderly transition process to ensure that along the way you don’t run out of industry or that citizens don’t suffer ‘energy poverty’… But Europe has grown too fat with contentment. And we are not in a position to have an energy war with Russia like the one that is being proposed”.

The price of gas, the basic fuel for running Vidrala’s furnaces, accounted for 50% of the company’s total costs last year, compared to 15% before the war in Ukraine. How does the company manage this cost and what plans do you have for the future?

The price of the European gas reference, which fluctuated more or less between €10 and 15 /MWh two years ago, shot up – at specific moments in 2022 – to levels of €300-400 /MWh, affected by the war in Ukraine. There have been times when the cost of gas exceeded the selling price of our product. In the United States, they consider that gas is very expensive and should be at €25 or 30 /MWh, and they think how the North American industry is going to withstand that. In the fourth quarter, we should already see a progressive improvement in our margins, thanks to internal actions to optimise our energy mix, a new adaptation of our sales prices and the various aids to industry – with subsidies or by capping the price of gas – that certain countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy and Portugal have taken. The year 2023 should therefore be a year with a more positive outlook.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.