The former president of the Balearic Islands and current MEP for Citizens, José Ramón Bauzá, omitted in the declaration of interests presented in the European Parliament a little over a year ago that he is a minority shareholder in Gas2Move, a start-up dedicated to mobility with natural gas, of which the former PP leader is a founding partner and director and whose main shareholders are the Spanish Enagás and a business incubator financed by the EU.
In the declaration of interests As presented by Bauzá in the European Parliament on July 2, 2019, the current spokesman for the European Liberal group in the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism did include as “non-paid activity” his membership in the Gas2Move board of directors, but nothing of its shareholding. According to the Mercantile Registry, he was appointed on June 18, 2019, just a few days before picking up his MEP record.
The code of conduct for MEPs requires them to declare “shares in companies or companies, when it may have political implications”, regardless of the percentage of shares they own. Bauzá, who denies these political implications, says that he did not include his participation in Gas2Move, which was 2.24% then, because it was “minimal” and was already “very diluted”. He explains that his initial package, which was 5% after an investment of 16,500 euros that he made in April 2018, is now, after several capital increases that he did not go to, of only 1.1%.
Bauzá, who does not deny that this initial participation may have increased in value with the growth of its start-up, says that “it is impossible for there to be a conflict of interest” because the powers of the company’s sphere of action correspond to another European Parliament commission to the one that he does not belong, that of the Environment.
He also says that there is an “important difference” from the Spanish Congress: MEPs “have no legislative initiative. We only legislate on what the Commission is proposing to us.”
“What we do in the Transportation Commission are other things such as the regulation of slots air, the approval of mobility packages in the field, infrastructure, corridors … It is impossible that there is a conflict of interest because it is not a transport competition. It is impossible for me to have access to any legislative dossier on gas powered vehicles because it is not within my competence. In any case, the conflict would occur if I belonged to the Committee on the Environment, which is the one that governs the entire issue of vehicle propulsion, or that of Industry “,
“I have never been a speaker, or a shadow speaker, of anything that has to do with gas,” says Bauzá, adding that “none of my political statements or interventions in committee have to do with gas.”
Last mile boom
Gas2Move was incorporated in December 2017 and is domiciled in Valdemoro (Madrid). It specializes in so-called last-mile logistics, which is experiencing a boom due to the rise of electronic commerce with the coronavirus pandemic. Its largest shareholder is Enagás, with almost 70%, and which defines it as an “eco-sustainable last mile logistics transport startup whose vehicle fleet is powered by alternative energies (Natural Gas, Electricity, Hydrogen, etc.)” .
The other benchmark partner is KIC InnoEnergy, a public-private body funded by the EU through the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and participated by large European multinationals and entities from the academic world.
This Netherlands-based entity, which supports startups with high growth potential in the field of energy and sustainable mobility, joined the project in December 2018 With 15% and after having “partially” subscribed the capital increases carried out since then, its current participation is 12.5%, according to Josep-Miquel Torregrosa, head of Investments at InnoEnergy in Spain, explained by email.
On this matter, Bauzá points out that InnoEnergy “is not a body of the EU”; It is “a Dutch company, and this in turn receives EU funds”, so there is no conflict of interest either.
The former Balearic president, who was invited to Palma last February by the Spanish ferry company Balearia together with a delegation of MEPs from the Committee on Transport and Tourism to learn about “their strategic commitment to the use of natural gas as fuel,” he assures that he has remained linked to Gas2Move “for a purely sentimental matter, because it was our project and I I’m excited to see it grow. ”
A course and several awards
The company, he recalls, arose as an end-of-course project for a Public-Private Leadership program at the University of Deusto that Bauzá carried out in 2017, before moving to Ciudadanos and when he was still a senator with the PP. The project, in which Enagás or Red Eléctrica workers also participated, was selected as the best of that year by a jury that included, among others, the late former PSOE leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and the ex-minister and former mayor of Madrid and the Community of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón.
Gas2Move also caught the attention of Enagás, which in February 2017 awarded it the award for the best project of the year within the framework of its ‘Ingenia Business’ program to support entrepreneurship to include the company founded by Bauzá and one of its employees in your business accelerator.
Since this initiative was launched in 2016 and until the end of 2019, Enagás has invested a total of 11.9 million in 11 startups, with 337 jobs generated, according to the energy company, which does not detail what its investment in the company founded by Bauzá.
Company sources point out that “the management of these start-ups is carried out by entrepreneurs” and assure that “decisions about the composition of their boards of directors do not go through Enagás’ decision-making bodies”. In the case of Gas2Move, the presidency corresponds to Enagás Emprende, a subsidiary in support of entrepreneurship who reports to the CEO of the gas company, Marcelino Oreja, son of the former minister and former European commissioner, and who was a MEP for the PP before being appointed executive from Enagás.
Bauzá, who says that he did not manage the process of joining Enagás’s Gas2Move, known for having signed numerous former politicians in recent years (the latter, former socialist ministers José Blanco and José Montilla), assures not knowing how the billing of the company he founded has evolved despite being its administrator (“I am not involved in the day to day of the accounts”).
According to data provided by Enagás, last year the turnover of its subsidiary (which has not yet deposited its 2019 accounts) increased tenfold, from 428,000 euros to 4.48 million. Strong growth after a year in which, as explained at the end of that year, the COO of Gas2Move, José Antonio Baena, the company managed to consolidate itself “serving the main logistics operators in Spain, with more than 300 routes in 20 provinces”.
“In less than two years of life, Gas2Move has become one of the first companies in the last logistical mile, becoming the leader in eco-sustainable distribution in Spain,” explained the company manager, who did not want to attend to elDiario.es
The strong growth of the company may have continued this year despite the collapse of the economy due to the pandemic. Until before COVID-19, Gas2Move’s clients were mainly logistics operators such as Seur, FedEx, DHL or Correos, for which it distributed products from large platforms such as Amazon. But with the health crisis and the rise of electronic commerce, the company expanded its services to distribute essential goods to distribution groups such as El Corte Inglés or Dia.
A line of business that “will continue to grow” when the pandemic passes, as he said in May to Capital Radio its CEO, Javier Ballesteros. “We have practically doubled the volume of packages,” to about 17,000 a month, Ballesteros said. The executive explained that the company increased its staff of dealers by 43% during the alarm, to around 360 employees.