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BASQUE COUNTRY DOSSIER - INVESTMENTS by wuyunyi

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									BASQUE COUNTRY DOSSIER
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     INVESTMENTS
The beauty treatment: Tuboplast invests 12.5 million on two factories

Tuboplast Hispania, controlled by industrial magnate Juan Celaya, unveiled
plans yesterday to invest 12.5 million euros on revamping and improving its
production plants in Vitoria and France. The largest part of the investment, 8
million euros in all, is to be spent this year and next on the modernization of
French subsidiary CTI Industries, while the other 4.5 million will be used to
optimize operations at its new Basque plant. The facility replaced the original
installations in Gamarra in 2002, after a global investment of 37 million euros.
Although the company has not yet revealed how and when the money is to be
spent in 2005, a spokesman confirmed that the move would give the company
the space it needed to install new production lines.
Basically the firm makes bottles, stoppers and plastic packaging for cosmetics,
the pharmaceutical industry and personal hygiene products. After a laborious
move, and the start-up of complex production lines, Tuboplast has consolidated
operations in Vitoria and expects to end 2004 with turnover of 56 million euros,
a 5.6 per cent increase over the previous year. Profits should be up 50 per cent
to around 3 million euros.
Through Tuboplast Hispania, Juan Celaya has holdings in twenty or so
companies, including Alava group Cegasa.

           Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 13 November 2004


Running the risk: Basque aerospace firm agrees to 16 million investment
to develop turbine

Basque aerospace firm Industria de Turbo Propulsores, S. A. (ITP) announced
yesterday that it had signed its 2.27 per cent risk-related stake with General
Electric in the LMS100 project for an aero-derived industrial turbine, in which it
is to invest 16 million euros. The contract will mean a production workload of
30,000 hours a year at the firm’s centre in Zamudio, near Bilbao, and sales of
250 million euros from 2005 to 2025.
A company spokesman revealed that ITP and General Electric reached an
agreement last July on supplying an outer front rotating seal for the high-
pressure turbine. The option to purchase included in the agreement had now
been confirmed. LMS100, which consumes gas and generates electricity, is
currently considered, at 46 per cent, to be the most efficient 100-MW simple-
cycle gas turbine on the market.
To meet programme requirements, ITP will invest 16 million euros on related
manufacturing and engineering developments. ITP is working on two parts for
the high-pressure turbine and on four parts of the power turbine module.

                 Summary of a news item published in Deia, 16 November 2004
The short haul: German hauliers invest 6 million in new terminal near
French border

Road hauliers Hamann International, part of the German Interspe Hamann
Group, is building a new logistics platform on a 10,860-square-metre site at
Zaisa III, the new extension zone at the Irún transport centre. Sources at the
firm said yesterday that the new installations, scheduled to become operative
next February, would require an investment of around 6 million euros.
Besides 800 square metres of office space, the new platform will have a 5,000-
square-metre warehouse, and 30 lorry loading and unloading bays.
At present, Hamann International’s Irún delegation, which has a workforce of
70, is located at Zaisa, the Irún transport centre. Last year, the haulage
company dealt with 80,000 goods’ dispatches, with a total load of nearly 96,000
tons.
Hamann International has its HQ and two pavilions in Barcelona, two more in
Valencia and one in Madrid, Alicante, Irún, Saragossa, Gijón, Seville, Tarragona
and Bilbao. The firm ended last year with billing of 197 million euros, 6.2 per
cent up on the previous year’s figure.

          Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 October 2004


 United they stand: Spanish haulage firm to integrate traffic bases at new
site

Spanish haulage firm Transportes San José López, based in Oyarzun
(Guipúzcoa), recently started construction work on its new administrative
headquarters at the town’s Lanbarren industrial estate. The company is to
locate its centre of operations, uniting the present traffic bases at Irún and
Oyarzun on the new site. This ambitious project will enable the group to
improve its present logistics situation, particularly as, in the words of one
company spokesman, “it makes no sense to maintain two traffic centres so
close to each other.” The 12-month project is being executed on a 42,223-
square-metre site. The firm’s new infrastructure will have repair and
maintenance workshops occupying an area of 3,600 square metres in all.
According to the company spokesman, San José López is also planning to build
an internal storage pavilion with 4,000 square metres of covered space
available.

          Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 October 2004


More is better: Italian panel making multinational to double manufacturing
capacity at Basque subsidiary

Italian multinational Metecno is all set to launch a programme designed to
double its Lantarón factory’s architectural panel production capability over the
next few months. The project confirms the Basque-based subsidiary Metarch
Architectural Panel as the group’s only European centre to produce this new
custom-built wall system.
Some 5 million euros were needed to get the project, which produced its first
panels in late 2003, off the ground. More than half of the investment was
provided in capital by Metecno and Ezten, a local venture capital fund.
At present, Metarch is working on the second phase of the project, involving the
acquisition and installation of new equipment that will enable it to double its
production levels of architectural panelling to 200,000 square metres a year.
Most of the money is to be spent on acquiring a foam press.
With a 4,000-square-metre pavilion at Lantarón, Metarch currently employs 25
people, a number expected to reach 30 before the end if the year. The company
also calculates that it will consume 25,000 tons of coils in 2005.
Working from its Alava base, Metarch is the only European Metecno Group
subsidiary to make architectural panelling, its mission being to supply Europe
and South America, as the US market is covered by another subsidiary making
the same product.

          Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 October 2004


Windmills of their kind: new acquisitions make Spanish power company
world leader in renewable energy

Sources at Spanish power company Iberdrola announced yesterday that the
firm had achieved “world leadership” in the area of renewable energy after
acquiring, at a cost of 566 million euros, a number of wind farms with 460 MW
power in Spain and Portugal from Basque aerospace and power concern
Gamesa. The sources described the operation as part of Iberdrola’s bid to
increase installed capacity in renewable energy resources to 5,500 MW in 2008.
Iberdrola also confirmed that by acquiring the wind farms, the company “has
achieved world leadership in renewable energy, and is now ahead of Spanish
and international competitors.”
The power company ended the third quarter of the year with 2,777 MW
installed, to which should now be added the power acquired from Gamesa. A
further addition will be made shortly through the capacity at wind farms the
company is currently promoting and which should be in operation before the
end of the year.
Although its sights are now firmly set on international markets beyond Portugal,
Iberdrola’s renewable generation capability is still confined to 12 Spanish
autonomous communities. With international expansion very much on the firm’s
agenda, Iberdrola has begun negotiations concerningthe installation of wind
farms in Mexico and Brazil, and is also analyzing new opportunities elsewhere
in Europe.

        Summary of a news item published in Diario Vasco, 19 November 2004


Recipe for success: Basque restaurant equipment maker opens plant in
Poland to supply Eastern Europe

In early 2005, Basque restaurant and hotel equipment manufacturer Fagor
Industrial is to open a factory in Poland to supply the Eastern European
markets, where the cooperative has been working and expanding its interests
for some years now.
The new 9,500-square-metre factory is to be built on a 19,150 square-metre site
in an industrial area close to the country’s capital, Warsaw. The factory’s
production capability will take up 6,000 square metres, with some 2,800 square
metres being used as storage space. With a workforce of 75, the factory has
required an initial investment of six million euros.
In Poland, Fagor Industrial will be making cold cabinets and tables, kitchen
tables, sinks, shelving and distribution trolleys for hotels and restaurants.
Production will be oriented towards the Polish market and to neighbouring
countries like Germany, Russia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Baltic
states.
Fagor Industrial reckons the new factory should register minimum turnover of
five million euros in 2005, and on that basis plans 30 per cent increases in the
following years.
This is the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation (MCC) member cooperative’s
third foreign facility. The Polish initiative joins its French factory and another
new plant now being built in Turkey. Besides its main factory in Oñate,
(Guipúzcoa), Fagor Industrial also has production centres in Lucena (Córdoba)
and Barcelona. It also has 12 commercial subsidiaries operating in 11 countries,
France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Poland, Turkey, the US, Mexico, Colombia,
China and Australia. It is also the third MCC factory in Poland.

        Summary of a news item published in Diario Vasco, 11 November 2004


Power exchange: Irish generation group sells half of combined cycle
facility to Japanese group

Under the terms of a recently signed agreement, Irish power company ESB is to
sell 50 per cent of the combined cycle facility it is currently building in
Amorebieta, near Bilbao, to Japanese group Osaka Gas. The operation gives
the Japanese group its first foothold in Spain. One of the largest gas
corporations in its home country with a workforce of more than 15,000, Osaka
Gas recently took the strategic decision to start investing in combined cycle
facilities all over the world.
Signed in Dublin by ESB CEO Patrick McManus and Susumu Mita, Chairman of
Osaka Gas subsidiary Gas and Power Investment, the agreement includes the
possibility of the latter becoming an “equal partner” in Bizkaia Energía, the
company promoting the Amorebieta power station. However, sources consulted
insisted that ESB would be responsible for actually operating the facility.
Although ESB and Osaka Gas representatives yesterday declined to state just
how much the operation is to cost, one clue can be had from the fact that the
plant is expected to require a total investment of 390 million euros, which would
make it the largest foreign investment project ever undertaken in the Basque
Country.

               Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 2 October 2004
Salt of the water: Basque water treatment firm to operate USA’s largest
seawater purification plant

Basque water treatment business Proyectos e Instalaciones de Desalación,
better known as Pridesa, has made the successful bid in the public call for
tenders for a 20-year, 180-million-dollar (that’s 147.5 million euros) contract for
carrying out repair work, maintenance and management at the US’s largest
desalination plant at Tampa Bay, Florida. Daily production capacity at Tampa is
107,900 cubic metres.
Pridesa bid in a tender called by Tampa Bay Water, the largest water agency in
Florida state, in a consortium with American Water Works. Both companies are
controlled by the German group RWE.
Florida is not the only flower in Pridesa’s buttonhole. The company has also
been entrusted with building in London what will eventually be the largest
desalination plant in England, with a daily capacity of 150,000 cubic metres.
The new plant will supply some four hundred thousand homes. Finally Pridesa,
which registered turnover of 150 million euros in 2002 (the last year for which
figures are available at present), is also currently working on the construction of
a desalination plant in Ciudadela, on the isle of Minorca, in tandem with Tolo
Pons.

          Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 28 September 2004


Toys ‘R them: children’s games chain invests 6 million at new leisure and
shopping centre

Toys ‘R’Us has invested six million-plus euros in its new 2,350-square-metre
store in Baracaldo, just outside Bilbao, located at the Megapark shopping and
leisure centre to be inaugurated this weekend.
One of the world’s leading toy distribution company, Toys ‘R’Us already has
shops in Vitoria, Basauri and San Sebastián in the Basque Country.
More than a million people have visited Toys ‘R’Us shops in the Basque region
in the last twelve months. Management sources at the company said they
expected the new Baracaldo store to receive upwards of 300,000 visitors a
year.
Antonio Urcelay, chairman of Toys ‘R’Us in continental Europe and top
executive for Spain and Portugal, said yesterday that the Basque Country was a
strategic area for the company.
Toys ‘R’Us Baracaldo has a workforce of 70.

          Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 28 September 2004


Taking an elevated view of growth: Basque lift maker inaugurates new
production plant on local industrial estate

Lift makers Orona recently inaugurated its brand new 7,000-square-metre
facility at the Epele industrial estate just outside Hernani. At an investment of
9.4 million euros, financed by the public and private sectors, Orona’s new
infrastructure doubles the surface area of its other plant in Hernani. Company
sources described the move as “vital” for it to continue its plan for growth.
Besides a 5,000-square-metre production pavilion with electric workshop
included, the new facility, built on a 21,000-square-metre site, also houses a
new 25-metre high trial tower, designed to complement the other tower, all 75
metres of it, with two batteries of four lifts each.
Other major features of the new plant, not directly connected with the
production of lifts, include a new R&D centre, an office block and training centre
with five training rooms.

