The president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, has passed his first shareholders' meeting this Friday as accused of the Villarejo case without any allusion to the scandal of the alleged illegal commissions to the retired former commissioner who is investigating the National Court, to which he has not even alluded , and with the approval of all the items on the agenda.
Facing the board, the largest proxy in the world, ISS, had supported Galán's management, but other investor voting advisors such as Glass Lewis, one of the largest in the world, or the Spanish Corporation, had recommended voting against of some points on the agenda after the executive's imputation.
However, the meeting, held in an unusual format (with a very small capacity), has been a mere formality for the executive, who has read all his interventions, including the answers to the question time. There have been no interventions by the shareholders and the secretary has read the questions very briefly.
The only minimally thorny question for the executive has been one related to why the company has not been able to execute the multimillion-dollar purchase (7,000 million euros) of the US electricity company PNM, vetoed by the New Mexico regulator, due to its concern about the history of service of Avangrid (subsidiary of Iberdrola in the USA) in Maine and for the judicial investigation of Galán in that scandal of supposed illegal espionage to politicians and rivals.
The president of Iberdrola has been "convinced" that the judicial appeal filed against that decision by the local regulator "is going to be positive" and has trusted that the operation, which will be "very beneficial for the shareholders of the companies", can close in the future.
The rest of the questions have been a walk for Galán, with issues such as the governments' commitment to decarbonization, the impact of the war in Ukraine, the possible impact on the dividend (which he has ruled out) of the macroeconomic situation and energy prices , plans for offshore wind or green hydrogen, diversity and inclusion measures or Iberdrola's link with Bilbao and the Basque Country, where "we are the largest tax payer", he recalled.
The last question was to demand the continuity of the current board of directors: "We defend this project that has made Iberdrola the largest electricity company in Europe and one of the largest in the world", the Galán glove picked up, underlining the “dialoguing” mood of a management team “that always defends” its shareholders.
In this type of appointment, comments on the regulatory framework are common, as it happened in the last meeting of Endesa. On this occasion there has been no allusion to the Government's measures to deal with the energy crisis, now that it is considering raising the taxation of energy companies to drain their extraordinary profits, and after the public confrontation that Galán starred in on the occasion of the cap on gas released this week.
Regarding the economic situation, the executive stressed that Iberdrola, which a few weeks ago saw Inditex once again overtake it as the company with the largest capitalization on the Ibex, has a business that is more resistant to cycles, due to the "stability" of electricity consumption and the prospects for electrification of the economy. In Spain, he has reiterated, the company has "sold all energy production by 2022 at fixed prices prior to the current ones" and the lower results have been "more than compensated" by other countries.
Regarding the next interest rate increases, he recalled that more than 80% of Iberdrola's debt is at a fixed rate, with long-term maturities of more than 6 years on average. And "in view of how the year is evolving, especially in the United States and Brazil", he ratified the goal of achieving a profit of between 4,000 and 4,200 million euros this year and increasing the dividend in the same proportion. , after the record profit of 3,855 million (8% more) registered in 2021.
The meeting took place at Iberdrola's Iberdrola Tower, with a much lower capacity than other editions held before the pandemic at the Euskalduna Palace in the Biscayan capital. After two years of telematic assemblies due to the health crisis, to make it "more digital and participatory", it has been the first that has been followed in Spain in the Metaverse, immersively (with virtual reality glasses) or via mobile or computer .
The power company had promised to raise the dividend with an extra payment of 1 euro for every 200 shares for its more than 600,000 shareholders if a quorum of at least 70% was reached, an unprecedented measure until now in Spain. Attendance has finally been 72.13%, including present and represented capital.
Among the agreements to vote was the ratification of the appointment as counselor of the former Minister of Agriculture Isabel García Tejerina (PP) and the former director general of the Registry of the Ministry of Justice María Ángeles Alcalá, in addition to the renewal of the mandate of the former United States ambassador before the EU Anthony L. Gardner, "a sign of society's commitment to independence and diversity," according to Galán. The re-election of the 71-year-old executive, who ends his term next year and has been at the helm of the multinational for more than two decades, was not on the agenda.