On Tuesday, February 28, Ferrovial announced its plan to move its headquarters from Spain to the Netherlands next June with the aim of listing on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, owned by Euronext. Subsequently, the idea of the firm of Rafael Del Pino, the third richest person in Spain according to Forbes, is to start trading on one of the United States stock markets before the end of the year.
Fusion. The project, pending approval by the general shareholders’ meeting, would be carried out through a takeover of Ferrovial SA by Ferrovial International SE, a subsidiary of the parent company domiciled in the Netherlands that currently controls 86% of the assets of the firm founded in Madrid in 1952.
“Wrong decision”. For its part, the Government did not take long to express its rejection of the plan announced by Ferrovial. Nadia Calviño, First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, said in an interview for La Sexta that she had spoken with Rafael Del Pino to express her rejection of this “erroneous decision”, and added that Ferrovial is a company “that owes everything to Spain and that it has grown thanks to public investments financed by citizens”.
Facilitate listing in the US. The plan, which goes “against the interest and image of our country” according to Calviño, has caused the Government to find itself now, as the vice president pointed out in an interview with Onda Cero, studying how to facilitate their listing for Spanish companies in the United States to enhance the competitiveness of Spain.
The weight of Spain in the world construction market. In this sense, the magnitude of Ferrovial’s decision is better understood if one takes into account that the firm is one of the most valuable construction companies in the world according to the latest Deloitte report published in 2021 and entitled ‘Global Powers of Construction’. This document also indicates the weight that our country has in the international construction market.
Spanish companies in the Top 100. According to Deloitte, there are seven Spanish companies among the hundred construction companies that bill the most globally. These are, in order from highest to lowest sales volume, ACS, Acciona, Ferrovial, FCC, Sacyr, OHLA and Grupo San José. In total, the turnover of these firms reaches 68,332 million dollars, the sixth largest sales volume after that achieved by companies established in South Korea, France, the United States, Japan and China.
The Chinese colossus. On the other hand, although it is not a negligible figure, it should be noted that the total sales of the seven Spanish companies is far from the billing made only by the Chinese state-owned firm CSCEC, the world’s largest construction company, whose sales reached the 293.194 million dollars.
Extensive billing. At the same time, the percentage of worldwide turnover by Spanish companies is 3.8%, higher than that achieved by companies in the United Kingdom (2.8%) and lower than that of French firms (6.9%). In this sense, the report indicates that although almost 55% of revenues in 2021 were generated by companies based in China, the rest belonged, mainly, to firms based in Europe, particularly those established in France and Spain.
A piece of the pie. Additionally, companies based in Spain control 7.4% of the entire stock market value of the construction market, estimated at 662,000 million dollars. Although this percentage is higher than that of Canadian (0.8%) and South Korean (4.3%) firms, it is below that controlled by European companies based in the United Kingdom (7.7%) and France (12, 6%). It should be noted that American and Chinese companies are the ones that take the biggest pieces of the pie, with 21.8% and 17% respectively.
Ferrovial’s success. On the other hand, among the thirty construction companies with the highest market value we find three Spanish firms: Ferrovial, in the sex position; Acciona in eighteenth place and ACS in twenty-ninth place. This last company is also the largest international contractor in the construction sector, according to Deloitte.
Business abroad. One of the keys to Ferrovial’s success is its activity outside of Spain, since more than 80% of its business is located outside of our country. In this sense, its presence in North America is essential: in the press release published by the firm on the results obtained in 2022, the company reported revenue of 7,551 million euros and a net profit of 186 million euros.
Highly profitable roads. According to the company, these figures reflected “the good progress of the toll road business and, especially, the greater contribution of US Managed Lanes”. Managed Lanes are highways with rates that can be modified from time to time -depending on the level of traffic congestion- that guarantee drivers the possibility of going at a certain speed. They have a very long concession period and are a great source of income.
Internationalization. This may probably be the reason why Ferrovial seeks to be listed in the US, a country in which it has increased its presence through various projects in recent years. In any case, the Spanish firm confirms with its plan what was stated in the Deloitte report, according to which internationalization represents the pillar on which the growth of construction companies will be based.
Consequences? Finally, the transfer to the Netherlands – with which Ferrovial could save 40 million euros in taxes according to a report by Banco Sabadell cited by elDiario.es – will not affect the more than 5,000 workers and the investments that the firm has in Spain . This has been confirmed by the firm itself in recent conversations with the Government.
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