            Summary of a news item published in Diario Vasco, 1 October 2004


All by ourselves: Basque government ratifies target of self-sufficiency in
energy by 2010

The Basque regional government is looking to approve its new energy plan for
2005-2010, which includes the target of self-sufficiency in energy by the end of
the six-year period. Deputy regional minister for Industry & Energy José Ignacio
Zudaire confirmed yesterday what his predecessor, Josu Jon Imaz, declared a
year ago: the object is to transform the Basque Country into a community that
produces as much energy as it consumes. This will be a radical change from
the situation in 2000, when the Spanish autonomous community imported 73
per cent of what it needed. Investments of some 5,000 million euros, a mere 10
per cent of which will be put up by the public sector, are in the offing to achieve
this target.
Zudaire made the announcement during a speech at the Energy Cluster Forum
2004 held in Bilbao. Attending the Forum were representatives from the EU, the
International Energy Agency and some prestigious US research centres.
An essential move in achieving self-sufficiency, according to Zudaire, was to
replace the conventional thermal power stations still operating with coal by
combined cycle facilities generating electricity using natural gas. Also needed
was a drastic reduction in the region’s dependence on oil, in favour of natural
gas and renewable energy sources.
Exchanging natural gas for oil is in fact a central feature of the plan for 2010.
Natural gas is a much cleaner fuel for electricity power facilities. As Zudaire
pointed out, the Government’s plans involved reducing the oil consumption rate
from the present figure of 50 per cent to 36 per cent, and increasing
consumption of natural gas from the current level of 22 per cent to 52 per cent
in six years’ time. At the same time, renewable energies, which today account
for just 4 per cent of total production, will have to increase to 12 per cent, with
coal being reduced from 8 per cent today to 2 per cent.
The bid for self-sufficiency in energy was a feature of the previous ten-year plan
covering from 1996 to 2005, which by next year will have 90 per cent of its
generation projects underway. Apart from Petronor’s combined cycle facility in
Somorrostro, linked to the IGCC refinery waste treatment project, which has
been abandoned, the other projects are already operating or are currently in the
testing phase. The Bahía Bizkaia Electricidad combined cycle plant came into
service in February 2003 in Ciérvena as the first part of the plan, being joined
shortly afterwards by its near-neighbour the Bilbao Bizkaia Gas regasification
facility. Among other things, the privatization of Naturcorp has helped to finance
public sector financing for new energy projects. ESB’s combined cycle facility in
Amorebieta, Iberdrola’s in Santurce and the Zabalgarbi waste incinerator in
Bilbao are all currently in their trial period.
Finally, the plan seeks to improve the cross-border connections for the
importation of natural gas, consolidate the gas transmission network and
enlarge the distribution networks. Major new storage facilities are also planned
for oil products, together with improvements in refinery processes, as well as
further explorations of potential off-shore hydrocarbon fields.

                  Summary of a news item published in El País, 1 October 2004


Waiting for the sun: latest acquisition takes Basque group into solar panel
construction

Elecnor has reached an agreement with US concern Astropower for acquiring
Atersa, a Valencia-based solar panel producer. The operation has already
received the blessing of a US court in Delaware, which it needs as Astropower,
the parent company, is currently in bankruptcy procedures.
Under the agreement, Elecnor acquires all company assets outright. The move
confirms the Basque group’s strategic bid to diversify towards markets with
greater added value.
Atersa is one of Spain’s leading producers of solar panels. Last year it clocked
up earnings of 25.67 million euros, while its workforce rose to 115.
In recent years, the Elecnor group has constantly increased its presence in the
renewable energy industry.

         Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 1 September 2004


Opening the appetite for growth: Basque snack producer to triple current
production levels with new factory

Basque crisp, aperitif and snack producer Celigüeta is currently building a new
factory at Agurain (Alava) to be inaugurated at the end of the year. By tripling
the firm’s current snack production capability, the new factory will facilitate
major growth.
Celigüeta’s new 4,800-square-metre facility, which will provide a dozen new
jobs to bring the company workforce to 60, is being built on a 23,000-square-
metre site at the Agurain industrial estate. The size of the site means the
production area can be enlarged if future production levels rise significantly.
Created from a company originally founded in the 1930s, Celigüeta appeared
on the business scene in its present form in 1996, and is currently looking to
consolidate through ongoing growth, which currently averages at around 20 per
cent a year. The firm’s continued growth is powered basically through the
development of innovative nutritional and diet products and the search for new
foreign markets and distribution channels.
The new factory, which will automate all snack production processes, will
enable the firm to double crisp production and increase five-fold is current
supply of other aperitifs.
With exports running at 15 per cent of production, to Portugal and France,
Celigüeta is looking to increase international sales to 30 per cent, by
consolidating these two markets and by entering the UK, Germany, Holland and
Italy.
In Spain, Celigüeta markets most of its aperitifs through the major distribution
groups, as well as in small businesses and the hotel trade.
Celigüeta’s own R&D department is concentrating on innovation in its aperitif
production with the introduction of its new 0 per cent line, a new line of oven-
baked, oil-free non-fried snacks.
Company production also includes preservative- and dye-free traditional snacks
(made with sunflower oil), and its range of low-fat aperitifs. Local technology
centre AZTI supervises all Celigüeta production, guaranteeing the information
on the label agrees with the contents of the accompanying jar or pack.
Management sources at Celigüeta also report that the company is planning to
involve in its projects the potato farmers in Alava who supply much of the
seasonal raw material in a bid to assess their crop growing, transport and
storage methods.

   Summary of a news item published in Estrategia Empresarial, 16 September
                                                                       2004


Cool decision for just desserts: Nestlé plumps for Vitoria as its Spanish
ice cream HQ

After successfully reorganizing its business in the country, Swiss multinational
Nestlé has chosen Basque capital Vitoria as the Spanish headquarters for its
ice-cream division. The continuing importance of the firm’s factory at Araia, in
Alava, one of two Nestlé facilities producing ice cream in Spain, has
encouraged the multinational concentrate this business area in the Basque
capital.
Ice cream makers Helados Miko and Valencia-based Avidesa are now close to
concluding their merger process, which will lead to the creation of an ice cream
and dessert producer called Helados y Postres.
From 1 October, the new firm will take on the Araia factory’s assets and its
workforce of 150 full-time employees. It will also absorb the staff from Alzira’s
commercial offices.
Spokesmen at Nestlé commented yesterday that the consortium was not
planning to withdraw the Miko brand of ice creams, which originated in Alava,
as occurred recently with the Camy range.

            Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 5 September 2004


On the way to the Forum: VIA organizes aerospace trade fair to put Vitoria
airport on world map
From next Tuesday until the following Friday, the old Bilbao International
Exhibition Centre premises and the neighbouring Euskalduna Conference &
Performing Arts Centre, in the centre of Bilbao, will be playing hosts to the Air
Cargo Forum, the world’s most important air cargo trade fair. Hosting the event
means that VIA (Vitoria International Airport), owned by the Alava Provincial
Council, the Vitoria city council, the Basque regional government and the
Chamber of Commerce of Alava, has achieved one of the major objectives that
originally led to its creation.
In all 450 firms will be occupying 375 stands, with visits expected from up to
5,000 professionals from the world aerospace, air cargo and logistics industries.
The current edition is the largest trade fair ever organized by TIACA, the
International Air Cargo Association, since it began these two-yearly events back
in 1962. The latest edition is, therefore, the most important of its kind held
anywhere in the world to date.
Spokesmen from VIA’s owner institutions and from Spanish aerospace
association AENA, owner of Vitoria’s Foronda airport, held a press conference
yesterday to present the fair, which is being held in Bilbao basically because
Vitoria lacks the kind of trade fair and exhibition premises required for an event
of this magnitude.
Issues for debate at the Forum include the latest round of safety measures and
their direct influence on costs, the role of the forwarding agent as mediator
between airline and cargo loader, the elimination of obstacles in the
development of new markets and air transport for perishable products. Besides
air cargo professionals, the debates are expected to attract importers,
exporters, customs agents, computer firms and banks linked to the sector.
Despite losing the actual fair to Bilbao, Vitoria will be hosting the gala dinners
VIA and TIACA are to offer. Visits will also be organized to the city’s airport, the
third largest in Spain in terms of the amount of air cargo throughput. Foronda
airport currently handles 8.8 per cent of Spain’s entire air cargo. A spokesman
said that TIACA’s decision to organize the latest Air Cargo Forum around
Foronda — Calgary, Canada is the next stop, in 2006 — was suitable
recognition of “the work done over many years by VIA.” Every two years, the
ACF moves on to a different continent. In 2000 it was held in Washington, with
Hong Kong organizing in 2002.

           Summary of a news item published in El Mundo, 10 September 2004


A look round the estate: 90 firms set to move into new business park

Some 90 companies have begun work on moving into the recently inaugurated
Ibarrabarri Business Park in Lejona, just outside Bilbao, built by property
developers Neinor.
The initial investment of 18 million euros is expected to reach 25 million once
users have fitted out their sites and facilities. Of the seven buildings in the
55,100-square-metre park, two provide office space, four are what are known
as business nests for budding companies and the last is reserved for municipal
facilities. In all, industrial pavilions are to cover 15,858 square metres, offices
will take up 9,345 square metres and commercial and display premises 2,714
square metres. The park also has 37,000 square metres of open or green belt
areas.
A spokesman for the property promoter, Neinor, explained that all offices and
premises built at Ibarrabarri had now been sold. New arrivals at the park were
to include firms from the textile, shipping, road haulage and car industries, as
well as the services sector. One major tenant is local special stainless steels
and aluminium service provider Servinox.
Another company currently working on its move to the park is engineering firm
Tecnimat, which is scheduled to be open its new die project office at Ibarrabarri
in three months. Specializing in engineering for the automotive industry,
Tecnimat is moving to the park from its present premises in Las Arenas.
One of the firms already working at the new industrial estate is prefabricated
concrete construction group Prainsa, which moved in last December.

         Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 1 September 2004


A strategic option at bay: haulage group to reinforce Basque facilities

Road haulage group Bofill & Arnán plans to open a new centre in Vizcaya and
enlarge its present pavilion in Guipúzcoa in a bid to consolidate business in the
Basque Country. BCN Aduanas y Transporte and Bofill & Arnán, the two
businesses in the group, have reached an agreement with Alditrans to
implement their ambitious strategic plan.
Vizcaya should be up and running first. Bofill & Arnán will be operating from the
new centre in Iurreta this month.
The operation was made possible by the agreement with Alditrans Bilbo, which
has built a logistics centre in Iurreta. Alditran’s new facilities here involve 6,000
square metres of covered space, with 21 loading bays, plus 250 square metres
of offices. BCN Aduanas y Transportes, an international logistics, storage,
picking and haulage specialist already operating in Guipúzcoa, will move into
the Lanbarren industrial estate, in Oyarzun, Guipúzcoa, early next year with a
view to optimizing its services. Alditrans will also be helping out here, as it plans
to build a new logistics platform on a 35,760-square-metre site in Oyarzun in the
immediate future. BCN Aduanas y Transportes is to use part of Alditrans’ 9,000-
square-metre, 28-loading-bay warehouse.

         Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 1 September 2004


All change: major city redevelopment scheme forces businesses to up
shop

Over 80 firms installed in Zorrozaurre, a 150,000-square-metre lip of land in
Bilbao surrounded by the river on one bank and a canal on the other, will shortly
have to move from their current homes when the redevelopment plan for the
zone gets under way. Curiously, despite the fact that work on the scheme is
scheduled to begin shortly, only a few firms have so far taken the trouble to find
new homes. Cromoduro, for instance, has reserved a site on the Boroa
industrial estate.
With the plan’s presentation date fast approaching, the scheme’s management
commission is also about to come into being. The two events will mark the
official start of a project to be drafted by London-based architect Zaha Hadid in
cooperation with local architects Iñaki Peña and Antón Agirregoiti. The
development will inevitably mean big investments for the businesses involved,
both for the move and for their inevitable modernization.
However, a survey carried out by EMPRESA XXI amongst the companies
directly affected showed that most were completely unaware of the situation.
Some of the firms surveyed did say that they were working on their forthcoming
moves, while others said they would be staying on until the last possible
moment, as they believe that obliging some 600 owners to move meant that
redevelopment would be a slow, complex process.
In the late 1990s, leading-edge maritime chain producer Vicinay, which needs a
jetty to carry on its activities, agreed to move a short way downstream to the
Mudela riverbank zone of Sestao, while Cromoduro has taken the first steps
towards relocating with an application for space at the Boroa industrial estate
close to Amorebieta, where it plans to move a business that currently occupies
an 18,627-square-metre site in Zorrozaurre.
Other businesses have opted to move early. After selling its 12,000-square-
metre site to a private concern, Lancor 2000 has already built a new facility in
Abanto.
Redeveloping these 57 hectares will mean major business opportunities for
Basque engineering firms. Apart from the general redevelopment, the current
users of Zorrozaurre, linked in the main with the manufacturing and metal
industries, have another two projects on the boil and will take this opportunity to
modernize their infrastructures and equipment and thus overcome the long
period of uncertainty undergone in recent years.

         Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 1 September 2004


Found the key: Basque logistics sector develops to support industrial
development

Logistics has been coming more and more into the business and commercial
picture as the need to improve competitiveness and reduce margins has
increased. After a good deal of thought in Basque business and administrative
circles in recent years, this as yet largely unexplored area for industrial cost
reductions is now clearly on the up.
A number of logistics projects are currently underway in the Basque Country,
the most important of which are being developed in Alava, for reasons of space
and the province’s strategic position as a communications hub. Besides the
extension work now being carried out at Vitoria airport, 1.4 million square
metres have been set aside for logistics at the new Arasur industrial estate, a
further one million square metres are available for industrial use at Subillabide,
the Asparrena estate, where Michelin recently installed its regulator warehouse,
has 1.3 million square metres for industrial and logistical use, work finished
recently on a 338,000-square-metre extension at the CTV Vitoria transport
centre and the Júndiz industrial estate is to be enlarged to 7 million metres to
house freight haulage firm Transportes Azkar.
Work in Vizcaya has concentrated on the Port of Bilbao extension, where
Aparcabisa and Abra Industrial are to occupy 800,000 square metres and
Sondica airport, which is to get a 240,000-square-metre industrial platform. In
Guipúzcoa action has concentrated on the port of Pasajes and the border town
of Irún, where Zaisa is now in the third phase of expansion. A new 561,000-
square-metre industrial estate and logistics platform called Lanbarren is the
latest arrival, together with Araso, Zubieta and Patta Eureka.
Consolidating a logistics capability of this kind is absolutely vital in the mid term
to support any industry and regional automotive cluster ACICAE is also looking
to set up a logistics platform for the car industry close to Vitoria airport. It might
have taken a while to get started, but the logistics sector is clearly now on the
move in the Basque region.

         Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 1 September 2004


Ending up: public redevelopment company to round off 377-million
investment programme

Bilbao Ría 2000, the public company set up to turn around urban decline in the
city of Bilbao and its metropolitan area, is expecting to complete an eleven-year,
377-million-euro programme of investments this year. The company’s Board of
Directors recently approved investments of 66.7 million euros for 2004, 3.5 per
cent up from last year, a figure that will set a new record for the public company.
Most of that amount, 49.14 million to be precise, will be spent in Bilbao, with
17.62 million being executed in the outlying town of Baracaldo
Sources at Bilbao Ría 2000 explained the increases in investment in the last
few years as a result of the “progress made in some of the company’s bigger
projects, many of which have now been completed.” Work on covering over
RENFE’s suburban rail station at San Mamés will be finished this year and the
peripheral district of la Peña will at last premier its new railway station.
Ría 2000 also expects to finish the second phase of the riverside park in
Abandoibarra this year.

                  Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 26 July 2004


They should cocoa: Valencia group buys Basque chocolate producer

Valencia group Natra, which produces and sells cocoa-based products, has
bought Basque firm Zahor for 55 million euros, in an operation involving a
straight sale and a share exchange. While Zahor shareholders will be taking a
15 per cent stake in Natra and 7.2 per cent of its biotechnology subsidiary
Natraceutical, Zahor representatives are expected to occupy two posts on the
Natra board of directors. Company chairman Ignacio Egaña said he was happy
with the operation and believed it made a major contribution “to consolidating
Zahor’s business strategy.” With a workforce of 600, the new company is
expected to bill something like 200 million euros, with EBITDA, or gross
operating profits, of 20 million.
Founded in 1937 in San Sebastián and located in Oñate since 1946,
Chocolates Zahor has 450 employees at its home base, and the merger will
mean that it can now deal with the entire chocolate and cocoa-related
production chain. Until now, Natra concentrated on buying the raw material,
processing it and making cocoa butter and paste, powdered chocolate and
chocolate coatings.
Zahor’s processes begin where Natra leaves off, making boxes of chocolates,
tablets and bars, and marketing its products under its own name or through the
major supermarket chain brand names.
One of the company’s current business targets is to more or less double the
present annual production levels over the next five years. Zahor is looking to
consolidate its second place in Europe in chocolate bar production and to boost
its entry into other markets.
The Natra Group, involved in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics
industries, has five business divisions: Natra Cacao, Natraceutical and Torre
Oria (wines and champagne-style cavas), with facilities in Quart de Poblet and
Torre Oria, and commercial offices in Equatorial Guinea and the Ivory Coast.
Zahor is now second in Europe in the chocolate bar sector (37 per cent market
share) and fifth in tablets, where it has an 11 per cent share. It is the leader in
Spain in chocolate tablets with a 50 per cent share of the market and chocolate
bars, where its share goes up to 60 per cent. It is also fourth as regards
chocolate selection boxes.
From 1997 to 2003, Zahor sales went from 39.2 million euros to 79.7, at annual
growth of 12 per cent.

               Summary of a news item published in Diario Vasco, 29 July 2004


Finally towering above you: three major partners sign agreement to build
controversial Abandoibarra tower

Abandoibarra tower is no longer just an unfulfilled dream. Spanish power
company Iberdrola and the Promotora Vizcaína property agency signed the
long-awaited agreement with city promotion company Bilbao Ría 2000 to
promote and construct a signature building to rival the neighbouring
Guggenheim Museum, together with two adjacent blocks of luxury flats.
The agreement guaranteeing the construction of Bilbao’s latest architectural
icon comes just a year and six days after the Vizcaya Provincial Council
announced it would not after all be occupying the new building. Originally known
as the Council tower, it will now be called the Iberdrola Tower.
All that remains now is for the three parties to present the pact to their
respective boards of directors and for it to get the green light from the Bilbao
City Council.
Once these steps have been taken, construction work should begin no later
than October next year and Abandoibarra should have its latest icon in 2008.
Sources close to the operation stated that, under the terms of the purchase
agreement, the electricity company and Promotora Vizcaína will share equally
the management of the total operational surface area, including the 50,000
square metres of the 150-metre high, 33-storey Iberdrola Tower and the
remaining 20,000 square metres of the two adjoining blocks of 200 or so luxury
flats.
Although Iberdrola will move its offices to the Tower’s higher storeys, the
company’s initial idea is to use just a quarter of the 25,000 square metres it is
entitled to in the building. That way Iberdrola could manage the remaining
space through its own property developer Apex, to allow other companies the
chance to move their offices into the building.
To date, Ría 2000 has received calls from a good many companies interested in
moving to the Abandoibarra tower and there is every chance that once the
agreement is more widely publicized, the number of potential clients will rocket.

                  Summary of a news item published in El Mundo, 30 July 2004


Wind in their sales: Basque regional government launches major wind
energy strategy

Wind farms are all set to become the leading feature of the Basque regional
government’s energy strategy to 2010, a development that will entail a review of
current planning in the sector. If everything goes to plan, the Basque Country
should eventually have 654 MW of installed capacity at wind farms as opposed
to the current figure of 85 MW. Most of that future capacity (500 MW) will be
concentrated on the eleven sites pre-selected two years ago, with the rest at
micro-farms distributed throughout the region.
Upping wind energy capacity also implies a major change in the regional
government’s original plan, according to which the Basque Country was to have
just six wind farms with 175 MW power.
Regional Industry minister Ana Aguirre stated yesterday that by 2010 her
Department expected 12 per cent of all energy consumed in the Basque
Country to come from renewable sources, and wind farms in particular, as
opposed to the current figure of 4 per cent. Renewable energy, said Aguirre, as
a whole represented “the future of technological development.”
Over the next six years, the promotion of wind energy would mean investments
of 510 million euros, of which Eólicas de Euskadi — owned half and half by
Spanish power company Iberdrola and Basque energy board EVE — has
already laid out 50 million on its facilities in Urkiola and Oiz, and will be
spending a further 46 million on the facility at Badana, the contract for which
was awarded recently. However, for the moment, the Basque regional
government has not called for tenders for any other site.
Aguirre inaugurated Vizcaya’s first ever wind farm, and the Basque Country’s
third, after Elguea and Urquilla, on Mt. Oiz recently. Oiz has thirty 850 kV wind
turbines and installed capacity of 25.5 MW, which will cover the equivalent of
the electricity consumption requirements of 65,000 people.

                 Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 22 July 2004


More truck with transport: new road haulage platform inaugurated at
Basque transport base
New Irún-based transport platform Zaisa inaugurated its third phase yesterday,
bringing to completion a project that has turned the logistics centre into the
biggest of its kind in the Basque region, measuring some 400,000 square
metres, and one of the most important in southern Europe.
Thanks to the new platform, Zaisa now has an extra 630 lorry parking places,
350 of which are private and 280 open for public hire, bringing the total to 1,700
in all. It also has five lots on offer to the major hauliers, 10,800 square metres of
warehouses and loading bays measuring 600 linear metres.
Providing a home for 14 new hauliers, this third module is basically a response
to growing demand from hauliers in and around the Bidasoa river on the
Spanish side of the Pyrenees. Zaisa now houses 150 companies from a sector
that accounts for more than 30 per cent of the area’s GDP
Initial estimates suggest that this latest expansion will generate 600 new jobs
directly and induce a further 200 jobs as Zaisa’s new phase gets into its stride.
Twenty-two of the 230 million euros invested came from the organizations,
which will shortly be moving in to the industrial estate. The rest of the
investment was put up by the Zaisa management company, whose majority
shareholders are the Basque regional government, the Guipúzcoa provincial
council and the Irún town council.

                Summary of a news item published in Diario Vasco, 16 July 2004



Completely phased: distribution group to develop 50,000-square-metre
site in Alava

Through its subsidiary Gran Europa Norte, the Gran Europa group has bought a
50,000-square-metre site in Amurrio, Alava, where it plans to set up a three-
phase 6-million-euro intermodal distribution centre. Phase one involves
rehabilitating a 13,524-square-metre warehouse previously used for storing and
handling iron and steel products; the revamped facility is expected to be up and
running by the end of the year. Gran Europa is currently negotiating the
management of the facility, which may finally be divided into two parts, with
several logistics operators. The warehouse, with inner clearance of 11 metres,
will have 30 loading bays with one 30-ton crane, one 25-ton crane and five
cranes of 5 tons each, plus two weighbridges, one weighing 60 tons. The
warehouse also has a direct double-track rail access, plus a large-capacity
siding. Phases two and three will involve the construction of two pavilions
measuring 8,000 and 4,000 square metres respectively, to be offered to
industry.

               Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 1 June 2004




Press to pay: Basque business launches pioneer recycling plan
Alava-based recycling company Zabor Recycling, part of the Reydesa group,
has launched a 15-million-euro investment programme at the Gojain industrial
estate. The group’s objective is to become a world pioneer in a groundbreaking
new activity designed to capitalize on inert automotive waste materials.
Fellow Reydesa group member Inatec, an R&D foundation, has cooperated with
a German firm on the creation of a system for compacting such waste into
panels for use in soundproofing, street furnishings, floors and walls. With the
new plant, the Reydesa group, which is to supply waste from its other
businesses, Reydesa, Deydesa 2000 and Ander, will raise its automotive
recovery technology capacity to 95 per cent, anticipating the objectives fixed by
the EU authorities by more than a decade. The Basque group is also set on
taking the new panel production business abroad. Several factories are planned
for the mid-term.
Management at Zabor Recycling expect the new business to be up and running
by the end of this year. At the moment, construction work is currently under way
to plans by local architect Cástor Gárate. The company will move into its home
on a 10,000-square-metre site at the industrial estate, where the German firm
that helped to develop the system is to supply the production lines and
equipment. The R&D+i work took more than 30 months and, to begin with, the
installation will be capable of processing between 20,000 and 40,000 tons/year
of inert waste, depending on shift organization and the range of panels
compacted.

             Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 June 2004



The big issue: Basque hypermarket chain drums up financing for major
new investments

Although it is not going to neglect its other lines of business, Basque food chain
and distribution group Eroski is clearly planning to put a lot more money into its
hypermarkets. Most of the 2,000 million euros the company is to invest in the
2005-2008 period is earmarked for hypermarkets and department stores, “which
is the most investment-intensive of our business lines”, according to Eroski’s
latest communiqué to Spain’s investment and securities board, the CNMV. The
communiqué, filed with the CNMV to mark the enlargement of an issue of
subordinate financial contributions, also records the firm’s intention of further
extending its network of supermarkets and self-services throughout Spain.
Management sources at Eroski reckon that 60 per cent of the financing for the
2,000 million will come from sales. The rest will be structured around an
increase in financial debt similar to the increase in equity, for which new issues
of Eroski financial contributions have not yet been ruled out. Just three days
ago, the firm announced the increase of this issue to its maximum of 200 million
euros, 75 million more than originally planned.
These resources will be used to support growth this year, which involves plans
to invest 500 million on opening 130 new establishments including
hypermarkets, supermarkets, travel agencies, petrol stations, leisure shops and
perfumeries.
Last year Eroski billed 5,203 million euros with a workforce of 28,000 personas.
Net profits amounted to 83.5 million.

                  Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 13 July 2004


Cash at sauce: Unilever to invest two million at Basque factory

Unilever is to invest two million euros this year at its Agra factory in Lejona, just
outside Bilbao, where it produced 55,000 tons of oil products, 51,000 tons of
margarine and 40,000 tons of mayonnaise and tomato ketchup in 2003.
The Anglo-Dutch multinational’s manufacturing plan for its Lejona facility
includes maintaining margarine production levels and increasing mayonnaise
and sauce output.
With a workforce of 400, Unilever’s Basque subsidiary is the leading name in
Spain’s margarine industry, with an 84 per cent share of the market, in the
mayonnaise market, with 49 per cent of the demand, and sauces, with around
20 per cent of the business, through its Flora, Tulipán, Artua, Ligeresa,
Hellmann’s and Calvé brand names.
In 2003, Unilever España clocked up operating income of 69.8 million euros, up
1.6 per cent over the previous year. Billing came to 964.68 million euros in
2003, down 5.8 per cent, largely through the sale of the Nocilla and Mesura
brand names to the Nutrexpa group.
These disinvestments form part of the company’s plan to sell non-strategic
brand names and concentrate only on the leadership brands. Sources at the
company declared yesterday that “our leading brands now account for 94 per
cent of our sales in Spain and the related billing was up 4.7 per cent, well above
the 2.5 per cent they registered at world level.”

