Fri. Apr 19th, 2019

Francisco Gómez: "The crash of 2007 expelled the upstarts who had come to the real estate sector and I was happy" :: KPMG

Francisco Gómez: "The crash of 2007 expelled the upstarts who had come to the real estate sector and I was happy" :: KPMG

- They took six years to give us the license. We build in one. On 11 of 11 of 11 we opened.

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-Our winter customers. The caravans lined up to enter. When we opened the first one, in Guardamar, nobody knew us. Fourteen years later, we already had a brand. But, of course, you see that from the perspective of 2004, with a unique, buoyant environment and 2008 arrives and this makes it crash.

The president of Grupo Marjal, during the interview. | ÁLEX DOMINGUEZ

-An employer takes risks. And when one has the firm belief that this can be a success, then you play it.

- You see yourself in 2009, with four million investment plus the land, we were already at the bottom of the most terrible crisis and, I tell you honestly, for me it was a flight forward. You say: with what's in here, this has to be done. Also, with personal conviction, because I was the one who pulled this project. My partner was a little sideways: you're crazy! "I'm crazy, Pepe, but let's go." And we arrived in 2010, when they gave us the authorization and I called the person in charge of the Caja del Mediterráneo, who threatened me: if I do not finance that, I do not talk to you anymore. And I said: Hey, this is it. And then three or four banks were necessary. It was one thing after another. And you said: I throw in the towel, but I can not throw in the towel. With the investment we have here, this has to go. You think: if I was born in leathers and without teeth and I'm going to die the same, now I'm going to curl up? Nothing happens! If I have to go see works and work again as a rigger, I'm leaving. And the truth is that this was not the main business, we had the real estate, which was producing annual profits, gave you that little security. The family business is reinvesting, detracting what you need to live you and your family and nothing else. In addition, at that time, we personally endorsed, with your heritage.

-One of overwhelm you have, but as also firm belief in the project, and like the other campsite, which is Marjal Guardamar, goes like a machine, you say: this has to work. Paco pulled and Pepe said, be careful, we're going to hit it! If I had been of the same profile as my partner, I would not have progressed at the pace we have advanced. My vision has always been to create new models, to innovate, to stand out from the competition. We have to investigate and not compete for price, but for differentiation and service. In 2013, we made a strategic decision. Here, before 2007, there was a madness of soil speculation, the financial entities pushed for us to kill each other and for the speculators to work. We made a house of high quality, we throw the product a lot of sugar to make it good. We copied the model, they put less sugar and sold 30,000 or 40,000 euros cheaper. It did not have the same insulation, nor carpentry, but the external perception was similar and the foreign buyer said: to come for six months a year, it does not matter to me. And we said: it's over, let's differentiate ourselves from the rest.

-Yes, and thanks to that decision, since 2013 real estate has been growing at a rate of 25% per year.

"If the employer produces wealth and you complicate your life, you are doing the country a disservice"

-I was happy. The crash of 2007 expelled all the upstarts who had arrived in the sector. I have a professional deformation: I like to see a finished product as well as possible and not speculate with what I have done.

-We wanted to diversify. The idea is, in addition to retirees in winter, to bring it closer to the family. It is a hotel model in summer, but hotels can not make the offer you make, you have a competitive advantage. That is the differentiation. We have the biggest occupation in December-January, of foreigners. At Easter, when the Spaniards come, they leave. When we started, out of ignorance, I created a problem in the sector. In Spain, in the 90s, the level of the camping was what it was. And we had the paved streets, with electricity, water, sewage, satellite TV antenna socket for each plot, a pear building and a pool ... We got into the provincial association and I think we have done a great favor , because we set the bar high. It angered them at first, but then they started investing. These were family businesses, you did not have quality, it was very basic. A bull past, we created a model in Guardamar that made the whole sector of the camp raised in level.

-When we opted for this, we already knew that it was associated with a client of low purchasing power and cultural power. We thought that we had to change that model, that we could make facilities that differed. In France, Holland, Belgium, they have 20-25% of the population that is a camper, who likes this formula of outdoor vacations. In Spain 2%.

-By the bad image of the campsite, because of the very poor facilities it has had. It is associated with something that is not attractive. Changing the model, investing more, improving quality ... We have always been clear about the vocation of customer service, that philosophy of close family business. In this sector and in real estate. We serve the client from the beginning to the end.

-My last profession is a scout of campsites. To grow properly, we have sold 50% of Servicios Turístimos Marjal to Corpfin, which is a "family office", not a vulture fund, with which we are very comfortable. To me, this selling something that has cost you so much effort traumatized me at the time. But I thought: I am 70 years old, the possibility of creating a chain of establishments along the Mediterranean ... I said to myself: I'm going to the other neighborhood and I do not see it. With your own resources you can not do it, so the only formula is to inject capital. Corpfin met us and we reached an agreement. Leaving them a way out, because our vocation is to follow, theirs is profitability. And it gives us the possibility to move forward.

-One day, the children of the boss of the fishermen's guild of Guardamar tell us that they see that the traditional fishing goes to hell, the fishing grounds are depleted. We said: this has a future. There is no fish, we have to produce it and we will see what happens. There we are financial partners, an external professional takes the management and I, now that I have a little more free time, I am fond of the fish.

-Okay, in quotes. The growth of these past years, 2015-16-17, does not follow that ascending line. But we have not lowered in an important way, we keep the type. And Spain has expectations of growing this year despite having an unstable government.

