united states

Catalan pharmaceutical Grífols unveils world´s largest plasma fractionation plant in North Carolina

June 17, 2014 09:03 PM | ACN

A plasma fractionation plant installed in Clayton, North Carolina by the company Grífols was unveiled on Tuesday by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, along with the President and CEO of the pharmaceutical, Víctor Grífols, and the State Governor, Pat McCrory. The new plant is 14,400 square metres big, will create over 200 jobs and represents an investment of 260 million euros. Expected to be operational by 2015, it will the largest and one of the most advanced plasma fractionation plants in the world. Grífols already has 2,300 employees in the state of North Carolina and it is among the world's top pharmaceuticals within the blood-derivates market. A few weeks ago, Víctor Grífols gave his support to the Catalan President and the self-determination process, which he confirmed on Tuesday.

Sportswear company One Distribution moves its European headquarters to Barcelona

March 24, 2014 09:37 PM | ACN

American corporation One Distribution, which runs the skating brand Supra and Kr3w Denim, will move its European headquarters from Biarritz (France) to Barcelona. From the Catalan capital, One Distribution will also be managing its markets in the Middle East and Africa. The US company will occupy a 1,000 square metre building in Barcelona's 22@ technological district, in the Poblenou neighbourhood. Two showrooms will also be built to showcase One Distribution's products. According to sources from the Catalan Ministry for Business and Employment – which has assisted the company in setting up offices in Barcelona, 30 new jobs will be created within the first two years.

Amazon might open new logistics centre in Greater Barcelona

March 13, 2014 08:34 PM | ACN

E-commerce giant Amazon is studying the possibility of opening its first logistics centre in Catalonia, as advanced by some newspapers on Thursday. The new facilities could be located in El Prat de Llobregat, next to Barcelona's main airport. The centre could dispose of 210,000 m2 of work space and 151,000 m2 of land, making it larger than the Amazon centre in Madrid, according to ‘La Vanguardia’ newspaper. Works could start soon for the logistics centre to become operational by late 2015, with 3,000 employees expected to be hired. The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, regretted this early announcement as the company has not reached a final decision yet. Puig regretted the “reckless” move by the Spanish Secretary for Trade for disclosing the news and added that Catalan authorities continued to “work discreetly” to attract investments from foreign multinationals.

‘The New York Times’ editorial: Catalan secession claims are

March 12, 2014 08:04 PM | ACN

In its editorial on Wednesday, the prestigious ‘The New York Times’ has dissociated the current situation in Crimea and its secession from Ukraine from the independence processes in Catalonia, Scotland and Quebec. The editorial article, which demands European Union countries to impose economic sanctions on Vladimir Putin's Russia, states that the Catalans, Scots and Quebecers “have shown there are legitimate ways to raise” the secession issue. The American newspaper criticized Crimea for its “phony referendum” with a “foreordained” outcome, organised in an express way just as Russian soldiers were being deployed in the peninsula. The newspaper admits secession is a “difficult” matter but recalled that the invasion of Crimea is “illegal”, calling on the international community to react to Putin’s actions.

Grífols’ profits up 35% in 2013 to reach over €345 million

February 27, 2014 08:37 PM | ACN

The profits of Catalan pharmaceutical company Grífols in 2013 grew by 34.6% over the previous year, reaching €345.6 million, as reported by the multinational to the Spanish Stock Exchange Regulation Authority (CNMV). The turnover of the company, based in Greater Barcelona, amounted to €2.75 billion, representing a 4.6% increase on 2012 figures. The geographical expansion of the pharmaceutical company has helped mitigating the effects of volatility in currencies, especially between the euro and the dollar. The Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) grew by 9.6% compared to 2012 and stood at €864.6 million, driven by an increase in the sales of plasma proteins and the optimization of the expenses for raw materials and manufacturing.

Pope Francis, the world leader with the greatest success on Twitter

February 25, 2014 07:27 PM | ACN

Within a year, Pope Francis’ Twitter account, @Pontifex, has reached 12 million followers while his tweets are 4 times more re-tweeted than the ones of U.S. President Barack Obama. Indeed, each of Pope Francis’ messages generates an average of 6,637 re-tweets, while Obama’s messages are re-tweeted 2,309 times on average. Such data was unveiled on Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which is the main international event of cell phone related technologies. After analyzing the Pope’s impact on the digital environment, the study ‘The Internet loves Pope Francis’ concludes that Pope Francis is the world leader with the greatest influence in social networks, above the Dalai Lama or Cristina Kirchner.

Chinese Group buys former Telefonica headquarters in Barcelona for €56 million

February 12, 2014 07:41 PM | ACN

Chinese Group Platinum Estates has purchased the former headquarters of Telefonica in Barcelona, located in the Eixample neighbourhood, for €56.4 million, according to a statement by Renta Corporación, which managed the transaction. Furthermore, investors will allocate €45 additional million to transform the building, once belonging to the first telecommunications company in Spain, into a block of flats. The building, located on the Roma Avenue, was the propriety of Cerep Investment, a company controlled by private equity Group Carlyle, until it went bankrupt in the spring of last year. The buyer is a family group based in Hong Kong, which is part of Platinum Estates and is led by textile tycoon Harry Mohinani, of Hindu origin.

