Business Roundup for Spain and the UK

Business Roundup for Spain and the UK

RAQUEL SANCHEZ: Paradores did well in 2023, chairwoman said Credit: Consell Comarcal del Baix Llobregat

Paradores doing well PUBLICLY-OWNED Paradores de España ended 2023 with a €328 million turnover.

This was the highest in the hotel chain’s 96 years of existence and 6 per cent more than in 2022, Paradores’ chairwoman, Raquel Sanchez, said.

With net profits of approximately €25 million, 124 per cent up on 2022, the chain was also in the black for the third consecutive year following the pandemic.

Occupancy averaged 71 per cent, compared with 65 per cent in 2019 and 67 per cent in 2022.

The outlook for 2024 was equally encouraging, Sanchez said, taking into account that occupancy for traditionally low-season January and February had averaged 58 per cent, six percentage points more than in 2022.

Telegraph ploy BRITAIN’S government intends to introduce legislation that would prevent foreign powers from owning UK newspapers and news magazines.

The far-reaching move would halt the proposed £600 million (€701.2 million) purchase of the Telegraph by RedBird IMI, a fund that is backed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, vice-president of the United Arab Emirates, and a private US investment company.

Media minister Lord Stephen Parkinson announced that the government would be putting forward an amendment that would result in blocking the deal in a move that goes further than an early campaign by Baroness Tina Stowell to prevent the sale.

Rather better THE Bank of Spain’s quarterly update increased its 2024 growth prediction from December’s 1.6 per cent to 1.9 per cent.

The regulator now expects a more moderate slowdown following a better-than-expected increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the last quarter of 2023, bringing its forecast nearer to the Spanish government’s 2 per cent estimate.

Projections for 2025 and 2026 remained unchanged at 1.9 per cent and 1.7 per cent, the Bank said, but despite the recent restraint in Spain’s growth rate, this would still be more than the European Central Bank’s 0.6 per cent prediction for the eurozone.

Vinyl revival VINYL records have reappeared in the 2024 basket of 744 items that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) uses to calculate inflation fluctuations.

Their re-mergence is attributed to Generation Z’s re-discovery of the discs which the ONS removed from the basket in 1992.

New additions for this year include air-fryers, rice cakes and gluten-free bread although a total of 15 items that are no longer considered essentials have been eliminated.

Pandemic essentials, hand sanitiser and bakeware, have been dropped, along with sofa beds, whole rotisserie chicken and Guinness, which ONS sources explained was adequately covered in the draught bitter category.

No objections SPAIN’S Cabinet Meeting on March 12 has given the Orange-MasMovil merger the go-ahead.

The government authorised the operation from the point of view of foreign investment in a Spanish company, while bearing in mind the concessions that both companies have made to the fast-growing mobile operator, low-cost Digi.

Consent follows on from recent authorisation from the European Commission, which has subjected the €18.6 billion merger that was first announced two years ago to close scrutiny, owing to the competition and monopoly implications of the deal.

Hard to get US hedge fund Elliott discarded plans to take over UK electricals firm Currys after two bids were turned down.

Elliott initially offered £700 million (€818.3 million,) followed by another of £756 million (€883.7 million) for Currys.

Following the double rejection, the American company then said it was not in a position to make an improved offer “on the basis of the public information available to it.”

City analysts maintained that the Currys board was “unlikely” to consider any bid below an offer valuing the company at £900 million (€1.05 billion).

Another Inditex record INDITEX shares climbed by 7.7 per cent after the Spanish fashion chain announced its full-year 2023 results on March 13.

Last year’s net profits soared to €5.4 billion, 30.3 per cent more than in 2022, with sales rising 10 per cent to the company’s highest-ever turnover of €35.9 billion.

The Zara company increased its lead over Swedish rival H&M thanks to being able to deliver trends faster from its nearby suppliers and sell more clothes at higher prices, Inditex’s chief executive Oscar Garcia Maceiras said.

He also revealed that the company had a strong start to 2024 with sales up 11 per cent between February and March, compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Inditex founder and former chairman Amancio Ortega will receive dividends of €2.846 billion in 2024.

Virgin deal VIRGIN MONEY high-rankers would share in a £6 million (€7.01 million) handout if the Nationwide Building Society takeover goes ahead.

After years of accumulating stock at Virgin Money, the 13 executives, board members and senior staff could expect to receive a windfall from the proposed £3 billion (€3.5 billion) deal.

David Duffy, chief executive of Virgin Money co-founded in 1995 by Sir Richard Branson, stands to gain most as he would be in line to receive £3.5 million (€4.09 million) for his 1.6 million shares.

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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