"We need a stable framework that gives us security, for entrepreneurs the worst thing is that they change everything"

-Create uncertainty and it is not good. And with the politicians we have in this country, of the party that they are, I do not care ... The security is that the law we have today will not be modified tomorrow. For example, the labor. Or the taxes that punish the company, the family SMEs, which is the great fabric of our province, such as inheritance and donations. Now it is OK! Do not you know that he is doing us fatal damage? We do not need politicians at all, we need a stable framework that gives us security. To entrepreneurs, what can worse go is that they are changing everything. If you come tomorrow and tell me that yesterday I could fire someone paying x days a year and now he tells me that he is double, he is limiting me, he is annoying me and is annoying the economy. If the entrepreneur is the one who produces wealth and creates jobs and you are complicating your life with changing legislation, you are doing a disservice to this country and creating jobs and wealth. In 2016 we grew 3% without government. The mediocre governments that we have had and that we have have not been worth much to us, they do not generate welfare and wealth.

-In other regions there has been as much or more, as in Andalusia, but here has had quite a media impact. Chorizos has been, there are and there will be. Understanding chorizos people who want to take advantage without hitting. But giving a gentleman who is a politician a magic wand to touch the ground and transform it into a euro worth one hundred euros, without significant controls, creates putrefaction. Knowing that as they know and know, there are entrepreneurs with more scruples and others with less. And that's where all the corruption comes from. The professional entrepreneur who dedicates himself to work, to create wealth, to create employment, usually wants to earn the euro one by one and with effort.

-The corporation tax would have to be a tax ... I believe in the Welfare State, I believe in free health for all, in education for all, etc. But, to have all of that, we indisputably need an income.

Francisco Gómez, in the "resort" of the Marjal Group in Catral (Alicante). | ÁLEX DOMINGUEZ

-Yes, but to maintain the largest company in this country, which are all those officials who are not even measured productivity ... In any business is measured productivity. In the largest company in Spain, the public administration, productivity is not measured, it is not encouraged. But neither in the universities, which is the biggest nest of inbreeding and more. The public sector is the one that must be controlled. It takes someone who does not think only for four years. With that vision we will never advance and what we will do is put pressure on the private sector, which is what really produces wealth and employment. And size. Make a call for public employment as Pedro Sánchez has done thousands of jobs ... We need someone to maintain order, a Police, a Civil Guard, but the public sector is oversized. We have enough digitalization and we continue in the courts making files. Reduce public spending and we can reduce taxes. And this country will work much better. And now, he arrives on April 28, and will have to negotiate with three and then we will blame the other. But stop with nonsense! Agree on four important lines for this country to advance.

-Pacts of education. This country can not be 17 pieces each teaching different things.

-I would not have given them. Now that they were given, it would have to be tried. Something bad was done, which was to delegate to the autonomies certain things that should not have been delegated, because that has produced Catalonia, it has produced the Basque Country, it can produce Galicia and it can produce the Valencian Country or the Balearic Islands. That has to be redirected.

- What we can not have is a centralist and pancatalanist project and there are parties that have it. When we have the fifth province of Spain, which is Alicante, with a business network of SMEs that is the pear, what we can not do is burden the province and fragment it into nine regions. And there are parties and politicians who want to fragment and centralize everything in Valencia, which is what Catalonia did centralizing in Barcelona.

-It is the same as imposing the Valencian in the Vega Baja del Segura. I am from the Vega Baja. My father, my mother have been Spanish speakers, do you think I can be a Valencian-speaker? By conviction, no. If I have no other choice because I have to get an opposition, I will have to study Valencian, but I prefer to speak Spanish, which is spoken by 500 million people. Respect our culture. I am from Alicante and then Spanish. And Valencian because I live in the Valencian Community, but I feel Spanish one hundred percent. Impositions like these political parties pretend, like the Valencian or centralize everything in Valencia and also with a pancatalanist vision, when you have seen the Catalan example ... And, also, controlling education ... But if I am Spanish, if here the feeling is Spain! In the south of the province of Alicante, we are Spanish above all. Take the results of this area after the regional elections and you will see which party goes up. Yes, yes: Vox.

-In areas like this, which are being pressured with impositions, they are going to say: not here. I am convinced.

"The rise in the minimum wage will make the underground economy continue to grow"

-In the labor issue you have to make a great deal like the Pact of Toledo.

-More freedom. Have a minimum, because there is still an exploiter. But the businessman today, with the exception of this guy that I already tell you that there are very few, is quite social, wants a just society. And we are going to pay a fair salary. If we have a cultured society, formed, with entrepreneurs who are real businessmen, who are not speculators and businessmen, that there is some, let them freedom and control the underground economy, which is what makes us have people charging 400-500 euros. It is what must be watched.

-It will have an impact mainly on agriculture, because they pay fairly low salaries. What he's going to do is keep the underground economy growing. It is that what we are putting are sticks to the wheels of the machine. I agree that living with 900 euros today should be the minimum, but we are going to do it in another way so that there is no crash. We do not pay anyone less than 900 euros, with the imposition and without the imposition. But in some sector it can hurt.

-To associate with Corpfin to earn resources is to generate that "resort" network project along the Spanish Mediterranean. That is the initial and closest challenge. Growing up creating differentiated houses in tourism real estate is the other challenge. And get better. But, at the same time, I would like to break with the traditional model of housing, build one in which we had things to share in a building or urbanization, common elements. A society like this, in the future, tends to have your small housing unit and then many common spaces to coexist with people who have your age, your way of thinking and who can group. And have enough capital to rent that, not sell it.

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