Business and Finance Roundup for the UK and Spain

Business and Finance Roundup for the UK and Spain

DAMM: Brewery foresees a record 2023 Credit: CC/Pacopac

Damm good BREWERY group Damm foresees a record turnover this year.

Announcing sales of €1.87 billion for 2022 at the recent shareholders’ meeting, executive chairman Demetrio Carceller Arce revealed that the Barcelona-based company expected an even better 2023 despite inflation and its consequences for consumers and monetary policies.

Damm’s €101 million net profit last year was 10 per cent down on 2021 and the lowest since 2016, although Carceller pointed out that the company had increased its market share.

“The strength and capacity for growth shown by the hospitality sector during the first months of the year and this summer’s good tourism prospects convince us that 2023 will be a growth year for Damm,” Carceller said.

No time to relax THE days of fiscal relaxation are numbered.

The European Commission (EC) announced that it will no longer turn a blind eye to countries that exceed the debt limit stipulated by EU regulations-

In recommendations to members states issued by Brussels on May 25, Spain – along with 13 other EU countries – will be placed under fiscal surveillance in spring 2024 owing to its excessive debt.

According to Brussels’ forecasts, Spain’s debt will rise to €50 billion, 4.1 per cent of its gross domestic product (PIB) by the end of this year, although the Spanish government places it at 3.9 per cent.

Whichever figure is accepted, this is still above the EU’s 3 per cent threshold.

A toxic situation ROYAL MAIL’S woes do not abate.

A vote by employees on a deal intended to end a rancorous dispute over pay, jobs and working conditions while securing the future for all involved was suspended owing to differences between the postal service and the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

The environment in which it was endeavouring to deliver the agreement remained “toxic”, the CWU said on May 24.

As a result, it suspended the timetable for a member vote until it is satisfied that what it described as “attacks” on members in the workplace had come to an end.

Royal Mail had agreed a new deal with the union in April following months of tense negotiations and a series of strikes which it blamed for losses of £1 billion (€1.15 million) and the departure of its chief executive Simon Thompson in mid-May.

Co-op concern NINETY-SIX per cent of the Co-operative Group’s 32,000 members voted at the last annual meeting to improve welfare for chickens reared for meat.

A motion led by the Humane League UK campaign group asked the mutual to adopt the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) standards already accepted by Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and Greggs, reporting on welfare improvements in a year’s time.

They were partly overruled by the company’s directors, who explained that they wanted to keep prices down but warned that profits were likely to fall over the coming year.

Measure for measure THE European Commission (EC) called on Spain to begin phasing out its energy support measures by late 2023.

Introduced in October 2022 to counteract high energy prices caused by the Ukraine war, these should be totally eliminated in 2024, Brussels said.

This would limit spending and make savings that could be used to reduce the public debt.

Should future energy price increases make further support measures necessary, these should be fiscally affordable and introduced to protect only the most vulnerable households and businesses, the EC said.

Strong M&S results DENIM, dresses, office wear and more affordable food increased sales and profits at Marks and Spencer over the past year.

The retailer will restart dividend payments to shareholders after underlying pre-tax profits rose by 21.4 per cent to £475.7 million (€546.4 million) in the year ending on April 1, with sales increasing 9.6 per cent to £11.9 billion (€13.7 billion).

Chief executive Stuart Machin nevertheless warned of a challenging year ahead as costs continued to rise but stressed that, unlike many other retailers, the number of clothing and food items sold had risen at M&S, helping to increase the company’s market share.

The company had made changes to its ranges, Machin added, taking a hit on profit margins to hold down prices relative to rivals, while improving its clothing styles.

Amber Capital enters Indra board  LONDON-BASED Amber Capital has increased its holding in Indra to 7.239 per cent, equivalent to 11 million shares.

This provides the investment fund, which is also a majority shareholder in Prisa (El Pais and Cinco Dias publisher), with the opportunity of sitting on the technology, transport and defence company’s board, which requires a minimum holding of 7.14 per cent.

There also happens to be a seat to spare on Indra’s board, following the resignation of former director Axel Arendt on May 18.

Arendt announced his own departure after that of Indra’s former chief executive, Ignacio Mataix, and his substitution by José Vicente de los Mozos.

Hydrogen does green CHEMICALS and sustainable technologies company Johnson Matthey signed a three-year supply agreement with Norway’s Hystar to increase green hydrogen production.

The London-based firm, most of whose income is earned from catalytic converters, increasingly focuses on new sustainable technologies, including green hydrogen.

This zero-carbon fuel is produced using renewable wind and solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and Johnson Matthey will supply Hystar with membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) to ramp up its green hydrogen production.

The latest partnership follows a similar Johnson Matthey deal this year with Plug Power, a US company focused on producing green hydrogen. 

Windfall loophole SPAIN’S banking sector has found a way of reducing the amount of the temporary windfall tax it must pay the government since 2022.

Currently subject to a 4.8 per cent levy applied to income from net interest and net fees over €800 million, the banks insist they are complying with regulations introduced to help the government ease the cost of living crisis.

Banks also admit that they are making their own interpretations of what constitutes the tax base.  As a result, the majority exclude income from their overseas branches and operations that are not related to the granting of credits.

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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