Abengoa is once again on the crest of the news wave by communicating this Friday to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) that Gonzalo Urquijo has resigned as Executive Chairman of the Abenewco1 Board of Directors, the subsidiary from which he controlled the entire group despite being dismissed on November 17 as head of the parent company. The rest of the members of the Abenewco1 board of directors have also resigned, including former minister Josep Piqué.
Gonzalo Urquijo has been in charge of Abengoa for four years, who arrived after the removal of Felipe Benjumea as president of the multinational. The executive leaves the multinational because he cannot close what was to be the multinational’s third financial rescue, which owes 6,000 million euros and whose parent, Abengoa SA, is in pre-competition with a “hole” of 388 million euros.
In addition to Urquijo, the former minister was members of the Abenewco1 board of directors. Josep Piqué, Manuel Castro Aladro, José Luis del Valle Doblado, José Wahnon Levy, Ramón Sotomayor Jáurequi and Pilar Cavero Mestre. On November 17, the board of the parent company, Abengoa SA, resigned, and since that date the directors of Abenewco 1 were in office. Now these directors argue that they did not resign “to guarantee the continuity of ordinary operations and to keep open the possibility of closing the operation signed on August 6.”
The resignation occurs on the same day that the Abengoa Minority Shareholders Syndicate has proposed that the next general meeting include a social action for liability against the members of the current board of administration of the multinational and of the council that was dismissed on November 17.
Capitid Council diminished
The matrix is now governed by two directors after the resignation of Jordi Sarrías: Juan Pablo López-Bravo, current president, and Margarida de la Riva. The AbengoaShares Syndicate, which claims to already represent 15% of the share capital, has requested a general meeting to dismiss Juan Pablo López-Bravo and Margarida de la Riva, and vote as new directors Clemente Fernández, who would choose to lead the multinational ; José Joaquín, who was president of the autonomous community of Cantabria, and businessman José Alfonso Murat Moreno as independent directors.
López-Bravo and Margarida de la Riva held a council this Friday in which they took note of the resignation of Abenewco1’s directors and once again made public their commitment to the stability of the parent company and its subsidiaries. The chairman of Abengoa and his sole director state “they do not oppose the execution of the refinancing operation that would allow the survival of the entire group, they consider that, having granted an additional period, there is still a possibility of closing the transaction” so that the group may have liquidity and guarantees to continue with its activity.
Immediate election of the new directors
“With the sole purpose of protecting Abengoa’s corporate interest and, with it, the interest of all its shareholders, workers, creditors and clients”, López Bravo and De la Riva have decided to immediately appoint a new management body of Abengoa Abenewco1, which has been severely criticized by the group of minority shareholders, which first calls for the holding of a general meeting of shareholders of the parent company.
According to Abenewco1, the resignation of the board has occurred “in an exercise of responsibility as it was not possible to complete the restructuring operation signed on August 6, 2020 with the main funders and creditors of the group. The directors who have resigned today have at all times maintained a firm commitment to the viability of the group, having directed all their efforts to achieve a refinancing operation that would have allowed the group to mitigate all the difficulties that arose, mainly, due to the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic on the group’s activity and results.
Arguments for resignation
The version of Gonzalo Urquijo and his directors is that «since the date on which he was appointed, on November 22, 2016, the board of directors, made up of an executive president and six independent directors, has been undertaking with the knowledge and approval of its shareholders, different restructuring operations, in which important sacrifices were requested from all the creditors of the group aimed at a single objective, which has always been the maintenance of the group, its businesses and employment ”.
The company insists that the refinancing operation was produced by “the deep crisis caused by Covid-19”, ignoring that in December 2019 it was already in the process of dissolution. The company claims that with la refinancing operation negotiated with ICO, investment funds and creditors (mainly Santander) “The endemic evil that had dragged on since the first refinancing was also faced in relation to the large debt of commercial suppliers. The operation signed on August 6, 2020, obtained at the end of September 2020 the support it required from the necessary commercial and financial creditors (in all cases greater than 80%) ».
“Since that date, and despite this important support, it has not been possible to complete the transaction, given the impossibility of considering the different conditions to which it was subject to have been fulfilled, and all this despite the dedication and constant effort of the group administrators who, simultaneously, have been informing the market, the regulator and the different interest groups at all times of the situation of the transaction and of the company with full transparency, ”says Abenewco1.
Deadline: December 31
“The operation was designed and negotiated under the deadline of December 31, 2020. Since it could not have been carried out on that date, we consider it reasonable – say the resigned – that the new board of directors of Abengoa SA, operating since the end of December, 2020 and that at all times has been sensitive to the situation of the company and constructive in relation to realistic refinancing options, take the decisions you deem appropriate in this regard.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism