Business and Finance Roundup for Spain and the UK

Business and Finance Roundup for Spain and the UK

ALBEMARLE MINE: UGL Australian subsidiary of Spain’s engineering and infrastructure multinational ACS will build new infrastructure Photo credit:

Spain Down Under A SUBSIDIARY of Spanish engineering and infrastructure company ACS won a six-year AU$500 million (€300 million) contract with Australia’s Department of Defence.

UGL, now part of ACS’s CIMIC Group, will provide services covering strategic advice, supply management, operations, and maintenance for the Australian Defence Force’s fuel network.

The Spanish parent company announced recently that UGL has secured five further contracts worth AU$600 million (€370 million) with Australian energy and mining firms.

These include constructing two additional processing trains for US company, Albemarle, at its Kemerton lithium hydroxide plant.

This will enable Albemarle to increase lithium production to an annual 100,000 metric tons, facilitating the manufacture of an estimated 2.4 million electric vehicles each year.

VAT spat JEWELLERY brand Pandora was the latest retailer to call for VAT-free shopping for UK visitors.

Rasmus Brix, general manager for the UK and Ireland, said the firm was one of many that were missing out since PM Rishi Sunak jettisoned the tax break in 2021.

Around 350 businesses now back the Daily Mail’s Scrap the Tourist Tax campaign, prompting Brix to agree with the newspaper that getting rid of the tax would “significantly boost” both the retail sector and the economy.

“This would help to offset some of the disruption we’re seeing as a result of the weather, cost-of-living and ongoing train strikes,” he said.

Banks want their interest THE Spanish government dismantled the failed Castor underwater gas storage plant off Vinaros (Castellon) in 2019.

The controversial plans were abandoned after the installation caused 4.1 earthquakes and tremors that were felt onland for weeks.

In October 2020, the National High Court in Madrid ruled that Santander, CaixaBank and Bankia (subsequently merged with CaixaBank) were entitled to €1.35 billion compensation.

The ruling excluded interest, which the banks immediately decided to fight for, a battle they have not yet won.

The National High Court recently threw out Santander and CaixaBank’s appeals against an earlier ruling that rejected their separate claims for interest which amounted to €100.12 million between them.

It is not yet known whether the banks intend to appeal against the latest ruling or intend to continue taking legal action.

Issas move THE billionaire owners of Asda and the EG Group of petrol stations are selling off US convenience stores to settle billions of pounds of debt.

Brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa sold 63 EG Group-owned shops in Kentucky and Tennessee to the Casey’s General Stores chain for an undisclosed amount.

News of the US sales coincided with Moody’s warning on August 15 that Asda, which the Issas bought for £6.8 billion (€7.93 billion) in 2021, was under intense pressure owing to competition in the grocery industry.

EG Group’s debts stood at $9.67 billion (€8.96 billion) by late 2022, company accounts showed.

Making hay SPANISH hay as well as wheat and other grains has been hit by drought.

Hay is one of Spain’s lesser-known exports although producers habitually supply markets in North Africa, the Persian Gulf, Taiwan and Japan.

This season they face problems in supplying their traditional clients owing to high prices and lack of supplies, said the owner of Nual, a company in Arenillas de Muño (Burgos).

Another producer, Europaja, estimated that not only would it have difficulty in meeting its export orders, but imports would increase with hay fetching €12 a kilo at source and fodder costing 40 cents a kilo.

Basques abroad US president Joe Biden visited the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) plant of Basque-headquartered Ingeteam on August 16.

Biden was received by Alex Belaustegui, Corporate Development director of the firm which specialises in energy conversion.  It has now produced more than 4,000 generators for the wind-energy sector and supplied 4 gigawatts of solar and energy storage inverters for the US market.

Contracts for an additional 1.1 gigawatts for the same sector are in the execution stage and scheduled to be installed by end of the 2024’s first quarter.

Wrong calls NATWEST was ranked Britain’s worst bank for repaying fraud victims.

Recently hit by the debanking scandal, NatWest rejected more than 5,000 fraud compensation claims since 2020, according to the Telegraph.

Approximately 3,300 NatWest’s resolutions were later overturned by the Financial Ombudsman Service, with the bank making the wrong decision in 54.4 per cent of cases.

Santander, which erroneously rejected 53.6 per cent of customers’ claims, was ranked second-worst.  It was followed by HSBC which the Ombudsman Service considered had wrongly rejected 53 per cent of fraud victims’ requests for compensation.


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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