EU Recovery Funds Are Set to Transform Spain’s Economy, CEOs Say

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European recovery funds flowing into Spain will help to transform its economy as firms invest to make businesses more digital, cleaner and energy-efficient, leaders of companies including Repsol SA and Endesa SA said in a Bloomberg panel.

Repsol has presented projects under the EU framework worth $6.3 billion in investment, Josu Jon Imaz, Repsol’s chief executive officer, said at the event hosted by Bloomberg Thursday on the outlook for use of the funds. Endesa has presented 122 projects for consideration for EU funds, Endesa CEO Jose Bogas said.

“Next Generation European funds are the right answer to boost the economy to recovery after the pandemic,” Imaz said. “The industrial sector in Spain is prepared to grow and to be the catalyst for the Spanish recovery -- Spain has a great opportunity to transform.”

Joaquin Arenas, Bank of America Corp.’s senior executive for Spain, said investor appetite for Spanish assets remains strong and he expects to see more companies raising funds in the stock markets. He spoke as Acciona SA’s clean-energy unit rose on its debut on the Madrid stock exchange after its initial public offering priced at the bottom end of its indicative range.

“We will continue to see listings,” he said. “It will not only be in the renewable sector, which has taken a lot of prominence.”

Read More: Santander’s Botin Sees Spain’s 2021 Rebound ‘Off The Charts’ (1)

Spain is expected to receive as much as 140 billion euros ($166 billion) in grants and cheap loans during the next six years with an initial 19 billion euros installment from the EU recovery fund due by the end of the year.

Forum Insights

  • Arenas urged the government to use all the loans at its disposal from the recovery fund to fuel an economic recovery that’s already poised to be stronger than that in other euro-area countries
    • “Any further support, any additional support to get the economy stronger and in better shape going forward is very good news,” he said
  • CaixaBank SA is becoming more optimistic on bad loans trends and the lender is seeing an increase in consumer loan demand, CFO Javier Pano said
    • “We are already observing an increase in consumer loan demand - this is already happening since May,” Pano said
  • Endesa’s Bogas said he sees recent surges in energy prices as temporary due to cold winter conditions and high gas and carbon prices although they may endure for some months
    • He doesn’t see the need for reform of pricing structures because they’ll come down over the longer term

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