Abengoa sees future beyond Spain

Abengoa, the Spanish concentrated solar power (CSP) specialist, sees itself delisting from the Madrid Stock Exchange in the next few years as it pivots its geographic focus away from its home market.

In the wake of Abengoa’s €450m ($616m) share listing last week on New York’s Nasdaq exchange, chief executive Manuel Sanchez Ortega has stated that the company “no longer [has] a home country”.

Seville-based Abengoa, a significant player in a number of energy and environmental sectors around the globe, launched its initial public offering in Madrid in 1996.

Abengoa’s American Depositary Receipts were issued onto on the Nasdaq late last week under the ticker symbol “ABGB”, and rose nearly 6% during the first three days of trading. The money raised will be used to pay down debts at the profit-making company.

Being listed in the US will boost Abengoa’s visibility with global investors and analysts, Ortega says.

A delisting in Madrid would come amid increasingly tense relations between Abengoa and the Spanish government.

Spain accounted for 18% of Abengoa’s revenues during the first half of the year, compared to 30% from the US.

The company is known to be pursuing recompense in the International Court of Arbitration for the Spanish government’s decision to retroactively slash support for CSP – a legal route Abengoa is apparently allowed to pursue since many of its Spanish CSP assets are owned by a Luxembourg-based subsidiary.

In an apparent swipe at Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galan, who has described CSP in Spain as “inefficient” and expensive, Sanchez said that “everyone has to defend [their] own interests”.

Most of the dozen or so solar-thermal plants Abengoa has brought on line over the past few years are located in Spain, but its CSP focus has shifted toward other markets – including the US, Israel, South Africa and the Middle East.

Abengoa is a global leader in the CSP space, which it insists will play an ever larger role in the world’s energy mix as it is adopted in places like Africa and the Middle East, despite concerns that the technology’s attractiveness has been undercut by the falling cost of PV.

Earlier this month the 280MW Solana project, 100% owned by Abengoa, was switched on in Arizona.

Among the largest projects on Abengoa’s €7.1bn order book are a 110MW CSP plant planned for Israel, and two projects under construction in South Africa.

Abengoa recently acquired the remainder of Siemens’ CSP assets through its subsidiary Rioglass Solar.

In addition to CSP, Abengoa is a major EPC player in the fast-growing power-transmission and water-desalination sectors, and is also Europe’s largest producer of biofuels.

Abengoa boasted a market capitalisation of €1.2bn before last week’s flotation in New York, and pocketed profits of €94m last year on revenues of €6.3bn.