Holland may acquire a multinational construction company listed. Spain’s Ferrovial announced this week that it intends to move its headquarters from Madrid to the Netherlands. In addition to being listed on the Madrid Stock Exchange, it also wants to be listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.
Ferrovial (annual turnover 7.5 billion euros, more than 24,000 employees) is engaged worldwide in the construction and maintenance of large infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and metro tunnels. It owns 25 percent of London Heathrow Airport and also operates routes in the United States and Canada.
Spanish employees will not notice this step, and the management of the construction company promises that investments in Spain will remain the same. The resettlement plans also led to great political outrage in Spain. Ferrovial is seen as the crown jewel of the Spanish business community, and the choice for the Netherlands is mainly driven by tax motives in the eyes of Spanish politicians. For example, CEO Rafael Del Pino has regularly complained about the Spanish business climate, particularly the tax on excessive corporate profits that Spain has recently introduced. It is believed that the move will save Ferrovial tens of millions of euros through tax benefits. Once the shareholders have approved the plan, Ferrovial wants to move to the Netherlands this year. Four questions.
1 Why does Ferrovial want to go to the Netherlands?
Ferruvial says she wants to move because of the favorable laws and regulations in the Netherlands. For example, Holland offers “stability”, “low financing costs” and most importantly: short lines to the international market. The construction company itself states that this move is mainly aimed at achieving its international ambitions – including listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
Shareholders will wonder aloud how real the “Spanish” Ferrovial is. The company generated more than 80 percent of its sales outside Spain in 2022 – the most important markets are North America (36 percent) and the United Kingdom (21 percent).
The Netherlands also isn’t entirely new to the builder: Ferrovial has already moved part of its international operations from London to the Netherlands in light of the approaching Brexit. Five people are currently employed by Ferrovial in a multi-company building near Amsterdam Sloterdijk station.
2 What role do tax benefits play?
The term fell into the Spanish media Financial Heaven [belastingparadijs] almost. However, it is not yet clear to what extent tax benefits play a role. If Ferrovial wants to take advantage of this, says tax law professor Jan van de Streek of Leiden University, it must have deductions here. “It depends on how much they turn over here. They may have a favorable judgment.” [afspraak met de belastingdienst] Have.” The exemption of listed companies from paying dividend tax on the purchase of their shares may also play a role: Ferrovial bought 388 million euros of its shares in 2022 and wants to increase that amount to 500 million euros in 2023.
What the main office will look like is still the question. This should be evident from the IPO prospectus in Amsterdam. Then you also know whether he will stay with a PO box, or whether a new office will really open here, ”says van de Streek. However, managers must certainly move to the Netherlands, because here decisions have to be made. Van de Streeck says. Strick: “Shell CEO Ben van Beurden sold his house in Wassenaar and moved with Shell to London.” “This should also happen here if the head office has more to do than the mailbox.”
3 What does the arrival of such a large party mean for the construction sector?
Ferrovial will not cause a major panic among Dutch builders. The Spanish multinational mainly makes its money from large projects outside the EU, while Dutch companies such as BAM, Heijmans and Strukton focus on projects in the Netherlands and on a selective number of overseas markets.
Sectoral banker Léontin de Waal of ABN Amro says the fact that Ferrovial’s head office is here does not mean construction activities will actually come to the Netherlands. “Only a few bids are planned to build major infrastructure works in the short term. And projects that have already been tendered have in many cases been delayed or postponed. It would be great news if they suddenly applied for tenders.”
4 Where does the Spanish political anger come from?
The Spanish government reacted furiously to news of the action plans on Tuesday night. Minister Nadia Calvinho (Economic Affairs) accuses Ferrovial of taking advantage of Spanish investments and public support to grow into the company it is today, before leaving. “Feruvial owes everything to Spain,” Calvino said, “It is a decision that goes against the interests and image of our country.” She conveyed her discontent personally in a telephone conversation to CEO Del Pino, son of the founder and namesake. The billionaire has a net worth of €4 billion, which makes him one of the richest men in Spain.
The decision is treason. The news comes at a time when Spain is trying to attract similar companies to its country. But whether that fight with Del Pino’s family makes sense remains to be seen. “Facing Rafa is not easy. It’s like going to war with the United States,” his ex-wife Jill Casares said in an interview with Vanity Fair. Del Pino is known as one opinionated, who is rarely allowed to be interviewed. Ultimately, it is the shareholders who decide to relocate.
A version of this article also appeared in the March 3, 2023 issue
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