Abengoa continues its agony after years of immersing itself in an ordeal of CEO changes, shareholder wars, court investigations and bailouts in extreme cases. Its debt of 4.9 trillion and lack of financing are a burden that prevents the Sevillian company from scratching projects and avoiding its free fall. The State Industrial Participation Society (SEPI) had to authorize this Tuesday the rescue of 249 million euros for the six subsidiaries of the Andalusian company, an important injection to maintain the offer made by the US fund Terramar, which had made it an irrevocable condition 200 Inject millions and revitalize Abenewco1, the subsidiary of Abengoa in which all assets are concentrated, State aid arrival before June 30th. According to negotiating sources, SEPI has provided the company with a report on its situation, which it can submit allegations to in the next five days. This situation exhausts the last deadlines hanging over the Sevillian company.
All the company’s movements to stay afloat and, above all, to save the 5,000 jobs in Spain – 2,000 of them in Seville, Abengoa’s headquarters – are running against the clock. Approval of the SEPI aid could not be delayed beyond this week to ensure it is approved by the Governing Council next week. In addition, this Friday expires the deadline granted by the creditors of Abenewco 1 not to file for bankruptcy, after the same Tuesday they extended the deadline by three days, which ended precisely on June 21st.
It’s not the only deadline pressing the renewable energy company. The parent company, Abengoa SA, which has been in bankruptcy proceedings since February 2021, has until July 1 to submit the agreement to the judge responsible for the bankruptcy proceedings. If it is not approved – and the bankruptcy trustee EY does not seem very well disposed towards it at the moment – the company would go into liquidation in September. Also on July 1, the bankruptcy moratorium approved by the government due to the pandemic in March 2020, which exempted insolvent companies from filing for bankruptcy, ends.
Concentration versus SEPI
And as days are wiped from the calendar, workers continue to be mired in an uncertainty greater than the fear haunting the company they work for. This morning, half a thousand professionals from Abengoa Agua, Abengoa Energía, Solúcar, Inabensa and Abenewco 1 gathered in front of SEPI’s headquarters to demand a solution that guarantees their jobs and they met with the Director General of Industry of the Executive, Galo Gutiérrez , who was unable to advance the content of his report, claiming that it was the company that had to provide him with the content if it sent it to him.
They had all locked themselves in the SEPI building since noon to exert pressure and demand a ransom that would brighten their future at the company. The mobilization in Madrid is the latest carried out by Abengoa workers who, over the last year, have taken part in demonstrations through central Seville and rallies in front of the San Telmo Palace, the headquarters of the Junta de Andalucía, to draw the attention of the Demand management about your situation.
“There are companies that rely on us, but the contracts are subject to the condition that SEPI gives the green light for the help,” explains Laura Rodríguez, representative of the Abengoa works council. Workers assert their professionalism and high capacity, recognizing that it is debt and lack of funding that prevent them from winning the competitions they face.
Abengoa workers’ demands have wormed their way into the election campaign by attending multi-party rallies to try to get their voices heard. Finance and Industry Ministers María Jesús Montero and Reyes Maroto have recalled that two years ago it was the Junta de Andalucía that refused to contribute the 20 million it had promised in a previous bailout. “The board stayed on profile and didn’t meet their minimum stake,” Montero said. At another rally attended by Yolanda Díaz, the Por Andalucía candidate referred to her and also accused the PP of “having done nothing for the company”. “Another mess that Moreno was wiped out of,” said the leader of the left-wing coalition, which is the only one that alludes to Abengoa in its election manifesto. The company’s employees were also noticed at the closing rally of the PSOE campaign in Seville, where they interrupted Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and shouted “Abengoa, solution”.