                       Summary of a news item published in Gara, 30 June 2004


At their bidding: Spanish power company to invest 413 million on new
combined cycle facility in Mexico

Spanish power company Iberdrola goes from strength to strength in Mexico,
where it has successfully consolidated its position as the country’s leading
private producer of electricity. The firm has just made the successful bid for a
contract to build, operate and maintain a new 1,135 MW combined cycle facility
in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, at an investment for Iberdrola of 500
million dollars, the equivalent of 413 million euros. Construction work on the
new station is scheduled to begin next January.
Under the terms of the contract, all the electricity generated at the new plant for
the first 25 years of its existence will be sold to the country’s Federal Electricity
Commission, which will in turn supply the plant with the gas it needs to operate.
This is the biggest energy project to date in Mexico tendered to independent
electricity producers. Last year, Iberdrola also bid successfully for the second
largest such contract, involving the construction of a facility in which the power
company is set to invest 446 million euros.
In view of the recent successes, the Spanish power group is set to continue and
increase its involvement in the Mexican market as one of its strategic lines of
foreign business. Iberdrola invested 50 million euros in the first quarter of 2004
in Mexico, where it now has generation projects totalling 5,000 MW.

                    Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 2 July 2004

Five-year plan that works: Basque public company to spend 594 million
euros on new industrial estates to 2008

Over the next five years, Basque Government-backed public industrial land
promotion company Sprilur is to deploy a major plan to build 49 new industrial
estates in the Basque region. Covering more than 2.2 million square metres in
all, the estates will require a total investment to 2008 of 593.7 million euros.
This doubles the money allocated for industrial land over the last five years.
Between 1999 and 2003, just over 289 million euros of public money were
invested in industrial infrastructures.
Clearly the new estates will be something of a tonic for employment levels. If
Sprilur’s own calculations of one new job for every 75 square metres are
accurate, businesses housed on the estates should provide work for more than
29,000 people. Although many of the jobs will be new, the rest will of course
involve transfers from other places.
Led by director general Antón Zubiaurre, Sprilur works with two kinds of
industrial estate. The first kind involves estates where Sprilur owns 100 per cent
of the capital. The others are included in the now classic group of industrialdeak
estates, where, although Sprilur holds a majority of the capital, provincial and
town councils also put up much of the money.
Between 2004 and 2008 some 338.9 million euros will be spent on building 24
new all-Sprilur-capital estates, eight in Vizcaya, thirteen in Guipúzcoa and three
in Álava, covering 1.3 million square metres and housing 17,712 workers.
Also in the pipeline are twenty-five new industrialdeak, with 11,361 jobs
forecast, 17 in Guipúzcoa, 6 in Vizcaya and two in Álava, at a cost of 254.8
million euros.

                  Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 27 June 2004


Laying down tracks: 6,000 million euros for new transport infrastructures
in Basque Country

If everything goes according to plan, the first decade of the 21st century will see
the biggest wave of investment in public infrastructures the Basque Country has
ever seen.
Apart from a series of projects already under way or nearing conclusion, some
genuinely spectacular schemes are planned up to the year 2010, involving
investments worth almost 6,000 million euros. These include the HVT rail line,
known locally as the Basque Y, the Eibar-Vitoria motorway and the new super
ring road planned to the south of Bilbao. Over the last four years more than 500
million euros have been invested in new accesses to Bilbao, the new airport
terminal and runway at Lujua and extra lanes on the N-1 trunk road as it cuts
through the Echegarate pass.
The early years of the new century have seen the completion of several new
fast access roads into Bilbao, particularly the Archanda tunnels and the east
alternative approach road, at a cost of around 166 million euros. A major 96-
million-euro relief road now runs through the area known as the Txorierri,
providing a 35-kilometre ring road shifting heavy traffic quickly around the
outskirts of Bilbao.
But Vizcaya is already promoting the construction of more access and approach
roads for the provincial capital, still plagued by serious traffic congestion. The
Vizcaya Provincial Council recently went back to an old project from the early
1990s involving a new ring road running parallel to the A-8 motorway. Known as
the Supersur, or Supersouth, the new road is budgeted at 1,120 million euros
for just 36 kilometres. The first phase, scheduled for completion in 2010, is
expected to cost around 545 million.
Work has already begun on another major motorway, which has a budget of
600 million euros, designed to link Eibar with Vitoria to the south in the province
of Alava, from 2008 on.
Although these projects are vitally important, the real star is the Basque Y, a
3,000-million-euro HVT rail project designed to link the region’s three provincial
capitals.
By 2007, another long-term public scheme should be nearing completion,
namely the Greater Bilbao Integral Water Purification Plan, launched 21 years
ago and expected eventually to cost 775 million. To date investments of nearly
500 million have been made, benefiting upwards of 900,000 inhabitants in the
city’s metropolitan area. Thanks to the plan, the city’s wastewater is no longer
tipped directly into the river Nervión.
In neighbouring Guipúzcoa, the major projects concentrate on building new
roads and improving existing ones.
Traffic on the A-8 motorway reached saturation point some years ago, causing
serious concern in the Highways Department. The Guipúzcoa Provincial
Council decided some time ago that the best way to improve matters was to
take the problem phase by phase. One objective is for the motorway linking Irún
and Ermua to have three lanes each way, although work is not expected to
finish until 2012. In the meantime, San Sebastián will get its second major ring
road, a six-lane motorway running around the outskirts of the city, leaving the
present stretch of the A-8 motorway between Lasarte and Oyarzun as little
more than a local road. According to the Provincial Council’s plans, the new
223-million-euro ring road should be completed in 2007.
Last March the foundation stone was laid for the new Hernani-Martutene dual
carriageway, planned to run into the Urumea relief road and link Andoain with
San Sebastián. The new road is expected to absorb 33,000 vehicles that
currently circulate on the overworked N-I trunk road. At a cost of 65 million, the
new road should be inaugurated in 2006.
This leaves the approach road into San Sebastián and, on the opposite side of
the city, work designed to double the number of lanes on the Andoain-Hernani
road as it passes Urnieta, initiatives that bring the total cost of the road to 218
million.
In Alava, to the south, besides the new section of the A-1 motorway, the main
infrastructure for the current decade involves the stretch of road called the
Legua del Rey, part of the N-I trunk road as it crosses Treviño. An investment of
60 million is required for 6.5 kilometres, 48 million of which are to be put up by
the Spanish Ministry of Development & Promotion. The third major project
includes another stretch of the N-I, this time between Armiñón and Miranda, at a
cost of 30 million. Work is expected to begin this year.

                    Summary of a news item published in El País, 27 June 2004


Prospects bright at the glass house: Guardian to open new 12-million-
euro line in 2005

As part of the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of US multinational
Guardian’s arrival in Spain, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía visited the
company’s Basque HQ in Llodio yesterday.
Successor to the old Villosa plant, Guardian Llodio would never have survived
without the multinational’s arrival as owner in the early 1980s. The Guardian
group converted Villosa’s well nigh obsolete facilities into a modern float plate
glass production complex, eventually acquiring the firm outright a few years
later. From 1984 to the present day, the multinational has invested more than
110 million euros in Llodio. Next year, Guardian is to inject a further 12 million
euros at the factory to launch a new windscreen cutting line and a curved
crystal furnace.

                 Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 22 June 2004



A lot more bottle: Spanish producer glassmaker to invest 25 million in
Basque Country and new Portuguese subsidiary

At the end of the firm’s recent AGM, Vidrala chairman Carlos Delclaux
announced that the bottle-maker, closely connected to Spanish banking giant
BBVA, planned to invest 25 million euros this year on improvements to its
production plant in Llodio and on its new Portuguese subsidiary Ricardo Gallo.
Much of the money, nearly fifteen million euros in fact, will be spent on repairing
and modernizing the number three furnace at Llodio, which should increase its
production capacity by 10 per cent. The other ten million are to be spent on
building a central warehouse for Ricardo Gallo at Marinha Grande in Portugal
as a replacement for five pavilions the company has scattered throughout the
peninsula. To this end, Vidrala recently bought a 150,000-square-metre site
adjacent to the Portuguese factory. When finished, the warehouse will
eventually take up a third of the land, with the rest available for future
extensions.
After acquiring Gallo, Vidrala, which already had plants in Llodio and Albacete,
achieved a 20 per cent share of the Spanish and Portuguese market and upped
production to 600,000 tons.
Last year, with only the fourth quarter of Gallo’s business results being
consolidated, the group billed 146.9 million euros, up 17.56 per cent, and
clocked up consolidated net profits of 17.78 million, up 14.62 per cent.

                 Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 23 June 2004
Train time: Basque rolling stock manufacturer wins biggest ever contract

Basque rolling stock producer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, better
known perhaps as CAF, won its biggest-ever Metro coach order in Europe and
the second largest anywhere in the world, after the order it fulfilled for the city of
New York back in 1992. The Guipúzcoa-based firm is leading a consortium of
rolling stock manufacturers, with Canadian concern Bombardier and German
counterpart Siemens, which yesterday announced its successful bid for a 645.8-
million-euro contract to produce 446 coaches for Madrid’s underground Metro
railway. More than 80 per cent of the amount involved corresponds to supplies
for which CAF is directly responsible.
Signed in Madrid, the contract is undoubtedly the most important in the
company’s history. The 645 million euros comfortably exceed the contracts
signed in February when CAF made the successful bid, with Alstom, for the
construction of 75 HVT trains for 580 and 350 million euros respectively.
Together, the three contracts also exceed CAF’s total turnover for the whole of
2003, in itself a highly significant development.
With more than del 65 per cent of the total 1,037-million contract, it is certainly
true that the lion’s share of the contract went to the CAF-Bombardier-Siemens
consortium. The rest of the contract went to Ansaldo Breda, subsidiary of Italian
company Finmeccanica, with contracts worth 392 million.
CAF will take charge of the integral design and manufacture of the trains, with
Bombardier and Siemens looking after the electric power equipment.

               Summary of a news item published in Diario Vasco, 24 June 2004


Getting the treatment: Basque-based steel firm to invest 6 million on
renewing production lines

Steel firm Fundiciones del Estanda is all set to launch a 6-million-euro
investment plan to 2006 to enlarge and modernize virtually all its production
areas. To round off the plan, sand recovery systems will be renewed, new heat
treatments introduced, improvements made to safety systems, health in the
work place and environment issues, storage and logistics and investments
made in R&D+i.
Fundiciones del Estanda specializes in casting high impact and wear-and-tear
resistance steel parts, of which 70 per cent go to the cement industry. Based in
Beasain, Guipúzcoa, the firm billed 30 million euros in 2003 and currently
exports 80 per cent of its production. It is currently producing retarders (electric
brakes) for industrial vehicles and high performance brakes for high velocity
trains. Estanda received the European Environmental Award in both the Basque
and Spanish sections for its chrome separation and thermal chemically linked
casting sand recovery systems.

     Summary of a news item published in Estrategia Empresarial, 31 May 2004


Moving the earth for you: work set to begin on new innovation centre
Building firm Galdeano has its excavators all ready to move onto a five-
hundred-thousand-square-metre site in the town of Mondragón and start shifting
the earth to begin the first phase of service installation for the future Garaia
technology and science innovation pole. Launched in 2000, the initiative is led
by the MCC cooperative and has support from the regional government,
Guipúzcoa Provincial Council and the Mondragón town council.
“This is a long-term project,” says Garaia managing director Andoni Garcia. “In
ten years we want to have 1,300 people working here, although it might take us
anything up to fifteen years to develop the thing completely. Technology centres
don’t just spring up overnight.”
Later this month Garaia’s board of directors plans to approve the specifications
for the eight-million-euro call for tenders for the first building in the technological
complex, to be awarded in September. In the first few years, the eleven-
thousand-square-metre building will be put to a number of uses, including
housing laboratories and several infant research institutes.
In all, Garaia will require an investment of 46.3 million euros, including 28.8
million for land, compensation and site layout work and 17.5 million for the
actual buildings.
Shareholders in the project have put up twenty million euros, which they paid in
when the Garaia promotion company was brought into being.
Apart from these funds, management at the innovation pole are confident of
getting the resources needed for self-financing. According to Garcia, they will be
raising cash for the remaining investments from the sale of lots and the hire of
units in the buildings.
“We are looking to attract technology centres and innovation units from non-
MCC group companies,” says Garcia. “The cooperative group is committed to
concentrating its R&D units at Garaia.” Not only that, research initiatives Ikerlan
and MU are currently working hand in hand with the cooperative group on
promoting the new pole.

                   Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 8 June 2004


Integration is all: Vodafone to invest 180 million in UMTS network in
Basque Country and Navarra

British multinational Vodafone is to invest 190 million euros over the next five
years in the Basque Country and the neighbouring region of Navarra to deploy
its multimedia third-generation UMTS mobile telephone network, for all towns
and cities in the two areas with populations above 10,000.
Vodafone thus announced its intention to compete in the race to market UMTS
services in Spain with nationwide company Telefónica, after the latter’s third-
generation service launch last month. Amena, Basque operator Euskaltel’s
mobile telephone ally, plans to start operating with this technology in October.
The firm led by José Manuel Entrecanales is offering Samsung and Sony
Ericsson terminals at 600 and 500 euros respectively. Among other things, the
equipment enables high velocity music and video downloads, besides the
inevitable broadband Net surfing capability. UMTS technology is forty times
faster than GPRS.
A company executive referred to these developments during the presentation of
the data network mobile service offer for businesses consequent on the recent
Vodafone-Jazztel alliance. Speaking at its presentation to 70 member
companies of Basque regional telecom cluster GAIA, Jazztel business client
manager Pablo Arroyo described the service, to be called Jazztel connected by
Vodafone, as offering “an integrated solution for business customers.”

