ABOVE AND BEYOND

Spain 2020 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

Elecnor plays a crucial role in developing the country's energy sources, whether in terms of transmitting power, developing non-conventional renewable energy, or ensuring efficient energy use in installations.

Jaime Real de Asúa
BIOGRAPHY

Jaime Real de Asúa is the non-executive president of the board of directors of Elecnor and its executive committee. From 2009-2017, when he was appointed as non-executive president, he was vice president of the Elecnor board of directors. Within the Elecnor group, he also held the position of director of the subsidiary of Elecnor Enerfín and Celeo Concesiones e Inversiones. He was also secretary and director in Cantiles XXL. Previously, he held executive positions at Portland Valderribas and Carbocem, both of FCC. Also, he was director and chairman of the Appointments and Remuneration Committee of Viscofan and director of Tasdey. He was also a member of the Advisory Board of BBVA in the Northern Zone. He has a degree in industrial engineering, specialized in industrial organization, from the Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineers (ETSII) of Bilbao.

Elecnor was founded in 1958. How has the company developed since then?
Elecnor has transformed significantly over the years, venturing into sectors such as energy infrastructure, renewable energy, and new technologies. The company has also expanded its international presence over the years and is a listed company on the Spanish stock market. In 2018, Spain made up approximately 45% of our turnover, with the rest coming from international markets. At this time, we have a presence in 55 countries, while the order book also shows the relevance of international business for us. In 1H2019, 78% of orders came from non-domestic markets, meaning the backlog of our international portfolio was more than EUR1.7 billion in this period.

In 2018, you reported almost EUR74.3 million in net profits. What is your strategy to grow further?
We have two areas that complement and strengthen each other. First, Elecnor has evolved into a world leader with the capacity and determination to develop, create, and operate energy infrastructures, as well as becoming a leading provider of specialized industrial engineering services. We have a strong culture of service that serves to build strong, trusting relationships with our long-term customers. The second part is our concession business in the renewable and transmission lines sectors. Our first subsidiary was launched in Venezuela back in the 1960s. We lead international expansion and have decades of experience in America and Africa. As a result, we have a deep knowledge and experience of the countries we work in. Elecnor will keep opening new markets, always driven by prudence. In this sense, it is crucial to analyze all the details of a potential new market, as well as study the competitive environment and evaluate our strengths over competitors. In keeping with this strategy, profits have registered increases of around 4% per year for the last three years. Thus, in 2016 net profit was EUR68.5 million, in 2017 EUR71.2 million, and 2018 EUR74.3 million. In the first six months of 2019, net profits increased by 5% on the same period YoY.

Do you work with local partners in countries such as Brazil, Chile, and Mexico?
Consolidating and positioning the company in these markets has taken many years of work, and involved collaborating with and learning from local private- and public-sector partners. We enter a country alone or by forming temporary unions. Depending on the potential of the country, and whether there are real possibilities of long-term success, we establish a branch or a subsidiary. The three countries that you mentioned are an example of this. We have been working there consistently for several decades. Thanks to our solid 35-year history in the country, Brazil is the second-most important market for Elecnor after Spain. Notable projects include the wind farm in Rio Grande do Sul, one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, and building more than 8,000km of power transmission lines. Elecnor first began operations in Chile in the 1980s. By 1994 we had already overcome a great challenge: building two hydroelectric power plants on the River Duqueco. Elecnor now plays a crucial role in energy development in the country, in terms of transmitting power, developing non-conventional renewable energy, and ensuring efficient energy use in installations. Mexico is also a key market for us and the result of an extensive 25-year history in the country, evidenced by remarkable projects such as the construction of 65 electrical substations with a total of 7,000MVA of installed power, in addition to the laying of 1,100km of transmission lines and 255km of optical fiber, without forgetting our EPCs in combined cycle plants.

How much is the company focusing on Latin America?
The Latin American market was our first international one, but Elecnor is a global company and we are present in all five continents. In the Americas, we are also working in countries as competitive as the US and Canada, while we also have a stable presence in Africa, particularly in key markets such as Cameroon, Angola, and Ghana. We also work in Middle Eastern countries such as Oman and Jordan. Australia is as an interesting market where we have also undertaken some ambitious wind and solar projects. I would also like to highlight the international expansion we have achieved in Europe, where we have won unique projects over large local companies in the UK, Italy, Portugal, and
Norway.