The government wants more standards

The government wants more standards

Fundació La Caixa’s holdings, through Criteria, in seven of the main companies listed on the Spanish stock market already add up to 24,000 million euros. They are distributed: CaixaBank (12,100), Naturgy (6,433), Telefónica, which was once credited with 10% (2,380), ACS (1,060), Cellnex (1,009), Colonial (570) and Puig (472). According to Criteria, the total value of its other commercial properties (Inbursa, BEA, Saba and Aigües de Barcelona) adds up to $2,900 million, to which $2,700 million of real estate assets were added before the closed operation with Colonial.


The moves made in recent months since the appointment of Ángel Simón as CEO have cemented the group headed by Isidre Faini as the first private Hispanic investment fund. In terms of stock market shares, he is only surpassed by Amancio Ortega, thanks to his 60% stake in Inditex, worth $62,000 million.

At the international level, the investments of the largest fund manager in the world, the American BlackRock, exceeded $30 billion in Spain, and the Norwegian sovereign fund closed the year 2023 with $12.151 million on the Spanish stock market, outperforming Persian Gulf funds.

Standards will continue to move and portfolios will adjust. Its position must be reflected in the announcement of the Abu Dhabi Energy Company, which is considering launching a tender offer to purchase 40% of Naturegy. At the height of corporate operations in Spain, with the stock market recovering after years of hibernation and expectations of lower interest rates, standards appear at any crossroads like a reborn white knight to create solid centers that can handle foreign capital flows strategically. Companies.

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The standards moves are viewed positively by the current government, citing an “exceptionally good relationship” with its management team. The market value of the 35 Ibex companies in which the Spanish State participates reached $25,800 million through three different investment vehicles (Sepi, Enaire and FROB), half of which 51% belongs to Aena. The standards and FROB add to the majority of the capital of Spain’s first bank, CaixaBank.

Is the Spanish government interested in inspiring the development or creation of more investment instruments such as benchmarks? The answer: “Yes, we will look at it with the right eyes,” government sources say. From Moncloa they indicate interest in repeating similar formulas. One option is: if regional banks can, modestly, consider more comprehensive investments, replicating La Caixa’s formula.

A curious case that does exist is Kutxabank, owned by BBK, Kutxa and Vital, which owns 44.4% of the Ekarpen Fund, in which the Basque government participates with 34.81%, the three provincial governments with 13.33%, and the rest in the Basque Country. Mondragon’s hand. Twenty companies are involved, including Gestamp, Cie Automotive, Kaiku and Arteche. Regardless, Kutxbank owns 14% of CAF and the same in Petronor. The Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait Foundation owns a stake of less than 3% in Iberdrola. Kutxabank made profits of 510 million in 2023.

Ibercaja (which has revenues of $304 million and is owned by four institutions) has twenty stakes in companies in the industries in which it mainly does business. 39.9% in the Henio Publishing Group and 50% in the Aramon Winter Resorts Group, with the Government of Aragon sharing a further 50%. In Galicia, the main operation of Abanca (a $711 million profit and controlled by financier Juan Carlos Escotet) was to rescue Pescanova and Deportivo de La Coruña in football, which had just been promoted to the second division. The other large regional bank is Unicaja (267 in profits), where its institution owns 30.2% and Fundación Cajas de Ahorro de Asturias controls 6.67%. The Olivo and Domínguez de Gor families (Mayoral Group) share the remaining 18%. Corporació Alba is the investment vehicle of the March family, owners of Banca March, which owns stakes – among other things – in nine listed companies. Of these, 5.4% are in Naturgia and 5% are in Colonial.

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When some of these parties were asked whether there were discussions with the government regarding the possibility of developing or intensifying their investments, the answer was no. The government is not considering calling in two major Spanish investors: Amancio Ortega through the Pontegadia Fund, which focuses mainly on real estate, and the Roig family (Mercadona and Pamesa). Exploration of new energy standards has only just begun.

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