Barcelona welcomes Le Corbusier’s architectural ‘landscapes’ with an exhibition

January 28, 2014 08:00 PM | ACN / Pau Cortina

Le Corbusier, one of the key figures of twentieth-century architecture, was more than a mere creator of buildings. His ideas on urban planning, furniture design and his innovative blending of architecture within the surrounding landscape are an integral part of his unconventional work. Such different creative facets of the artist are at the core of the exhibition “Le Corbusier. An atlas of modern landscapes”, held at Barcelona’s CaixaForum from the 29th of January to the 11th of May. The exhibition, the largest dedicated to the artist in the past 25 years, displays 215 objects from the MoMA and the ‘Fondation Le Corbusier’, which stress the extent of his contribution to international architecture.

FOX is developing American adaptation of Catalan TV hit ‘The Red Band Society’

January 27, 2014 08:59 PM | ACN / Robert Boucaut

The popular drama series by Albert Espinosa, based on his experiences of staying in a children’s hospital, has a pilot episode in development, with scripting by Margaret Nagel (‘Boardwalk Empire’) and supervision from Steven Spielberg. ‘Polseres Vermelles’, known to English-speaking audiences as ‘The Red Band Society’, has received positive feedback from its international distributors. An Italian adaptation, called ‘Braccialetti rossi’, started to be aired by RAI1 on January 26.  ‘Polseres Vermelles’ is an original project from Catalonia’s Public Television Broadcaster.

Banc Sabadell triples its net profit in 2013

January 23, 2014 07:23 PM | ACN

Banc Sabadell, the second largest banking company in Catalonia, has ended 2013 with a net profit of €247.8 million, three times more than in 2012, after consuming €1,736.6 million in provisions and allowances for non-payments of loans, impairment of property and other financial operations. Due to the new regulations of the Bank of Spain on credit repayment and the acquisitions of other banking companies, the percentage of delayed or unpaid loans has climbed to 13.63%, 46% more than in 2012. Without the refunding operations, it would have been fixed at 11.13 %. The bank’s core capital, which is the main solvency indicator, stood at 12% and, with the new Basel III, it was set at 10.1%. Jaume Guardiola, CEO of Sabadell, believes that this trend can be the “turning point” of a crisis that was first anticipated when the results for 2012 were announced.

Exhibition on Catalan Chef Ferran Adrià in New York

January 20, 2014 05:29 PM | ACN

The Drawing Centre in New York will host an exhibition focused on the creative mind of internationally famous Chef Ferran Adrià, who used to run El Bulli, deemed the world’s best restaurant on five occasions. Adrià’s cuisine is characterised by taking a molecular approach towards cooking. Called both genius and insanity, the Catalan Chef’s goal was to push the boundaries of modern gastronomy, by embracing innovation and tantalising the senses in a spectacle of scientifically precise yet artistically creative food. This new exhibition entitled Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity will reveal such a creative process. The exhibition will run in New York from the 25th of January to the 28th of February before moving to Cleveland in September.

Catalan Government: “we must be the most international domestic issue in the wide world”

January 14, 2014 08:17 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, has ironically stated that the situation in Catalonia “must be the most international of political domestic issues in the wide world”, if the Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy is talking about it before the US President. Homs exclaimed: “every time, people say it is an internal issue and that it would be a mistake to treat it internationally, but Rajoy cannot stop talking about it in his public appearances”. Homs praised the international community for their silence on the Catalan issue, as they have likely been “pressured” by Spain to voice their disapproval. However, he did not directly refer to Barack Obama, who had avoided commenting on Catalonia’s potential independence at the White House press conference on Monday evening.

Obama avoids commenting on whether Catalonia’s independence would be a risk for Europe’s growth

January 14, 2014 01:47 PM | ACN

Next to the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (who went to the White House), the President of the United States, Barack Obama, did not talk about Catalonia despite being asked about it directly by a journalist. Obama did not repeat the formula expressed by other international leaders – it is Spain’s internal matter – but instead preferred to avoid the issue. He did not explicitly back the Spanish PM, despite the fact that Rajoy had stated, only a few minutes earlier, that “Catalonia’s independence will not happen”. Rajoy’s meeting with Obama and the following press conference at the White House were also controversial because the Spanish Government banned several media that were covering the trip and only allowed one Catalan newspaper to attend it.

Catalan Theatre’s ‘carrot rebellion’ discussed at a congress in New York

January 14, 2014 01:39 PM | ACN

During the Congress of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) in New York, the managers of the Bescanó Theatre (Northern Catalonia) will discuss their peculiar protest against the Spanish Government’s VAT increase on cultural products from 8% to 21%. In November 2012, instead of selling traditional tickets at a higher price or lowering their profit margin, the Bescanó Theatre managers decided to sell carrots to their audience, due to the lower VAT on fresh food. Spectators bought carrots for a price equal to the usual entrance fee and were gifted a theatre ticket in exchange. This ‘carrot rebellion’ as well as the “devastating” consequences of the VAT increase on the performing arts in Spain will be addressed on the 15th of January.

‘Catalan Way towards independence’ is Wall Street Journal’s photo of the year

December 19, 2013 08:15 PM | ACN

The readers of the Wall Street Journal have deemed best photograph of the year a picture of the ‘Catalan Way towards independence’, a 400-kilometre-long human chain which crossed the whole of Catalonia on the 11th of September 2013. 1.6 million Catalans took part in the demonstration, asking for independence from Spain. The winning photograph was taken by Raymond Roig and portrays participants on the heights of Pertús village (located near the French border, in the Pyrenees). It was chosen amongst the 364 pictures selected by ‘Wall Street Journal’ editors as the best photos of the year.