Business news roundup for Spain and the UK

Business news roundup for Spain and the UK

DEBRA CREW: Has taken over as Chief Executive at Diageo

That’s the spirit! ON taking over as chief executive at Diagio, Debra Crew will be one of the few women at the head of a FTSE 100 company.

Before her appointment as chief operating officer in October 2022, Crew was previously president of Diageo North America, overseeing the company’s largest market.

She joined Diagio in 2019 after heading tobacco firm Reynolds American, until it was acquired by British American Tobacco (BAT), having previously spent five years at PepsiCo.

Diagio, which makes Johnnie Walker, Guinness and Baileys and is the world’s biggest spirits manufacturer, employs 28,000 people globally and sells more than 200 brands in more than 180 markets.

From office to store El Corte Ingles is transferring 2,324 office and administrative staff to the its stores.

Last February, Spain’s leading department store chain announced that it would be taking this step to provide more support for its stores and shops “while addressing sales growth and improving  customer care and service.”

A statement issued by El Corte Ingles explained that its agreement with the unions was based on maintaining employment and at the same time providing “voluntary severance” for the chain’s longest-serving employees.

Measures include an incentivised redundancy scheme for 630 employees who will be over 59 by June 30 this year, 40 more than was originally announced.

The agreement reached with the unions also improved the exit deal for employees who preferred to leave owing to the “substantial change” in their future roles.

Meanwhile, those staying will be given a choice of four centres when making the move.

Royal Mail impasse AS long-running talks between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) threatened to collapse, another strike looked inevitable.

The postal service, already losing more than a daily £1 million (€1.13 million), is projected to lose more than £350 million (€397.5 million) during the financial year ending in April.

The board of the 507-year-old company has met in London, trying to find a solution, but  warned that further walkouts could eventually see it put into administration.

The board regards the bombshell move to declare Royal Mail insolvent as a last resort but the drastic measure has already been raised with the CWU.

Hopes of a deal have gradually faded as obstacles not only include disagreements over pay but also changes to working practices, which Royal Mail maintains  are interdependent.

Essex freeport plan  DP WORLD, which owns P&O Ferries, will participate in the Thames Freeport in Essex.

Included in Rishi Sunak’s ports scheme, it will be co-run by DP World, car manufacturer Ford and Forth Ports, with a £25 million (€28.4 million) allocation in government funding.  This will go to local authorities, as the government tries to attract another £4.6 billion (€5.2 billion) in public and private investment.

The port is expected to generate more than 21,000 direct and indirect jobs.

DP World dismissed 800 P&O employees without giving them notice in March 2022, replacing them with foreign agency workers paid less than the minimum wage.

The government said at the time that the employees’ treatment was “wholly unacceptable” and two months later cancelled a P&O Ferries contract in response to the sackings.

The government said at the time that the employees’ treatment was “wholly unacceptable” and two months later cancelled a P&O Ferries contract in response to the sackings.

Mango joins up

SPAIN’S Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE) announced that fashion chain Mango has joined the organisation as an associate company.

The move follows the recent incorporation of Spain’s Retail Textile Association (ARTE), to which Mango and other leading clothing chains already belong.

Mango is the second big textile firm to join the CEOE in its own right after Zara owner, Inditex.

Toni Ruiz, Mango’s CEO explained that the incorporation would enable the firm both to put across its business vision and give greater visibility to the one the country’s outstanding brands.

Up goes Ale-Hop GIFT shop chain Ale-Hop had a 2022 turnover of €170 million, 70 per cent more than in 2021.

Instantly recognisable because of the trademark black-and-white cow outside the shops, Ale-Hop was boosted by increased post-pandemic sales but also expansion plans resulting in 48 new shops during the last financial year.

The company could meet the cost of the 2022 openings as a result of its policy of zero debt and reinvesting profits, said Ale-Hop’s director general, Dario Grimalt.

The company, which now has more than 280 shops in Spain, Portugal, Croatia and Mexico, hopes to increase this to 300 by the end of this year.

Brits sell Colon and Flor RECKITT BENCKISER is selling its Spanish detergents division.

Headquartered in Britain, the €50 billion multinational which owns Durex condoms, Strepsils throat lozenges and Air Wick amongst other brands, will divest itself of Colon detergent and Flor fabric conditioner, two household names in Spain.

It acquired both in the 1990s from the Catalan company Camp Hermanos, after fighting off Procter & Gamble in a bidding war, paying more than 6 billion pesetas (approximately €36 million) at the time.

Now, 30 years later, Reckitt Benckiser expects to sell for around €200 million.

Florentino’s pay cut FLORENTINO PEREZ, president of construction, concessions and services company ACS, has forgone €1.5 million of his salary over the last two years.

Owing to the economic slowdown during the pandemic he waived 30 per cent of the variable compensation added to his basic salary at the end of 2021, reducing this from €3.4 to €2.4 million owing to “exceptional circumstances.

The Real Madrid president waived another €500,000 in 2022 after explaining that despite ACS’s good results, the group had not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Kind gesture HSBC is the first UK bank to delay closing a town’s only remaining branch until alternative arrangements are in place.

Banks agreed last year to fund hubs where all branches were closed and the cash machine network Link – which connects practically all the country’s ATMs – decided that a hub was needed to ensure continued access to cash.

Launching hubs has been slow, taking a year on average owing to difficulties in finding sites.  This prompted HSBC to announce that it would suspend closures in Oakham (Rutland) Ripley (Derbyshire) and Colwyn Bay (Conwy) until cash deposit services were established.

All charged up LOWER energy prices in the UK now mean that the cost of ultra-rapid charging for an electric vehicle costs less per mile than filling up with petrol.

The Electric Vehicle Recharge Report published by the Automobile Association found that drivers could save 8p (24 cents) per kilowatt by charging during off-peak hours but emphasised that savings were made only when plugging in at the right time.

Electric vehicle charging was “brilliant value for money” compared to filling up with petrol and diesel, the report said, but warned that different operators had different off-peak times, with some available only after 8pm.

Calviño answers back SPARRING continues between the Spanish government and multinational Ferrovial, which is shifting its headquarters to the Netherlands.

Economic Affairs minister Nadia Calviño again insisted that there was nothing to prevent a company from listing on both the Spanish and US stock exchanges, as Ferrovial maintains.

“The National Securities Commission (CNMV) and Stock Exchanges and Markets (BME)  analysed this in depth, going to the United States to speak to their American counterparts who identified no differences between Spain and any other country to justify Ferrovial’s reasons for relocating to the Netherlands,”  Calviño said.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at