Business Round-up for Spain and the UK

Business Round-up for Spain and the UK

MERCADONA: Aiming for 1,700 stores in Spain Flickr/Nina Ding

Mercadona nears its target MERCADONA continues to modify its growth strategy inside Spain.

The supermarket chain, with  1,637 stores here is slowing down its acquisition of premises and land for new branches.  Instead it is switching to renting.

By the close of the 2022 financial year, it had allocated €76 million – almost 40 per cent less than in 2021 – for new stores, according to Mercadona’s annual accounts submitted to Spain’s Mercantile Registry.

The chain has tripled the number of its supermarkets since 2000, although Mercadona’s president and principal shareholder Juan Roig said when presenting the 2022 results last March, that the company planned to stop at 1,700  inside Spain.

“We’re close to our target,” he said.  “There are competitors intending to open, others concentrating on small shops, others on big shops.  What we want is to reach our target of 1,700.”

Light fantastic NATIONAL POWER, owner of the Drax power station in Selby (Yorkshire), reported its highest ever annual profits.

Shareholders in the FTSE 250 company can look forward to a £150 million (€169 million) windfall, thanks to record electricity prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This had helped to increase the group’s annual profits for 2022 to £731 million (€824.7 million), up from £398 million (€499 million) in 2021.

Drax also announced that in the meantime it was putting on hold its much-debated £50 million (€56.4 million) carbon capture project, as it awaited details from the government regarding a possible subsidy

Fish farm tax THE price of Norway’s farmed salmon could rise by up to 10 per cent, industry insiders warned.

Norway produces more than 1.5 million tons of salmon each year and the Oslo government now intends to slap a 35 per cent tax on their profits.

As a result, consumer prices are expected to rise by as much as 10 per cent or more.

“We all know it is coming,” said Lance Forman, owner of London-based H Forman and Sons, which supplies leading restaurants and Harrods.

After fossil fuels, salmon farming is the country’s largest source of national income. It is also very lucrative, with operating profit margins of around 45 per cent.

Despite the salmon farmers’ efforts, the Norwegian parliament is expected to approve the measure in the coming weeks.

Barça deal FC BARCELONA finally secured funds for the Espai Barça project which include renovating the Camp Nou football stadium.

The club has now signed a €1.45 billion agreement with 20 investors, although this is €50 million less than it originally hoped for.

It took the club almost two months to obtain sufficient financial backing to start work at the Camp Nou ground.  Setbacks that coincided with club president Joan Laporta’s funding mission included the scandal over Barça’s payments to football referee José María Enríquez Negreira and the hike in interest rates, followed by  the Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse banking crises.

Loud and clear MARSHALL GROUP is more likely to increase its commitment to Britain than leave, its new owners said.

The family-owned amplifiers firm was bought by Swedish company, Zound Industries, which makes Bluetooth speakers, in a deal that valued the combined group at £325 million (€367 million).

All Marshall brands were acquired by Zound, for an undisclosed amount.

“We will preserve and probably enhance our UK presence even more, because it is so important to who we are,” said Jeremy de Maillard, who heads the new business.

Out of pocket ASSOCIATIONS representing recruitment firms called for changes to existing legislation.

The lower end of the supply chain of temporary workers faced unfair financial pressure, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo UK) and APSCo OutSource maintained.

Payment was often required between 7 and 28 days of timesheet submissions, while end clients enjoyed payment terms of between 30 and 60 days, they pointed out.

This meant the middle-supplier was out of pocket for an increasing length of time which was unsustainable in the current climate, causing undue financial strain on small and medium-sized businesses.  They routinely footed the initial bill for large numbers of contractors without rapid reimbursement, Melanie Forbes, APSCo OutSource’s managing director explained.

“It’s common to see second tier suppliers bridging a payment gap of up to three months due to terms imposed by end clienta on them or the managed services provider,” Forbes added.

Both associations are now asking for an extension of Payment Practices and Performance regulations 2017 to reduce financial pressures.

Telefonica’s Virgin experience TELEFONICA has strengthened its position in the UK with a partnership between its strategic digital business subsidiary, Tech&I, and Virgin Media 02 Business.

Virgin’s customers can now be supported by Telefonica Tech’s cloud team of professional and managed services.  Based in the UK this company currently employs more than 1,000 technology professionals following its takeover of CancomUK&I and Incremental.

This will enable Virgin Media O2 Business to offer enhanced services to medium and large organisations. These will range from local authorities wanting to unify data and processes, healthcare providers migrating sensitive data to the cloud and retailers looking to evolve e-commerce opportunities in the cloud.

Powering up IBERDROLA made a €1.48 billion net profit in the first quarter of 2023.

This was more than 40 per cent up on the same period last year, which coincided with the start of the Ukraine war.

Thanks to improvements in Spain and the United Kingdom, the group reported a marked  increase in results despite the new 1.2 per cent windfall tax applied to energy companies’ net turnover.

This has increased the group’s total tax bill by €200 million this quarter compared with the first three months of 2021.  It has also been paid in full, announced Iberdrola., although tax payments have increased 102.2 per cent to €1.18 billion this quarter compared to €583 million in 2021.

Turned off NETFLIX lost more than one million Spanish viewers in the first quarter of this year, consultancy company Kantar found.

Vetoing shared accounts was responsible for the plunge and the future looks even bleaker now that 10 per cent of current subscribers plan to leave Netflix within the next three months.

“Losing some users was to be expected,” said Mayte Gonzalez, from Kantar’s Worldpanel division.

“But losing more than one million in so little time has major consequences for Netflix and will influence its decision to continue with this measure worldwide.”

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca province 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