Heads and tails of SEPI for two large Spanish industrial groups. If yesterday the Council of Ministers gave the definitive green light to the Celsa rescue operation, the public body has already decided that it will say no to the allegations presented by Abengoa. This will lead the engineering group to apply this week for the largest creditor contest in the history of Spain, with 6,000 million debt and 5,000 employees.
With a group of Abengoa workers barricaded in the SEPI headquarters since last Tuesday –they left the facilities yesterday–, the body decided to provisionally reject the request for 249 million public money. He alluded to several legal lawsuits that the company drags and that conditioned the return of the funds. It opened, yes, a period of five days for the company to present allegations.
Two days later, Abengoa presented its allegations to SEPI, which has been studying them in recent days. According to market sources, the agency has already decided that it will uphold its decision: Abengoa does not meet the criteria to be rescued. It is expected that this decision will be officially adopted and communicated to the company before June 30, the date on which the term ends to be able to use that public money.
The problem is that the entire rescue operation of the Andalusian company depends on the participation of public money. The Californian fund Terramar is willing to inject 200 million, but provided that SEPI and banks also participate, with the granting of 300 million in public guarantees.
This refusal leads Abenewco, the subsidiary of Abengoa that groups all its operating assets, to declare insolvency proceedings on July 1, the day on which the current bankruptcy moratorium will expire. On that date also expires the offer of Terramar and the bull of the banks to postpone the expiration of the debt. The group’s parent company, Abengoa SA, has been in bankruptcy since February 2021. And also on July 1 is the deadline for submitting an agreement to the judge, which must be accepted by the creditors in the following two months. Otherwise, this company, which barely has a few shares in Abenewco, would go into liquidation.
The president of the parent company and member of the group of shareholders who oppose the agreement with the creditors, Clemente Fernández, has said that it is necessary to work on a new structure to safeguard the business units, which would lead to insolvency and pre-insolvency proceedings of creditors to parts of the company. In addition, he asked the court for two months to avoid liquidation.
Celsa and other rescues
At the same time, the Council of Ministers yesterday gave the green light to the latest bailouts carried out with the SEPI fund. Specifically, it gave the green light to the rescue operations of Celsa, Isastur, Vivanta, Imasa, Meeting Point and BlueSea, in which it will invest a total of 721 million. Among all of them, the operation of the Celsa steel company stands out, as it is the largest operation carried out by this fund. The Catalan industrial company requested 550 million from the Government, but this disbursement was conditional on the company, controlled by the Catalan Rubiralta family, reducing its debt by 1,000 million, which reaches 2,300 million.
SEPI accepts that 400 million of its aid be allocated – the other 150 million will go to finance the new strategic plan – to repay debt and demands a capital increase of 50 million for this purpose. The bailout is pending the company and the funds agreeing on how to reduce the debt.
The family has as a red line not to cede capital to its creditors, mostly debt funds and investment banks and whose first approach was to convert part of the liabilities into capital. The Rubiraltas accused these investors of having acquired the debt at a knockdown price and are proposing a strong haircut. The funds demanded the creation of an instrument in Luxembourg to be able to benefit from the economic rights generated by the company when it returns the public money. In their latest proposal they claim to keep 75% of the capital.
- Helps. The Solvency Support Fund for Strategic Companies, managed by SEPI, will close its work this Thursday with 6,744.4 million euros unspent, 67.4% of its initial endowment of 10,000 million, according to calculations made by Efe . In its almost two years of life, the fund has granted aid to 30 companies, most of them in the tourism and transport sector, for more than 3,255.6 million.
- Latest operations. Along with Celsa, among the latest approved rescue operations are those of the Asturian engineering companies Isastur and Imasa, as well as the chain of dental clinics Vivanta, which had requested 40 million, and the tourism companies Meeting Point and BlueSea. The BlueSea Hotels chain, owned by the venture capital fund Portobello Capital since 2017, is made up of 25 hotels and has requested 40 million euros. For its part, Meeting Point Hotels Spain is headquartered in Maspalomas and operates more than 20 assets in Spain, all of them in the Canary Islands, and belongs to the German group FTI. Isastur has requested another 40 million.