The war for control of Abengoa intensifies in the final stretch of the negotiation to save the company


The war for control of Abengoa intensifies in the final stretch of the negotiation to save the company

The last quarter is decisive for Abengoa to avoid another year – and there would already be two – in agony, and much happens because of what happens at the shareholders’ meeting scheduled for this September 30, on first call, or on October 1, in second. At this meeting, the shareholders grouped around the platform Abengoashare, with the control of 21% of the votes, they intend to force the cessation of the current leadership, the same that almost a year ago they imposed, but by which they later felt betrayed when they went on to support the frustrated 2020 rescue plan that Gonzalo Urquijo had devised.

It is not on the agenda, whose only point is to approve the 2019 accounts, those that Abengoa presented with such delay and the consequent sanctions, but the minorities threaten to vote against them and, in addition, they will request the removal of the president of the board of directors, Juan López-Bravo, with the intention of imposing his candidate, Clemente Fernández, former president of the group Amper. The commercial registrar of Seville has already overturned its intention to have included this complement on the agenda due to lack of documentation, but they hold on to the fact that the Capital Companies Law allows voting for dismissals and appointments despite the fact that they have not been put on the agenda. .

In the hands of a bankruptcy administrator since the beginning of the year, EY Lawyers, therefore in charge of presiding and ordering the shareholders’ meeting, the development of the day generates uncertainties around its outcome, while the minority count votes to once again make a show of force and play a decisive role in any viability plan for a multinational with debts of more than 6,000 million euros, and that in the last decade has achieved two financial bailouts, although none has resisted it like this.

For Abengoashare, taking control of the parent company means gaining access to Abenewco1, the subsidiary that actually concentrates the company’s assets, after its previous administrators were transferred to them, with the consequent uprising of minority groups after they were It will cost you heavy losses on your investment. This also happens when there is a purchase offer on Abenewco1 by Terramar, a US fund specialized in acquiring bankrupt companies, which finalizes an agreement with the firm’s creditors –mainly KKR and Banco Santander– linked to a bailout for part of the State Society of Industrial Participations (SEPI), which should then go through the Council of Ministers.

The SEPI is willing to put almost 250 million euros for the operation, but it is urgent that there be social peace as a guarantee, which is what is further glimpsed at the moment. For this reason, this agreement, in which Terramar would undertake not to chop up the company and to maintain around 2,000 jobs and the work centers that it has in Spain, remains in the air pending the outcome of the board of directors. Among other things, because neither Terramar nor the creditors are trusted by a board of directors controlled exclusively by minorities, nor do they trust the intentions of the US fund, which fear that it is a liquidator. Moreover, from Abengoashare they maintain contacts for the entry of other investors and thus configure an operation that they understand as a guarantee for their interests and those of the company founded in Seville 80 years ago.

The difficulty, then, is to set up a board of directors that satisfies all parties, which negotiation sources see as “very unlikely” to happen this week, although the talks will continue “until the last moment.” In fact, Abengoashare is so sure of being able to put Clemente Fernández as chairman of the board of directors – seconded by Alfonso Murat and Joaquín Martínez Sieso – that they are already considering another extraordinary shareholders’ meeting before the end of the year for, this time, yes, approve the accounts for 2019, and even those for 2020, which this time would be in due time and form.

“From the works councils we want to join the solution”, have pointed out representatives of the workers from the different companies. In a statement they point out that the workers are “the essential piece for the assembly and closing of the definitive agreement that allows Abengoa to get out of the current painful situation.”

The staff, which for months has been the protagonist of various mobilizations demanding an exit for the multinational, urge “a definitive agreement between all the parties that ends and leaves behind the stage lived up to this date, with the sole interest that the company is put into action. march, begin to grow and guarantee the maintenance of thousands of families that depend on it, as well as SMEs and the self-employed “. The document is signed by the company committees Abengoa Agua SA, Abengoa Energía SA, Abenewco1, Inabensa Torrecuellar and Plataforma ASE Solucar.

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