IBERDROLA Chairman Ignacio Galán met this morning with the company’s senior managers at the traditional gathering ahead of tomorrow’s General Shareholders’ Meeting in Bilbao.
Addressing more than 200 top managers, Galán recalled the company’s significant international expansion over the last decade, which has enabled it to become Spain’s largest energy group, the fourth largest company on the Ibex 35 by market cap, the world leader in wind energy and one of the main players in the global energy market.
At the meeting, the IBERDROLA chairman also thanked the management team for its efforts. “Our success is largely attributable to the people who have given their all each day to IBERDROLA’s industrial project based on sustainable growth from which everyone gains.”
He noted that the efforts of the group’s approximately 33,000-strong workforce helped the company deliver a net profit of €2,824 million in 2009, in line with the 2008 figure despite the adverse economic climate. During the meeting, which was led by journalist María Escario and former Spanish national football team goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, Galán recalled that the company had earmarked a total of €18 billion for investment between 2010 and 2012. The funds will mainly be used to finance organic growth and to forge ahead with the group’s international expansion.
According to the chairman, the sector will have three main growth drivers this decade that will generate fresh opportunities and investment needs: 1) safety of supply and the reduction of energy dependence, 2) environmental protection and competition, associated with energy efficiency, and 3) innovation”.
In the same vein, Ignacio Galán emphasised during his speech that “a scenario with many challenges and opportunities lies ahead. If we continue to meet these challenges effectively, as we have until now, we will continue to create value for everyone: ourselves, shareholders, customers and society”.
Future challenges for IBERDROLA
Mr. Galán took the opportunity to set out the challenges that lie ahead for the company. The IBERDROLA chairman underlined the company’s intention to strengthen its position as the global renewables leader(*), focusing on growth in the US, where it is already the second largest player in the wind sector, the UK and Spain.
The company will also invest in offshore wind energy, an area in which it has secured the rights to build a wind farm with installed capacity of up to 7,200 MW in the UK in partnership with Swedish company Vattenfall.
The company will also focus on developing hydroelectric projects, with plans to install an additional 3,000 MW over the next few years; clean carbon technologies –IBERDROLA has been chosen as a finalist by the UK government to build the country’s first commercial-scale C02 capture and storage facility- and nuclear energy, where it is looking at developing a plant in Sellafield in the UK in partnership with GDF Suez and Scottish & Southern Energy.
Ignacio Galán added that the group would be investing heavily in distribution, including the installation of smart grids, and in the development of the electric vehicle, a field in which IBERDROLA has been conducting research for the past 10 years. The chairman also reiterated the company’s commitment to RD, an area in which it invested over €90 million in 2009, and to sustainable development, creating value for all stakeholders.
Finally, he reminded the management team that the construction of the group’s new headquarters, the IBERDROLA Tower in Bilbao, was scheduled for completion in 2011. This new building, requiring total investment of €200 million, symbolises the company’s strong links with the Basque Country.