                  Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 4 June 2004


On the white line: Basque haulier opens new base in Vitoria to provide
support for a section of local cooperative

Freight haulier Transportes Azkar is to build a new logistics base in Vitoria this
year, to be used largely to fulfil the conditions of a contract for the storage and
distribution of Fagor’s small white line goods division. Azkar recently acquired a
45,000-square-metre lot to the south of the city’s Júndiz industrial estate as a
site for the warehouse. Land and building are expected to cost something over
six million euros.
Under the terms of the contract, Azkar will be responsible for storing and
distributing Fagor’s smaller household appliances. The cooperative group
already has a warehouse in Vitoria managing the dispatch of its larger white line
goods (mostly fridges and cookers) in Spain, Portugal and part of France.

                  Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 23 May 2004


Ready to float and quote: Basque telecom operator ends year with net
profits of fifteen million

Company chairman (and ex-regional president) José Antonio Ardanza
announced yesterday that Basque telecom operator Euskaltel, which in 2003
generated its first profits (250,000 euros) after six years, forecasts a net result
of fifteen million for the end of the present year. Ardanza expects the firm to
maintain the pace in 2005 and 2006, when profits of 30 million and 45 million
are targeted.
Speaking at an event organised by Bilbao’s prestigious Club Financiero to mark
its fifteenth anniversary, Ardanza said the results would be made possible by
the deployment of the company’s 1,200-million-euro optical fibre network, which
should be completed in 2007. Once finished, the optical fibre service will reach
85 per cent of people living in the Basque region. Running its own network
would enable the operator to achieve a substantial increase in earnings by
being able to offer more services like Internet and TV without having to pay
regular tolls to Spanish national operator Telefónica.
Ardanza went on to say that, with the business consolidated this year, the
company would be “ready for stock market flotation” in 2005, providing of
course the partners in the firm agreed.

                 Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 19 May 2004
** On a roll: Basque special steels firm to invest 25 million in its cylinder
business

Iron and steel concern Sidenor is set to invest nearly 25 million euros on
enlarging its facilities in Reinosa, in the province of Cantabria, with a view to
doubling current production levels of rolling mill cylinders to 10,000 tons a year.
Management at the special steels group explained their plans to members of
Cantabria’s regional government in a bid to win support for a project to increase
production that should entail 25 direct new jobs.
Sidenor is a world leader in the production of rolling cylinders, thanks to its
Cantabria facility and the plant belonging to Brazilian subsidiary Aços Villares,
where the company is about to launch an ambitious 30-million-euro investment
plan.
The Reinosa plant produces 30,000 tons a year of a large range of forged and
cast steel parts, most of them weighing between 65 tons and 110 tons, for the
shipbuilding, electricity, cement, steel and capital goods manufacturing
industries. Parts include shafts for diesel engines, shafts for hydroelectric
turbines, wind turbines, cylinders, cogwheels, and frames and casings for
presses and turbine casings. The plant also produces 80,000 tons of rolled bars
and 40,000 tons of forged bars.
In 2003, the holding company’s registered sales of 929 million euros, with net
profits of 34 million.

                 Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 19 May 2004


** Playing their cards right: US group to buy Vitoria card makers

American multinational US Playing Card Corporation (USPCC), which has
controlled 90 per cent of the capital of Vitoria-based Naipes Heraclio Fournier
playing card company since 1986, recently signed an agreement with fellow US
group Jarden Company to hand over its entire card pack production activity.
Valued at 232 million dollars (193 million euros), the sale includes USPCC
factories in Ohio in the US and Ontario in Canada. Company sources reckon
the sale of the Basque factory works out at around 10 per cent of that amount.
The operation involves a purchase option that Jarden plans to execute before
July. Jarden clocked up turnover of nearly 600 million euros last year.
One of the reasons behind Jarden Co’s interest in acquiring the USPCC
consortium is the chance of using the Fournier card sales network to introduce
its products in Europe.
USPCC management describe their integration in Jarden Co’s business set-up
as an opportunity to broaden and diversify its game and leisure product range.
Fournier’s Gojain factory employs 159 workers and last year sold 17 million
euros’ worth of product, generating profits of 1.27 million.

                  Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 19 May 2004


** Liver and let live: new biotech liver disease research firm sets up shop
at Basque technology park
Biotechnology firm One Way Liber (OWL) Genomics inaugurated its new offices
and laboratory at the Vizcaya technology park near Bilbao yesterday. The
premises are in the park’s CIC Biogune building, created as part of the Basque
regional government’s recently launched Biobask 2010 plan, designed to
promote the bioscience industry in the Basque Country.
Concentrating on research into the diagnosis and prevention of liver disease,
OWL Genomics has invested five million euros to date on project development.
The company currently has five research workers, which it is expecting to
increase to ten in the near future. OWL bases its research on work done over a
period of nearly twenty years by Dr. José María Mato, which has led to major
results in the liver complaint known as Nash’s disease, an illness largely
affecting obese people and diabetics.

                 Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 21 May 2004


Survive, then thrive: Basque pharmaceutical firm invests in own R&D
capability

In 2002, Faes Farma, which produces and markets pharmaceuticals for the
Spanish and Portuguese markets, launched a two-year 45-million-euro
investment plan for R&D projects. Under the second phase of the plan, the firm
assigned 15 million to investments last year, 9 per cent up on 2002. For 2004,
Faes plans to invest 17.4 million, an increase of 16 per cent.
These figures make clear just how much the company, based in Lejona, near
Bilbao, is banking on its own research capability in its bid to survive and thrive
in a market dominated by the major pharmaceutical multinationals.
Apart from researching its own products, the Basque laboratory also works with
other firms on a range of projects.
Faes invested nearly 29 million euros in 2003 on acquiring medicines, its other
line of business.
Company turnover in 2003 totalled 173.34 million euros, 14.15 per cent up on
2002. Some 129.2 million of that amount came from sales in Spain, with the
Portuguese market accounting for 35.5 million. The rest, 9.3 million, came from
exports.

Summary of a news item published in Estrategia Empresarial, 15 April 2004


Maintaining the new order: Basque technology centre to take part in major
European aerospace project

On 11 and 12 March, the headquarters of aerospace firm Smiths Aerospace at
Cheltenham in the UK hosted the introductory meeting for TATEM, an
integrated European project concerning technologies and techniques for a new
concept of aircraft maintenance.
TATEM is the European aerospace industry’s most ambitious move in its bid to
increase the competitiveness of its product range, largely via a substantial
reduction in maintenance costs, a key competitive feature in the battle with the
major US aerospace corporations for new orders.
To be developed over the next four years, the project brings together the
continent’s main aerospace manufacturers: EADS, Airbus, Eurocopter, Alenia,
Hispano Suiza, Thales Avionics, Avitronics and Hispano-Suizo, with Smiths
Aerospace acting as coordinator. Joining Tekniker on the project is fellow
Spanish aerospace concern Gamesa Aeronáutica.
Suggested improvements in maintenance processes to be researched include
continuous monitoring of the condition of all aircraft equipment, the introduction
of free maintenance, self-inspection with a self-diagnosis and prognosis
capability and a powerful process data support for maintenance workers.
But TATEM is also a big project on the figures side, involving 60 organisations
from all over Europe, a 40-million-plus budget and a 21-million-euro subsidy
from the European Union. Together with the INID centre’s international initiative,
the project puts Tekniker into the technological centre of things, making it a fully
accepted provider and a technological benchmark for aircraft maintenance in
Europe. Tekniker can already boast an impressive list of previous jobs,
including the work done on the Tess, Minicon and Sensoil projects and the
Esrada network.

    Summary of a news item published in Estrategia Empresarial, 15 May 2004


Life in the fast lane: Alava begins works on new 120-million-euro section
of motorway

The countdown has begun for the Alava stretch of the new Vitoria-Eibar
motorway. After the laying of the first stone in Betolaza, works are expected to
last more than three years. According to the commitment accepted by the
Guipúzcoa and Alava provincial councils, and ratified by chief executives Jose
Juan González de Chavarri and Ramón Rabanera, the motorway is scheduled
to come into service in late 2007. At the laying ceremony, both talked in fulsome
terms of the “undoubted” benefits the new motorway would bring to the two
provinces.
Expectations are based on the fact that the motorway will provide a sort of
backbone connecting northern Europe with all points south of the Pyrenees,
which should bring “major economic benefits” to the Deva valley and the Alava
plains districts, through which it will run.
At 46.2 kilometres long, (31.7 in Guipúzcoa and 14.5 in Alava) the AP-1 will be
compliant with the most demanding quality standards for road infrastructures,
making it the “best road in de Europe”, according to its promoters. With a top
speed of 120 kph, the motorway will also have the Basque Country’s longest
tunnel, 3.5 kilometres, 1.2 of which will be in Alava and 2.3 in Guipúzcoa.
So although in Guipúzcoa several stretches of the motorway are in the works
phase and one, running between Eibar and Vergara, is already in use, Alava
has just begun to execute the first part of its share of the project, involving the
section closest to Guipúzcoa, between Luko and the provincial border.
Investment on this 7.5-kilometre long section amounts to 75.3 million euros. The
motorway in Alava is expected to cost 120 million altogether.
                   Summary of a news item published in El Mundo, 13 May 2004


Pole vault: Kanter confirms its leap into aerospace industry with 2.5-
million investment plan

Together with five other medium-sized French aerospace machining
companies, Mecanizados Kanter recently created an aerospace engineering
subsidiary called Mekadis. Located in Rentería, the new firm will have a team of
15 engineers and plans to become a technology pole that will enable its owners
to tackle much larger projects. The six-member group has 500 workers in all,
although Kanter is the smallest, with just 30 employees. To begin with, Mekadis
is to take part in developing parts for the A380 aircraft, work contracted out by
France.
The operation is part of a strategic plan designed two years ago by Kanter that
involved giving up its traditional machine-tool and special machine production
activity, begun 45 years before when it was set up, to move into the aerospace
industry. To get into the new market, Kanter has acquired new technology,
trained its staff and invested in the tools and machinery required.
With several 15- and 20-year contracts with French and Spanish companies
under its belt, the firm embarked on a new 2.5-million investment plan for 2004-
2005. Part of the outlay will be used to buy high-velocity cutting machinery and
5-axle machining centres. In the second phase, the firm will use 1.5 million on
purchasing the land for its new production plant.
Kanter is currently working on engine casings for French concern Protag, parts
for the inner tube of a Rolls Royce engine for ITP and Eurofighter wing
disassembly and the A420 and A430 programmes for Fibertecnic.

              Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 April 2004


Taking the strain out of the train: Iraq architect to build central rail
company offices in Durango

Railway service Euskotren’s new headquarters in Durango is to be designed by
Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, named by the jury judging the proposals presented
by five different studios. The winning project will facilitate an ambitious plan for
regenerating the town, as well as adapting the image of the rail company, which
belongs to the Basque regional government’s Transport & Public Works
Department, to expected future requirements and demands. Hadid’s proposal
includes a signature building for the company’s central offices, which aspires,
rather like the Guggenheim in Bilbao, to become an icon identifying the town of
Durango.
But the 150-million-euro project, scheduled for completion in late 2008 after an
execution period of 60 months, is not limited to the design of the company’s
new HQ.
Euskotren’s new offices will be surrounded by a leisure and shopping area, an
underground station and an adjoining local development, including a park
provided for under the town’s remodelling plan. The jury’s decision gives a
major boost to a plan drafted in response to what Durango’s inhabitants have
repeatedly said they want, which is the recovery of land currently used by the
railway—there are currently 30 level crossings in the town—to improve living
standards there and the modernisation of the town’s train service.

                         Summary of a news item published in Deia, 6 May 2004


At their BEC: Bilbao Exhibition Centre inaugurated as “showcase for
economic promotion”

Yesterday saw the inauguration of the new Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC) on
the site of the old Altos Hornos de Vizcaya steel mill in Ansio, Baracaldo. One
hundred and fifty thousand square metres of the new 251,000 square-metre
facility will be used for exhibition and display purposes. Despite their size, none
of the six huge pavilions has columns, thus freeing up even more space.
At an investment of more than 420 million euros, BEC is one of the
technologically most advanced, modern and innovative facilities in the
international trade fair market. Given its size and the array of cutting-edge
features, the macro-centre is clearly destined to be the Basque economy’s
major trading showcase in the years to come.
Size is really the key to the whole thing. The backbone of BEC is 564 metres
long and 40 metres wide. Six pavilions run along either side, four of which have
15,000 square metres each, another has 21,000 square metres and the largest,
called Arena, 27,000 square metres.
Designed to house sporting, cultural and social events, Arena can seat up to
20,000 people. Terracing for between 10,000 and 12,000 can be assembled for
sporting events.
Speaking during the inauguration, Vizcaya Provincial Council chief executive
José Luis Bilbao reminded attendees of the major industrial transformation in
Vizcaya in recent decades. “The Guggenheim Museum stands on the site of an
old saw mill. A new, highly successful conference and performing arts centre,
recently voted one of the best in the world, has taken the place of the old
Euskalduna shipyards. And on the site of the old AHV steel mill, here in Ansio,
we now have Europe’s finest new exhibition centre.”
Bilbao also spared a thought for companies in crisis on the left bank like
Babcock or La Naval shipyard, for which “we all need to show our concern.”
Baracaldo mayor Tonchu Rodríguez drew attention to the business
developments in the town and described the Bilbao Exhibition Centre’s
contribution to Baracaldo in terms of “prestige and new business opportunities”
for the zone.

