Spanish Companies Are Busy, Busy: Particularly Overseas

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It’s usual for the press to talk a lot about the extent of the internationalisation of the Spanish economy. It publishes data on the trade balance, the number of tourist arrivals, or on the balance of payments during the first half of 2016, which recorded a positive balance of 26 billion euros, the maximum in the historic series.

But it is often ignored that brands like Santander, Zara, Freixenet, ACS, Repsol, Roca, Iberdrola, Abertis, Telefónica, Melia or Ferrovial, to mention only a very few, are the companies which are behind this internationalisation of our country’s economy. Over the last few years, they have given a considerable boost to the economy’s presence across the globe.

Today, little by litte, with or without debt and forced by the crisis, Spain has one of the most international economies in the world. Its foreign sector is proud of its continually growing exports, with increasing diversification in terms of business segments and geographical destinations, which now account for 35% of GDP. The strong expansion on the part of its leading companies, according to reports published, puts Spain in eleventh place in the rankings of world investors, with an accumulated 2.4% of global investment. For example, in Latin America Spain is the number two foreign investor, only beaten by the US, according to data provided by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Although citizens are not able to evaluate many of the big figures, it’s interesting to monitor how Spain’s listed companies do business in the world during a short space of time – October – to prove that their internationalisation is far from being just a tale.

Ferrovial has been awarded a 50-year concession to build a 35 kilometres stretch of a motorway in the state of Virginia near Washington, which will imply a total investment of 3 billion euros.

Gamesa will supply 304MW for five wind energy projects in India.

CAF has won an about 300 million euros contract to supply 146 floor trams for Belgian company De Lijn.

Duro Felguera has won a contract in Romania to build a combined cycle power plant with a capacity of up to 430 MW. The contract is worth 245 million euros, which can be extended to 269 million.

Abertis has teamed up with the Canadian investment fund IFM in the bid for a 40 kilometre stretch of the UK motorway M6. This is the country’s only toll motorway and forms a ring road  around Birmingham.

ACS, along with Canadian fund Brookfield has won the concession to build and maintain three electrictity lines in Brazil for an investment of 660 million euros.

Sacyr, along with Portugal’s Mota Engil, has won its first contract in Paraguay worth 1.350 billion euros.

Viscofan has bought Vector’s companies in the US and Europe for 3.4 million dollars.

• ACS has won a 1.3 billion euros contract to build a motorway in Germany via its subsidiary Hochtief, teaming up with DIF and Johann Bunte.

• Ferrovial has won its first big constract in Australia through its services subsidiary Broadspectrum. The 179 million euros contract is to protect the courts in the state of Eastern Australia.

The constortium formed by Indra and Navantia has won a 15.7 million euros contract to update the current combat system of the Indonesian navy’s Malahayati corvette.

Enagas has agreed to buy International Power’s stake in Peru’s Gas Transporter for nearly 60 million euros.

Banco Santander Rio has closed a deal with Citibank to buy its retail clients’ portfolio and its branch network. This will allow Banco Santander to add more than half a million clients to the over 2.7 million it already has in the country. It has also added 70 branches to the 401 it had in Rio.

• The UK government decided to give the green light to the construction of a third runway and a sixth terminal at Heathrow. The cost of the expansion will be around 19.7 billion euros. Ferrovial is the airport’s manager and leading shareholder with 25%.



About the Author

Carlos Díaz Guell
Editor at and, Carlos began his career in financial journalism as founding member of El País. He's been communications director of Bank of Spain, member of the ECC at the European Central Bank, Institutional Relations director at Iberia and editor at La Economía 16 magazine.