Business Extra for Spain and the UK

Business Extra for Spain and the UK

REPSOL: Overtaken by independent petrol stations Photo credit: Repsol

Filling up Spain now has 12,636 independent petrol stations, overtaking the Repsol, Cepsa or BP chains and accounting for 45 per cent of the country’s network, the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) figures revealed.  Self-service outlets are also due to increase from 13 to 20 per cent of the total this year.

Looking better Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey told the Treasury Select Committee on February 20 that there were “clear signs of an upturn” although the economy went into into recession at the end of 2023.  He also told the MPs that current investor bets on a cut in the bank rate were no longer “unreasonable.” 

Arms race Charles Woodburn, chief executive of the British armaments multinational BAE Systems, revealed that the company had accumulated £70 billion (€81.7 billion) of orders by late 2023.  He also warned that although global conflict boosted arms sales, ramping up production after post-Cold War cutbacks “took time.

Eagle eye An EU directive now in force throughout Spain means that the Agencia Tributaria tax authority will want more extensive information regarding earnings that are made via digital platforms like Wallapop, Ebay, Vinted or Airbnb.  Tax returns must be made after taking an annual €2,000 or making 30 transactions.

Bodywork The Body Shop confirmed that it was closing almost half of its 198 UK stores for good, with seven that  shut down on February 20.  New owners, the European private equity firm Aurelius which specialises in turning round failing companies, is also cutting 40 per cent of jobs at its London headquarters.

Big earners Union negotiations with the finance sector revealed that thanks to internal restructuring and record profits, Santander had 357 executives who earned more than €1 million in 2023, 30 per cent up on 2024.  Two top earners were newly-recruited executives whose “golden hello” bonuses put them on salaries outstripping that of the bank chairman Ana Botin, Santander sources disclosed.

Up and down Telefonica reported 2023 revenues of €40.65 billion in 2023, 1.6 per cent more than 2022 and its highest since the pandemic.  Despite this increase, the telecoms company was €892 in the red for the first time since 2002 after spending €1.3 billion on redundancies and €3.6 billion on its UK subsidiary, Virgin Media 02.

It’ll cost you Net zero emissions will cost more than public realises, the International Monetary Fund’s former chief economist Olivier Blanchard told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on February 20. The low-carbon economy was “necessary”, Blanchard conceded, but it was essential to send out the message that it was going to be expensive, he said.

Luton boost Italy-US vehicle manufacturing conglomerate Stellantis announced that from 2025 it would produce medium-sized electric vans at the Vauxhall plant in Luton for the Citroen, Peugeot and Fiat Professional brands.  The move will safeguard the jobs of the plant’s 1,500 employees following difficult times for the automotive sector owing to Brexit trade complications and a shortage of semiconductor chips.

Stat of the Week: €1.46 billion outlay for the latest share buyback programme announced by Santander bank, together with a 50 per cent increase in its dividend for 2023 compared with 2022’s.

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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