Galán denies that Iberdrola has benefits that fell from the sky before the shareholders

The chairman of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, at the shareholders' meeting held in Bilbao. / CR

The president of the firm, who achieves 98% support for the proposals put forward at the meeting held this Friday, does not refer to the gas ceiling or the electricity tax in his speech

Jose Maria Waiter

The president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, insisted yesterday that the energy group does not have benefits that fell from heaven, as the Government maintains about this company and others in the sector due to the 'extraordinary' profits that, according to the Executive, they obtain in this crisis of record prices. To this end, the executive presented during the shareholders' meeting that Iberdrola held in Bilbao – where it has its headquarters – the data on the prices at which the corporation has electricity marketed. Specifically, Galán stressed that the group has all its energy production in Spain "sold at fixed prices prior to the current ones" by 2022, as well as "more than 80% by 2023 and an important part for subsequent years" and put in value that, due to the drought and lack of wind power, has been forced to buy more energy to supply its customers at prices "more expensive than what it has sold".

This was the reference that Ignacio Galán made to the context in which the Spanish energy market is experiencing, in a meeting in which he did not deliver the usual speech as president before the shareholders, with an eminently digital format, broadcast from the Biscayan capital. It focused on more structural than conjunctural issues. In fact, Galán did not make any reference to the implementation of the Iberian exceptionality – the mechanism by which Spain and Portugal have limited the price of gas used to produce electricity – nor about the possible new electricity tax that the Coalition government wants to apply to the sector to tax its profits.

He did mention the impact that the war in Ukraine may have on Iberdrola, indicating that it is "minimal" because "we are not present in Russia or Ukraine nor do we import Russian gas," as he indicated when answering a question from one of shareholders who raised this issue.

A good part of the attention of this ordinary annual meeting focused on the participation of shareholders and support for the group's management. The quorum has finally been 72.13% of the share capital, which represents a "relevant" increase in the participation of institutional, national and international investors, according to the company, reaching six points more than in 2021. Although the figure is lower to that of other preceding exercises. All the blocs of agreements included in the agenda have been overwhelmingly supported with an average 98% affirmative vote. Specifically, the point related to management results and account auditing, with 98.52%; the governance and sustainability system, 99.93%; the issue related to remuneration, 95.78%; the board of directors, 99.10%; and the authorizations and delegation of powers, with 97.85%.

Dividend for exceeding 70%

Definitely, and as a novelty in this meeting, the shareholders will see their attendance at the meeting rewarded by exceeding the quorum of 70%. It is an 'involvement dividend', a unique initiative in Ibex-35 companies, of 0.005 euros per share (that is, one euro for every 200 titles). This new bonus has also been incorporated into the statutes.

Despite the current situation, Galán has ratified the group's objective of reaching a record net profit for this 2022 of between 4,000 and 4,200 million euros, thus increasing the dividend for its shareholders "in the same proportion". Already in 2021, the energy company obtained a record net profit of 3,885 million euros, increasing the figure by 8% compared to the previous year and exceeding the objectives that had been set.

He also spoke about the pending acquisition operation in the United States, where Iberdrola intends to acquire the company PNM Resources. The transaction has been paralyzed since the end of last year by a New Mexico state regulator, among other things, due to governance problems linked to the 'Villarejo case'. However, Galán pointed out that Iberdrola has "all federal and state permits except one." And he indicated: "I am sure that the result of the resource will be positive" to complete this acquisition with which it would expand its presence, especially in renewables, in that economy.

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