"Despite the crisis in Spain, Barcelona is a city that scores positively in international markets"

June 5, 2013 01:34 AM | Pedro Javier Armengou

Mateu Hernández is the General Director of Barcelona Global, an independent private association that is trying to make Barcelona one of the best cities in the world to attract talent and business activity. Its activities are similar to associations like Partnership for New York, Berlín & Partners and London & Partners, for example. Barcelona Global is made up of the main research centres in the city, prestigious professionals from the Catalan capital or related to it, and more than thirty of the most powerful and innovative companies in Barcelona.

Barcelona among the world’s top 15 cities regarding foreign investment, global competitiveness and scientific production

May 22, 2013 12:07 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In addition, in 2012, the Catalan capital was the world’s 5th best ranked city in the area of life quality and urban prosperity, after Tokyo, Stockholm, Paris and Oslo. Barcelona was also among the international centres regarding tourist figures, being the 4th European city which receives the highest number of foreign tourists. It is also the second best city in Europe for shopping and it is among the best in Europe for doing business, after gaining competitiveness by reducing life costs. Barcelona is the 13th world city in global competitiveness, the 12th in the number of foreign investment projects and the 10th in scientific production. Furthermore, it is the only European city with 2 business schools ranked among the continent’s top ten (IESE and ESADE).

Gas Natural Fenosa earns €411 million in the first quarter of 2013, 1% more than a year ago

May 8, 2013 12:34 AM | CNA

The international business of the Catalan energy company has been the main driving force behind the profit increase in the January-March period, compared to a year ago. Gas Natural Fenosa’s EBITDA which come from its international business increased by 8.1% while that coming from the Spanish market dropped by 2%. International business represented 44.1% of Gas Natural Fenosa’s total consolidated turnover during the first three months of this year. The consolidated EBITDA reached €1.33 billion, 2.2% higher than that reached in the first quarter of 2012. The company’s debt levels reached 50.9%.

The Catalan Government attracted 37% more foreign investment in 2012 than in the previous year

April 23, 2013 09:03 PM | CNA

47 foreign investment industrial projects, bringing in €331.88 million, landed in Catalonia last year through ‘Invest in Catalonia’, a programme from the Catalan Government. This represents 37% more investments than in 2011. The projects created 2,324 new jobs and they also allowed companies to keep 2,566 positions. Besides, the Spanish Ministry for the Economy stated that foreign investment in Spain dropped by 43% in total and by 14% in Catalonia. The Catalan Business Minister, Felip Puig, explained that the Spanish Ministry data includes financial investments. However, Puig emphasised that the Spanish Ministry’s report also states that industrial and manufacturing investments in Catalonia increased by 6.2% and 11% respectively.

Retail multinational Mango increased its turnover by 20% in 2012

April 11, 2013 12:02 AM | CNA

The Catalan clothing company Mango had a €1.69 billion turnover last year, which is a 20% increase on 2011 data. 84% of the company’s revenue comes from outside Spain. During 2012, the Catalonia-based company opened 197 shops or retail corners worldwide, 180 of which were outside Spain. By the end of the year, Mango had 2,600 shops in 107 countries, with more than 12,000 employees all over the world. In 2013, the Catalan company will enter four new markets: Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Mongolia and Zimbabwe. In addition, it has planned to invest €265 million in opening new selling points, reforming shops and improving its logistics and information systems.

Catalonia’s public body offering credit funded 8,500 companies in 2011 and 2012 with €1.7 billion

March 25, 2013 10:03 PM | CNA

The Institut Català de Finances (ICF), the Catalan Government’s financial institution which offers credit, announced that it gave €1.7 billion in loans to 8,500 companies over the last two years in an Action Plan. The plan’s main objective is to foster economic activity and prevent companies from going bankrupt due to liquidity issues. 98% of those who received loans were SMEs and independent workers. The ICF’s Action Plan had the objective of injecting liquidity into the real economy, into the Catalan business network, while the private banks are going through their restructuring process and access to credit is particularly difficult for many companies.

Multi-million euro support for internationalisation of Catalan fashion label Desigual

March 25, 2013 07:23 PM | CNA / Karina Reinhard

The fashion label Desigual based in Barcelona has obtained a €200 million line of credit from different banks. This financial support will be used to finance international expansion as well as plans for a new logistical centre in Vilamoura (Barcelona). Leading this investment is the Catalan bank CaixaBank, mostly owned by La Caixa. Under the slogan “Desigual – It’s not the same” the label wants to focus on continual improvements, innovation, engagement, tolerance, positivism and fun. Within this slogan now Desigual is trying to attain a more international status, enlarging its current team of 2,900 people from 72 different nationalities.

Catalan Grífols buys 60% of Progenika Biopharma and posts a net profit of €257 million

March 7, 2013 07:26 PM | CNA

The company, which is based in Greater Barcelona, is the world’s third leader in blood derivatives pharmaceutical products. Last year, it bought out its main competitor in the United States, Talecris. Grífols had a €2.62 billion turnover in 2012 and almost doubled its sales compared to the 2011 figures. The company’s net profit last year quadruples that of 2011. The good results are due to a significant reduction in debt levels and Grífols’ penetration into the United States market. Besides, this week it announced it bought for €37 million the 60% of Progenika Biopharma’s capital, a Basque biotechnology company specialised in the design of diagnostic tests.

Applus+ acquires Chinese company EDI to strengthen its presence in the Asian market

March 5, 2013 09:05 PM | CNA / Ana Macías

The Barcelona-based company Applus+, partially-owned by the Carlyle Group and specialized in automobile technical inspections, reports and certificates, has bought the Chinese company EDI. The transaction, whose cost is unknown, allows the company to increase its capacity in the Asian market. The acquisition of local companies is one of the usual tactics by the Catalan corporation to reach new markets worldwide. Applus+ is present in 65 countries already and most of its revenue comes from international markets. Besides, the operation reinforces Barcelona’s position as an international centre of the automation industry.

Gas Natural Fenosa increased its net profit by 8.8% in 2012, earning €1.44 billion

February 19, 2013 09:45 PM | CNA

The Catalan energy multinational’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) reached €5.08 billion, 9.4% more than in 2011, thanks to its international business, which grew by 22.6% and balanced out the stagnation in the Spanish market. In fact, Gas Natural Fenosa’s business in Spain now only accounts for 56.8% of its gross profits, while in 2011 this represented 61.5%. Furthermore, the firm’s financial debt decreased by 7.5% and now the company’s financial debt/EBITDA ration is 3.1. With these results, the Barcelona-based company has fulfilled the objectives of its strategic plan up until 2012.

Car manufacturer Seat starts production of the new León after investing €800 million in its Catalan plant

October 26, 2012 01:35 AM | CNA

The production of the new Seat León, the brand’s flagship model, guarantees 1,600 direct jobs and 6,000 indirect ones in the supply industries. The car manufacturing company, owned by Volkswagen, has its only plant in Martorell, Greater Barcelona. The company has great expectations of the new Seat León, which will be distributed worldwide from Catalonia. The new car model is the milestone of Seat’s commercial and strategic plan for this year, with the objective of becoming profitable again. It will be sold in three different versions: a five-door and a three-door model, and a station wagon car.

Barcelona-based Gas Natural Fenosa signs an estimated €1 billion contract with Indian Gail

August 31, 2012 11:40 PM | CNA

The Catalan multinational company will provide Gail, the largest gas distributor in India, around 3 bcm of liquefied natural gas for three years. This quantity represents 10% of Spain’s annual gas consumption. Gas Natural Fenosa refused to disclose the value of the contract, but sources from the sector estimate it would be worth more than €1 billion. This would be the largest contract in Asia for this Barcelona-based company, which has a significant presence in South America.

The Catalan pharmaceutical company Galenicum enters the Brazilian market

August 30, 2012 04:12 PM | CNA / David Tuxworth

The expansion to Brazil is part of the company’s international development plan, which aims to start operations in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. The company hopes to replicate its successful European business model overseas and has started with the opening of new offices in São Paulo. Galenicum, a developer of generic medicines, is based in Barcelona and produced a turnover of €77 million in 2011, a 542% increase in just two years.

Catalan exports increase by 7.4% in the first half of the year

August 16, 2012 10:35 PM | CNA / David Tuxworth

With 5.13 billion in foreign sales in June, Catalan exports have grown by 6.6% over the same period in 2011. Amongst the Autonomous Communities, Catalonia ranks first for its export economy, in the first six months of this year Catalan companies sold up to €29.1 billion abroad. The increase in foreign exports and the fall in imports have reduced the trade deficit by 31% in the first six months of this year.