                       Summary of a news item published in Gara, 20 April 2004


Labs for the boys: new leading edge telecom engineering research centre
opens at Basque technology park

Tecnum, the University of Navarra’s engineering school, has joined forces with
research centre CEIT to create a new telecom engineering research centre at
the Miramón technology park near San Sebastián. Around one hundred
research workers and 200 students doing teaching practice will be the first to
use the facility’s cutting-edge laboratories.
Located close to the entrance to the technology park, the research centre has
been designed by architect Pachi Mangado. Besides bathing the 5,500-square-
metre centre in swathes of natural light, Mangado has also managed to make it
extraordinarily functional in nature.
CEIT Electronics & Communications Department manager Andrés García
Alonso described the new Tecnum centre as having six laboratories for
students to gain practice in complex areas such as radio-communications, office
information processes and digital signal and optical communications.
International experts involved in the assessment of laboratory design describe
the lab equipment as leading-edge “whichever way you look at it” and
“absolutely world-class” in the case of the radio-communications laboratory.
Labs for teaching practice are similar to the ones CEIT researchers use and are
distributed in areas on each floor. Communications systems, genomics,
microsystems and optoelectronics, office information, power electronics,
artificial vision and radiofrequency laboratories are available to scientists
working at the centre.
Researchers at CEIT are currently involved in international projects such as the
creation of receptors for the European GPS Galileo system, digital radio, the
Garban programme, focused on the detection of genetic anomalies and cancer,
and UMTS amplifiers.
One of the major infrastructures at the centre, when it is finally built, will be the
rectangular, eight-metre-high, 200-square-metre white room, which will be used
for photolithography, much employed in the production of microchips and
microvalves.

               Summary of a news item published in Diario Vasco, 23 April 2004


First light: Basque power provider to install cogeneration plants at three
factories

Energy services provider Millennium Energy, a member of the Naturcorp group,
has signed a supply contract with Madrid-based Bunge group subsidiary
Moyresa Molturación y Refino to build and run cogeneration plants at three
factories the firm has at the ports of Bilbao and Barcelona. The twenty-million-
euro project will enable global energy savings of six million at the three factories
by reducing electricity and gas costs. The new installations represent
cogeneration power equivalent to half the 2003 levels in Spain as a whole.
Founded in 2001, Millennium Energy specialises in managing power facilities
and takes responsibility for the whole process from design to construction,
maintenance and project finance.
Spanish power company Hidrocantábrico is the company’s main shareholder.
Other shareholders include engineering firm Iberese, responsible for turnkey
project execution and the Ingelectric group, which supplies the electrical, control
and Indar alternator equipment.
Millennium Energy recently formed a temporary business union with the newly
inaugurated Bilbao Exhibition Centre and EVE, the Basque Energy Board, to
build and run Spain’s biggest photovoltaic solar energy plant, at an investment
of nearly 19 million euros, and which will cover the entire roof of the new
Baracaldo-based exhibition centre.

                 Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 23 April 2004


Chips with everything: Basque biotechnology firm to invest 4 million
euros on new R&D projects

Basque biotechnology firm Progenika Biopharma (formerly Medplant Genetics)
has announced the launch of a new 4-million-euro investment plan for the 2004-
2005 period. The plan is designed to stimulate new R&D projects involving new
diagnosis chips and drugs to fight cancer and neurological disease. The money
is to be spent largely on acquiring laboratory equipment and perishable goods.
To carry out this work, Progenika Biopharma will be increasing its workforce by
more than 50 per cent in a year. Last year’s 23-strong workforce has already
grown to 40 this year.
Founded at the Baracaldo industrial estate in 2000, Progenika Biopharma has
plans to enlarge its head offices at the Zamudio technology park, which it
moved to last year.
Basically what the company does is develop new drugs and new clinical
diagnosis methods involving, among other things, genomics and DNA chips. In
two years, the company launched on the market a family hypercholesterolemia
chip and a rat genome DNA chip for use in toxic-genome research.
Last year, the firm took advantage of the inauguration of its facility at the
Zamudio technology park to move its Catalonian subsidiary Proteomika to the
new HQ. After registering billing of 2 million euros last year, sales for the current
year are expected to exceed 3 million euros. Thirty per cent of these sales are
made abroad, mainly to pharmaceutical firms and hospitals in the US, France
and the UK.

             Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 March 2004


Thoroughly modern milling: Basque firm invests 8.5 million on new
machine-tool assembly facility

Machine-tool producer Maquinaria CME has started work on a new assembly
plant on 20,000 square metres of land the business owns in Iciar-Deva
(Guipúzcoa). CME plans to invest 8.5 million euros on building and fitting out an
8,000-square-metre production facility to house its machines from April 2005.
The decision to move its assembly work is the firm’s response to a growing
increase in its portfolio of orders for larger, more complicated machines.
CME makes 40 different models of bed-type and upright travel CNC milling
machines, plus gantries, for customers in the automotive, aerospace, nuclear
and wind farm industries. In 2004 the firm plans to make a major effort to
present its technological innovations through its direct attendance at 14 trade
fairs in the industry. The firm will be presenting a new high-speed milling
machine with interchangeable and continuous milling heads at the next edition
of the BIEMH machine tool fair, at a 350-square-metre stand.
In 2003, CME billed 21.5 million euros and, despite the current situation in the
machine tool industry, expects to maintain sales’ levels in 2004 and make a
profit. CME exports 70 per cent of its production to the EU, Eastern Europe, the
US and South America.

    Summary of a news item published in Estrategia Empresarial, 15 April 2004


Go forth and multiply: Basque group continues foreign expansion policy
with German acquisition

Vizcaya-based group Ormazabal, one of Europe’s leading producers of medium
voltage electricity distribution equipment, announced an agreement with
German firm Moeller to acquire its subsidiary Moeller Anlagentechnick GmbH.
Working in the same areas as its new owner, the German firm, currently
employing 400 people at five factories in Germany and two in China, registered
turnover of 70 million euros last year.
Group sources stressed the operation had enabled Ormazabal to consolidate its
internationalisation and growth strategy.
From its headquarters at the Zamudio technology park near Bilbao, Ormazabal
controls its 1,300-strong workforce distributed in eight factories in Spain, France
and Turkey. The group also has subsidiaries and distributors in twenty or so
countries.

                Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 27 March 2004


Cut down to size: US property consultant called in to find investors for
troubled Bilbao project

US property consultant Jones Lang Lasalle has been entrusted with marketing
and finding investors for the troubled Pelli tower in the Abandoibarra district of
Bilbao, now that the Vizcaya Provincial Council has pulled out of the project
because of the debt it would generate.
Jones Lang Lasalle was awarded the property advisory and marketing contract
for the Pelli tower by the Board of Directors of city revitalisation company Bilbao
Ría 2000.
Basically Jones Lang Lasalle has a twofold task. One involves finding investors
to buy the site in Abandoibarra and execute the project. The other is a
marketing brief, which involves finding businesses willing to locate its offices at
the tower.
JLL’s project feasibility study comes out firmly in favour of Pelli’s tower being
the only one of the three buildings planned to be used as an office block.
According to the report’s recommendations, the two adjacent buildings should
be residential.
Pelli’s 150-metre high tower, which has already undergone a number of
planning modifications, including a substantial reduction in height, has 33
storeys and a surface area of 60,000 square metres. The Provincial Council
calculates that construction could require an investment of more than 240
million euros.
Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 1 April 2004
Cash to cut new discs: Basque aerospace firm to introduce new systems
at production facilities

Basque aerospace component manufacturer ITP has launched a two-year nine-
million-euro investment plan to install new machining equipment and systems to
increase production capacity and to assure its response capability as the
company introduces its new manufacturing programmes for more complex parts
(discs and Nozzle Guide Vanes or NGVs) for the Trent 500, Trent 900, CFM-56
(Snecma) and TP400-D6 engines.
Management sources describe these projects as consolidating its position in the
aerospace industry and a major boost for future development at ITP.
The new equipment will increase ITP’s NGV manufacturing capacity from
12,000 to 16,000 units in 2004.
A second electro-chemical machining equipment is to be added to the firm’s
facilities at the technology park in Zamudio, near Bilbao. Having acquired the
technology from Japanese concern APC Aerospeciality Inc., ITP developed it
further for its own purposes. The new equipment will have a generator capable
of supplying 24,000 amps to machine parts measuring 2.5 metres in diameter
and 80 centimetres high to be used in the construction of structural support and
fuselage mooring for the Trent 900 engine.
After three years’ cooperation with Japanese firm Kawasaki Heavy Industries,
ITP produced its first disc (the turbine’s main rotary component) on 13
December 2002. Each turbine has five different discs, and ITP will be
responsible for four of the discs destined for the Trent 900.
In 2002, ITP manufactured the first segment of the NGV for the Trent 500. The
static, mainly aerodynamic NGV orients and accelerates in-turbine gas flows.

             Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 1 March 2004


Up and bunning: cake and pastry maker to invest twelve millions in new
factory

Brioche Pasquier Recondo, Spanish subsidiary of French group Brioche
Pasquier, is about to start building an industrial cake, pastry and bun factory at
Irún on the Spanish side of the French border, in Guipúzcoa. Recondo plans to
spend twelve million euros on the new plant over the next four years. The
company will initially run two production lines, although the plant will be big
enough to take up to eight lines, which would mean anything up to one hundred
new jobs.
Brioche Pasquier, which acquired Basque firm Productos Recondo in 2001,
already has a factory in Irún specialising in small biscottes for canapés. In the
last three years, the French firm has used Recondo’s Spanish sales network to
introduce the range of pastry products it markets in France, where it leads the
field. Its main customers now include hypermarket chain Eroski, Alcampo,
Carrefour and the El Corte Inglés up-market department store chain. BPR’s top
product in Spain already competes with the major national producers such as
Bimbo, Panrico and Dulcesol.
               Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 19 March 2004


Plenty of sun for roof plant: solar power generation facility to be installed
at Bilbao’s new exhibition centre

Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC), Basque Energy Board (EVE) and Millennium
Energy have set up a temporary business union to tackle the construction and
operation of what will eventually be Spain’s biggest photovoltaic solar plant,
occupying the entire roof of Bilbao’s as yet unfinished new exhibition centre.
The power plant involves an investment of nearly 19 million euros. BEC is to
have a 40 per cent stake, while public company EVE will hold 30 per cent
directly, with the remaining 30 per cent belonging to Millennium Energy.
Founded in 2001 with Naturecorp, Ingelectric Team and Iberese as its main
shareholders, Millennium will be entrusted with managing the project. As
leading shareholder in Naturcorp, where EVE also has a stake, Hidrocantábrico
is the candidate most likely to buy up the electricity produced at the plant.
When he presented the project in late 2002, BEC CEO José Miguel Corres
declared that the plant, with 2MW of final power, would be brought into service
in three phases.

               Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 20 March 2004


In the can: Basque fish conserver acquires factory along coast in Corunna

Basque fish canner Conservas Ortiz, best known for its basic Ortiz and more
upmarket El Velero brands, has acquired the cannery owned until now by
Galicia counterpart Friscos in La Coruña province, in a move designed to
strengthen production and increase its lines at the top of the range. The
Vizcaya-based firm has other plants closer to home, in Ondárroa, Lequeitio,
Zumaya and San Vicente de la Barquera (in the neighbouring province of
Cantabria), where it cans anchovies and bonito tuna fish in oil and brine, as well
as other bonito-based delicacies in glass jars.
Ortiz is now completing its acquisition of machinery from Pontevedra-based fish
canner Sancomar, to all intents and purposes out of business, to fit out the
recently acquired plant.
For Friscos, with turnover of more than 52 million euros in 2002, the sale of the
A Pobra plant means that it should now be able to round off the process of
concentrating all its production at a new plant in Catoria (Pontevedra). National
fish canner association ANFACO has already given the operation its blessing.
ANFACO secretary general Juan Manuel Vieites insisted recently that, far from
destroying jobs, Otiz’s arrival will simply smooth the path of another company’s
business concentration.
With more than one hundred years of business activity behind it, today
Conservas Ortiz exports its products to France, England, Australia, the US and
Japan.

                Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 18 March 2004
Going green: Basque chemical manufacturer to invest in treatment plant

Management at Basque chemical producer Gequisa recently approved a seven-
million-euro investment for the construction of a treatment plant at its factory in
Lantarón (Alava).
Scheduled to come into operation in the first quarter of 2005, the treatment
plant will substantially improve Gequisa’s production system, particularly where
the environment is concerned.
Gequisa is also set to investment more than 3 million euros a year on replacing
material, machinery and the like. With a workforce of 276 and turnover of 57
million, Gequisa exports 65 per cent of all its sales.
One of the company’s three production lines revolves around the manufacture
of vulcanization accelerators and anti-oxidants for the rubber industry. Logically
enough, major tyre manufacturers like Michelin and Firestone figure amongst its
customers.
Another line of Gequisa activity involves manufacturing dyes for the textile
industry, shoe leather and paper. Part of the firm’s dye production is used in
cadmium pigments specifically for use with plastics.
The firm also makes phytosanitary products for the agrofood industry, including
pesticides and insecticides.
As a large part of its dye production, which accounts for 50 per cent of company
turnover, ends up in Asia, Gequisa is now looking to expand in emerging
markets like China. The European Union and the United States are the target
markets for accelerators and the US the big destination for its insecticides and
other phytosanitary products.

                Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 15 March 2004


Apron strings: new aircraft parking platform at Vitoria airport to increase
load capacity

Vitoria’s Foronda airport continues to expand. In just over a year’s time the
airport will have a new aircraft apron platform, taking its parking facilities from
the present total of 14 to 21, increasing its load capacity in the process. Spanish
airport and flight administration organisation (AENA) has awarded the contract
for extending the loading and unloading bays to Comsa for 5.4 million euros.
Comsa has twelve months to execute the job.
At present, Foronda can run a maximum of twelve operations an hour, which
has caused problems of saturation, particularly at night, when loading and
unloading manoeuvres involving perishable produce and packages coincide.
As a recent AENA communiqué noted, “the number of positions for stationary
aircraft will increase by 50 per cent. To do this, we have taken into account the
airport’s specific conditions, where goods’ traffic accounts for something like 80
per cent of total throughput.”
The new infrastructure will enable Foronda to improve operational levels. In
recent times, the airport’s operational levels had started to drift downwards. Last
year Foronda registered a 5.4 per cent reduction in goods throughput, clocking
up 40,1 million kilos of freight as opposed to 42.4 the previous year. Despite the
negative result, it remains the country’s third busiest airport for such traffic,
behind Barajas (Madrid) and El Prat (Barcelona).

            Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 25 February, 2004


Blanket coverage: freight firm to build new platform in Basque Country

Transportes Azkar has activated a series of plans designed to extend its
coverage in the Basque Country, where it generates 18 per cent of revenues
and has its head offices. The first step in this strategy involves building a major
logistics platform at the Júndiz industrial estate near Vitoria, where it recently
acquired a 45,000-square-metre site. The investment plan, still in the design
phase, is expected to generate major sub-contracts in the area.
When finished, Júndiz will be Azkar’s eighth logistical platform in the Basque
Country alone.
Besides the logistics platform, the group also plans to build a distribution centre
in Lasarte, joining its other centres in Lazkao, Hernani, Vitoria and Derio, the
latter to be inaugurated in the near future.

         Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 January, 2004


More weight in freight: new Alava logistics platform to come into service
in 2005

EU Trans-European Networks commissioner Alfonso González Finat thinks that
new logistics platform Arasur has a very promising future. Speaking at the
foundation-stone-laying ceremony for the transport centre to be built in
Rivabellosa, in Alava, González Finat revealed that the EU forecasts a 40 per
cent increase in traffic to 2010 on the N-1, the most frequently-used of all the
major roads running close to the future freight loading area. At present, an
average 15,000 lorries drive past the site of the new centre every day.
Work on the 240-million-euro first phase, affecting two-thirds of the two million
square metres the Alava Provincial Council has acquired to develop the
platform, is set to begin in two months time and is expected to be finished in
2005.
Sources at the partners in Arasur reckon that the remaining area, which is
expected to cost 120 million in building, landscaping and service installation
work, will not be ready until 2013. Apart from local savings bank Caja Vital and
ALbertis, both with a share of 39.5 per cent, shareholders include the Basque
regional government and Alava Provincial Council, both with 10 per cent
holdings, and the Ribera Baja town council with 1 per cent.
Arasur and Caja Vital chairman Pascual Jover said yesterday that the new road
haulage and freight service centre would also “serve the hinterlands of the sea
ports at Bilbao and Pasajes.” The chairman of Araba Logística added that it
would also provide “an intermodal road-rail transfer service in cooperation with
the complementary facilities in Miranda.”

            Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 24 February, 2004
On their metal: Basque machining and casting centre to invest in new
technology facility in Durango

Metal centre Azterlan is to reinforce its technological and innovation capability
with a project for new facilities in the Motorretas zone near Durango. Co-
designed with the Hermanos Maristas, the plan involves expenditure of 6.7
million euros. Construction work will be controlled and monitored by LKS
Ingeniería. The new centre is expected to be up and running some time in the
last quarter of the year. Azterlan’s target is to focus more on what it sees as
strategic technologies, such as machinabililty and cold forming, plus other key
technologies used in the automotive, environmental and new materials
industries, such as aluminium and magnesium alloys.
Besides the new facilities, Azterlan management are working on another project
designed to promote the recently created Tabira Casting Institute.
Together with Vizcaya-based firms Fytasa Fundiciones, Foseco Española and
Batz and other Spanish firms such as Lingotes Especiales and Industrias
Químicas del Nalón, Azterlan is giving its backing to a project to set up a
meeting point for the casting industry to facilitate the development and
exchange of knowledge. The idea is to deal with and respond to the concerns,
needs and new challenges in the current market.

         Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 1 February, 2004
Shifting gears: Basque cooperative set to build new factory in eastern
Europe

Mondragón Cooperative Corporation member Maier is looking to consolidate its
position in Europe by installing a new production centre somewhere in eastern
Europe. According to sources at the cooperative, which designs and makes
functional and decorative plastic parts for the automotive and telephone
industries, the new factory should be up and running in the first six month of
2005. Although no details of this internationalisation plan have as yet been
revealed, Maier’s favourite countries are said to the Czech Republic, Poland
and Slovakia.
The decision to move Maier production to eastern Europe is one consequence
of the recent sale of its Brazilian production plant, acquired by fellow Basque
group CIE Automotive.
As a Maier spokesman explained yesterday, “the Latin American automotive
market has stagnated, while Europe’s major markets like France and Germany
are rapidly being joined by emerging markets in places like Poland, the Czech
Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.”
Global turnover at the Maier group amounted to 206 million euros in 2003 (22
per cent up on 2002), with 62 per cent coming from international sales. The
cooperative currently has five production centres, in the United Kingdom,
Navarra, Galicia and the Basque Country.

         Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 1 February, 2004


At their BEC and call: Bilbao’s new trade exhibition centre to kick off with
record attendance

Scheduled for inauguration on 7 June, the Machine Tool Biennial will mark the
premier league debut of the new 440-million-euro Bilbao Exhibition Centre
(BEC), built on land formerly belonging to the Altos Hornos de Vizcaya blast
furnaces in Baracaldo. Although strictly speaking the Biennial will not actually
be the first fair at the new facilities (that privilege is reserved for the construction
industry’s Construlan fair, from 21 April) it will be the first requiring the use of
absolutely all the available exhibition area.
The latest edition of the Biennial is expected to break all known records for
attendance and the use of exhibition space. In all, 762 exhibitors have already
confirmed their attendance, an 18 per cent increase in comparison with the last
fair. In terms of the number of companies actually represented at the stands
(1,600) the increase is even higher, standing at 23 per cent.
Exhibition space hired out already exceeds the figure achieved at the last show
of this kind, held in 2002, by 30 per cent, coming to 55,600 square metres in all.
This means that virtually all the available space has been taken up.
At a press conference yesterday, Bilbao Exhibition Centre CEO José Miguel
Corres drew attention to the 440-million-euro investment, put up in large
measure by the Vizcaya Provincial Council, the Basque regional government
and Bilbao City Council, plus “nominal” contributions from the city’s Chamber of
Commerce and the now-defunct Bilbao exhibition centre, located until this week
on the edge of the city centre.
Basque engineering firms Sener and Idom designed and directed a construction
project that they reckon vies with Madrid’s new Barajas airport where building
records are concerned. Earth-shifting work began in September 2001, which
means that the old, disused hot-rolled metal coil factory has been converted into
the home of Europe’s most modern exhibition centre in just two and a half
years.
Equipped with the latest wireless communications technologies, the new
Exhibition Centre is also the proud owner of a wi-fi system that provides
wireless computer-to- Internet connections.
A combination of concrete, micro-perforated steel plate and wood used to build
the pavilions has provided clear, column-free spaces of anything up to 27,000
square metres. As well as a large lorry park, the exhibition centre has
underground parking areas for 4,000 vehicles.
Corres also said that the Centre could stage concerts for 20,000 people and
sporting events for between 10,000 and 12,000 spectators thanks to a system
of easy-to-assemble terracing, yet to be put out to tender, which would regulate
attendance levels.

            Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 18 February, 2004


Speed on the streets: Bilbao to emulate Monte Carlo

“The circuit is a real milestone for Basque motor racing”, declared driver Ander
Vilariño at the presentation of Bilbao’s new urban circuit, which in July 2005 is
to host the World Series by Nissan, the motor racing world’s most important
competition after Formula 1. More than 80,000 people are expected to watch
the race, provisionally entitled the City of Bilbao Prize, live and fans in 80
countries will be able to follow it on television.
Organisation sources reckon that the circuit, which will include the city’s high
street, the Gran Vía, is “every bit as good as, if not better than” Montecarlo,
providing larger doses of spectacle and speed. The idea is to turn the Bilbao
circuit into Europe’s benchmark race, which is not as difficult as it sounds, as
Bilbao will in fact be the only urban circuit in the World Series. The organisation
expects the race to afford the city unprecedented international outreach.
Together with Spanish motor racing federation FEA and RPM Racing, Bilbao
City Council presented the preliminary project designed to turn the most
important streets of Bilbao into a four-kilometre, 250-kilometre-an-hour top
speed circuit.
Three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, of noise, adrenaline and world-class
competition involving 60 drivers from several categories await the city. The
World Series races will last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Sunday, with the
previous two days being used for training and to fine-tune the cars used in three
categories, the Formula Junior, World Series Light and the largest single-seater
class after Formula 1. Like the rest of the circuit, the main attraction will involve
two stages of 14 and 24 laps lasting around 35 and 50 minutes each. That is, of
course, assuming that engineer Jaume Nogué’s preliminary design is approved
by the international motor racing federation, once all safety and security
measures have been guaranteed.
According to the organisation, things are looking good for approval. “And that”
says Jaime Algersuari, top man at RPM Racing, the firm that has provided the
crucial support for the World Series in the last two years, “is because we have
worked long and hard to assure the safety aspect one hundred per cent.”
Nogué’s preliminary design includes a 3,980-metre-long track running from the
starting grid at Zorrozaurre roundabout, down Botica Vieja, where a chicane will
be installed to reduce speed, and on to a spectacular curve giving access to
Deusto bridge.
The cars will then head towards and down the Gran Vía to end up at the
Euskalduna bridge, next to the starting grid. Maximum speeds of between 237
and 247 kilometres per hour should be reached as the cars come off the
bridges and in the early stretches of the circuit.

            Summary of a news item published in El Mundo, 18 February, 2004


Towers for tyres: Michelin invests 17 million in new Basque logistics
centre

Michelin España-Portugal has installed a 31,000-square-metre logistical centre
at a site measuring 100,00 square metres in all at Araia, in Alava. Basque
regional president Juan José Ibarreche and Alava Provincial Council chief
executive Ramón Rabanera yesterday inaugurated the French multinational’s
new 17-million-euro facility, capable of storing a million car tyres, as well as
centralising the until now scattered logistical activities linked to the firm’s plant in
Vitoria.
Although 31,000 square metres have been built, Michelin has land enough to
add two further 10,000-square-metre extensions. Providing jobs for some 50
people, the new logistical centre’s storage towers are equipped with computer
stations connected to all the firm’s other European logistics centres.
In view of the type of material stored, the company has made a special effort, in
collaboration with the province’s fire brigade, to install suitable fire-fighting
equipment, including sprinklers, fire-breaks and a collection system for the
water used in an hypothetical fire to prevent it from being lost down the drains.
At the inauguration ceremony, Michelin Europe’s logistical director Gerard
Duhesme thanked the institutions for their support, while stressing that “Michelin
wishes to work in harmony with the host society.” This was why “such
painstaking attention” had been paid to health and safety and environmental
protection measures.
Ibarreche noted that Michelin has been installed in Vitoria for forty years, a fact
underlining the “confidence the firm has in the Basque Country”, where it has
another factory. He added that the challenge now was to ensure that the
Basque Country “was attractive” for businesses now that the debate on
delocations was in full swing.

     Summary of a news item published in El Diario Vasco, 20 February, 2004
Back into the black: Austrian concern aims to get new Basque subsidiary
in profits again in three years

Mirko Kovats, majority shareholder in Austrian group ATB, and his partner
Christian Schmidt, insisted yesterday in Bilbao that, as industrial investors and
new owners of Babcock Borsig España (BBE) their idea was to hold on to their
share of company capital. They aim to refloat the Basque firm and make it the
core of their activity for the Spanish, Portuguese, North African and Central
American markets.
Austrian Energy Environment general manager Christian Schmidt, chairman of
the BBE Board of Directors, guaranteed a continual flow of technology and
know-how from the parent company to its new subsidiary, which he described
as “remaining autonomous and capable in two or three years getting back into
the black again with profits of 5 per cent of sales.”
Under the new business plan, Babcock should bring turnover up to more than
155 million euros in 2008. Turnover will come from power and environmental
facilities, industrial products, maintenance services and new activities. The
project includes investments of 76 million euros over the next five years. ATB is
to put up 36 million and the rest will come in the shape of public aid schemes
from Spain’s public industrial holdings agency SEPI.
BBE’s relaunch strategy includes work from Austrian Energy in the thermal and
environmental engineering areas, until the Babcock portfolio is completely full.
Management sources at ATB stressed that its subsidiary Austrian Energy and
BBE “are complementary”, because the Austrian engineering firm not involved
in production and does not work in Central America.

           Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 12 February, 2004


Mutual guarantee of success: Basque warranty group confirms upswing
in regional investment

Although the effects of the international crisis are still being felt, things have got
so much better that it can almost be said to be a thing of the past. And, as if to
prove it, investment is taking off again. Guarantees put up by Elkargi last year
for investments increased 7.8 per cent to 214.6 million euros. The increase
contrasts sharply with the 10 per cent fall registered the previous year and
cocks a snook at the company’s own over-pessimistic forecasts for 2003, when
the mutual guarantee company expected a further reduction of 6.5 per cent.
“It’s been a very good year”, acknowledged an understandably pleased Elkargi
chairman Victoriano Susperregui. Elkargi CEO Jesús Alberdi was on hand to
corroborate.
Guarantees granted to finance long-term investment, mostly in SMEs,
exceeded the 186 million forecast by nearly 30 million. With all the caution
required by lingering uncertainty, the top two men at Elkargi were confident of
ending 2004 with an increase of around 9 per cent, and a total of 235 million
euros.
Their optimism was based on the “slow but sustained” reactivation of the
Basque economy, supported by a gradually improving international situation.
Nearly 44 per cent of the guarantees awarded by the mutual guarantee
company last year went to industry, 19 per cent to the services sector and 14
per cent to the construction industry. Since its inception, Elkargi has awarded
guarantees totalling 1,923.7 million euros, with 622.4 million live at the last
count.
Elkargi associate companies increased by 176 last year, taking the total to
8,317 in all.

           Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 11 February, 2004


Powering the nuclear family: Basque firm develops two energy sources
for Europe’s experimental nuclear fusion reactor

ITER, currently the world’s largest nuclear fusion research project, is linked to
the Basque Country through local firm JEMA. With just 70 employees on its
books, JEMA celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2003 by getting involved in
one of its most ambitious projects ever, involving two power supply units
designed and manufactured at the company’s production facilities for the
experimental European nuclear fusion reactor at Culham in the United
Kingdom. The reactor was one of several used in the definition of the
international experimental nuclear fusion project ITER, for which France and
Canada are in the running to host, now the Spanish claim, among others, has
been rejected.
JEMA was awarded the contract to make the supply units by the European
Commission through the European Fusion Development Agreement, EFDA,
after fierce competition with major multinationals in the sector, like Siemens,
ABB and Alston. “JEMA got the job”, says company Marketing director Juan
Otegi, “thanks to its 25-plus years of international experience in the
development of special electric power supply sources for nuclear physics and
particle research labs.”
Starting work on the two power source units was the latest step in two and a
half years of work, “which” as Otegi explains, “involved some really tough
research, design and construction work on equipment that is at the very limit of
what the latest cutting-edge technology is capable of making.”
In Otegi’s view, the main challenge in this kind of à la carte project is that there
are no precedents. “Although you start from a series of technologies that have
already been developed, the kind of configurations involved simply haven’t been
used before. ”
Two and a half years eventually led to the two power supply source units,
capable of generating 20 million watts each, roughly 10 per cent of the energy
produced at the nearby conventional thermal power station at Pasajes.
With each unit measuring roughly 400 square metres, nine special transport
lorries were required to get them to the UK.
Otegi described the project as the firm’s most important challenge of the last ten
years, although this isn’t the only such project JEMA has been involved with. In
2003 the company developed a power source prototype for the LHC
experiment, the world’s largest particle accelerator, now under construction at
the European Nuclear Research Centre in Geneva. Otegi describes the
accelerator, part of a project scheduled to be up and running in 2007, as a “tube
installed 100 metres deep in a 27-kilometre-long tunnel.”

         Summary of a news item published in El Diario Vasco, 9 February, 20


Flying south: Basque aerospace signs preliminary agreement to buy
Seville-based counterpart

Basque firm SK-10 has signed a preliminary agreement with the current owners
of Seville-based aerospace company Tegraf Ingeniería and the Andalusia
development agency IFA, to profile a feasibility plan designed to lead to the
outright acquisition of TGA at an as yet unagreed price.
TGA, which integrates metal aerospace structures and components, is currently
in what management at the firm describe as a ‘delicate’ financial situation.
Despite clocking up annual turnover of some four million euros, Tegraf’s
Andalusian subsidiary is hampered by financial and institutional debt of five
million, which has led to drastic staff cuts, with nearly half the workforce being
laid off to leave some 165 employees on the payroll. Under the terms of the
preliminary agreement, SK-10 has a month to run through the standard due
diligence process and negotiate with the firm’s major creditors (National
Insurance contributions and the Spanish Inland Revenue being the biggest
obstacles here) before deciding whether to exercise its purchase option or not.
In return, the IFA has undertaken to provide TGA with a million-euro subsidy.
Aerospace component manufacturer SK-10 bills more than eight million euros a
year and is a regular subcontractor for Gamesa. SK-10 is controlled by Ezten
and Alcor.

           Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 4 February, 2004


Focusing business at the park: seventeen firms to invest 50 million at new
company centre

Seventeen industrial and service sector companies have undertaken to invest a
total of 49 million euros to set up shop at the Abra Business Park. The first
phase of the new business centre, on the left bank of the river Nervión not far
from Bilbao, was inaugurated yesterday by Spanish Treasury Minister Cristóbal
Montoro.
In all, the companies involved are expected to occupy 143,600 square metres,
after buying lots ranging between 4,000 and 25,000 square metres each. The
initiative should provide a thousand jobs in all, four hundred of them completely
new. Spanish public industrial investment body SEPI chairman Ignacio Ruiz-
Jarabo announced that work on getting the companies settled in at the new
centre is expected to begin shortly. SEPI is responsible for promoting the
project through its subsidiary Infoinvest.
Once its five phases are completed, the 800,000-square-metre business park
will eventually extend from Abanto and Ciérvana to Ortuella, all close to
Metropolitan Bilbao. The first phase of the project involves 293,000 square
metres, 172,000 of which will be used for industrial and service sector
purposes. Part of the land used to belong to Agruminsa, the old iron mine that
used to feed the long-gone Altos Hornos de Vizcaya blast furnaces.
By the time construction work has finished, Infoinvest is expected to have
invested 78.5 million euros, 29.5 million of which has already been spent on
buying land the actual construction of the first phase.

           Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 5 February, 2004


Not cricket, exactly: MCC to open 20 new factories abroad to 2008

Mondragón Cooperative Corporation (MCC) is looking to boost its international
profile substantially over the next few years.
The group’s recently approved “Industrial Corporate Strategy Framework 2004-
2008”, also known as MECI, initially envisages opening 20 new production
centres abroad in the next five years.
If all goes to plan, MCC should have 55 factories outside Spain in 2008,
employing some 12,000 people, 30 per cent of the MCC’s total industrial area
workforce.
At present the MCC group has 38 international plants, providing work for more
than 6,000 people.
According to figures included in a report published in MCC’s group newsletter tu
Lankide, under the new plan international sales should account for 60 per cent
of total industrial group turnover. In 2003 foreign sales, which totalled 2,150
million euros, already accounted for 50 per cent of the total.
Further confirmation of MCC’s determination to strengthen the international side
of its business is that, in five years’ time, production levels at factories located
outside Spain should double the present figures, eventually accounting for 18
per cent of the industrial group’s total. International figures for 2003 came to
400 million euros, so if the estimates prove accurate, the total should come to
around 800 million in 2008. Finally, international procurements will go from 33
per cent to something like 50 per cent of the total.

             Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 31 January, 2004


Toys ‘R here: Valencia toy producer moves lock, stock and most of barrel
to Vitoria

Valencia-based toy manufacturer Popular de Juguetes Rima is to concentrate
all company production at its factory at the Betoño industrial estate in Vitoria,
where it plans to invest more than ten million euros. The transfer also means
the company’s workforce will virtually double, increasing from 115 to 215
employees. To begin with, the factory will cover 8 million euros’ worth of new
orders from the USA, as well as the orders from the rest of Spain and Europe,
which were until now dealt with in Valencia.
To fulfil the contract, executives at Popular de Juguetes realised the firm would
have to move its production facilities to a larger factory. The idea involved
concentrating all the work at one of the two facilities the firm possessed. While
contacts were made with the Spanish Labour Ministry to find out about the
chance of aid and subsidies for extending the factory at Manises, the company
also asked the Basque regional government about the possibility of setting up
exclusively in Vitoria. This is the choice that has now been made public. The
regional authorities are rumoured to have offered a 3-million-euro contribution to
attract the factory to Vitoria.
Valencia is to continue as the firm’s management centre and will also house
assembly work for products sent in from abroad, mainly from China. The R&D
Department is also expected to stay at Manises.
One major factor affecting the choice of Vitoria as the place to develop the
firm’s new products, besides the aid promised by the Basque Government, was
the management’s appraisal of the experience accumulated by Innovac-Rima in
the treatment of plastics. The Vitoria-based factory also specialises in making,
among other things, table footballs, a specialisation that will now also be put to
good use to produce elements inspired by Marvel comic characters.
One other factor influencing the final decision was Alava’s strategic
geographical position as a European-oriented base.

               Summary of a news item published in El Mundo, 4 February, 20


Blow-by-blow account for investment: Pepsi-Kas announces five-million-
euro plan to increase self-sufficiency of Vitoria plant

Pepsi-Co-Kas’ facilities in Vitoria are to consolidate their entire production
structure thanks to a five-million-euro-plus investment plan. The idea is to
increase the plant’s production self-sufficiency, optimise client-service capability
and improve logistics there.
Most of the investment is to be used to add a second bottle-blowing line, which
is expected to multiply production capacity fourfold. The new installation,
depending on the type of bottle produced, will be able to blow between 25,000
and 35,000 units/hour, added to the 12,000-unit capacity of the other machine.
This way the facility will be able to respond to the increase in bottling capacity,
now that the plant has seven lines in all, becoming increasingly self sufficient in
the process. At present the factory acquires most of its bottles from other firms.
The blower, supplied by multinational Sidel, is scheduled to be delivered next
March and will also incorporate two large 40-bar compressors supplied by
Basque manufacturer ABC.
Extending the facility at Echévarri-Viña also involves building a new 1,500-
square-metre pavilion to increase its finished product storage capacity.
Pepsi-Co-Kas is also working on a ground layout plan designed to increase its
reserve of land for future projects by 21,000 square metres.

         Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 January, 2004


Flowing like water: Bilbao Vizcaya water board to invest 150 million euros
to 2007

Bilbao Vizcaya Water Board plans to invest 150 million euros between 2004
and 2007 to complete its integral water clean-up plan in the province. The lion’s
share of the investment, 106 million, will be going to the Lower Nervión area,
with 20.5 million going to the river Butrón, and 12.2 million to the river known as
the Alta Cadagua.
In all the water board will be allocating 57.9 million euros to water cleaning work
during the year, with a view to achieving water clean-up coverage for a
population of 928,000 people, 91 per cent of all the inhabitants in the Board’s
associated towns and municipal areas.
For 2004 the largest sum, 45.15 million euros, will be spent on cleaning up the
Lower Nervión area. The Alto Cadagua river system will receive an injection of
4.6 million euros, while cleaning the Butrón system in en 2004 will absorb 4.52
million euros.

Summary of a news item published in Estrategia Empresarial, 15 January,
2004


All down the line: Basque engineering firm helps to improve Chilean
railway

Vizcaya-based engineering firm Sener is currently cooperating on the
modernisation of the railway line between Alameda (Santiago de Chile) and
Temuco, to enable major increases and improvements in passenger and goods
traffic there. In the project run by Chile’s national rail company EFC (Empresas
de los Ferrocarriles de Chile), the Basque firm is working on the initial
engineering phase for signalling installations and on resizing the train electricity
supply system.
EFC plans to replace the 690-kilometre line’s control equipment completely,
which has been in place since the 1940s. The remodelling will reduce travelling
times from the current 13 hours to seven hours.

           Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 19 January, 2004


Gone with the wind: Basque wind turbine group acquires electronics firm

Aerospace and renewable energy group Gamesa, co-owned by Spanish
banking giant BBVA and the country’s leading private power company,
Iberdrola, has clinched a 2.3-million-euro deal for the acquisition of Madrid-
based electronic systems designer and manufacturer Enertron.
The operation is part of the group’s ongoing integration strategy to include the
entire wind-turbine production process, from design to manufacture. Last year
Gamesa bought Made, Spanish power company Endesa’s wind turbine
producer subsidiary and also acquired Dutch firm Buce Cantarey Reinosa,
specialising in electrical equipment, particularly motors and generators.
Located in Torres de la Alameda, in Madrid, Enertron currently has thirty
employees.
Gamesa’s wind power activity entails the use of what are known as power
electronic components, which is what Enertron makes. These components
guarantee the quality and reliability of the electricity supplied to the network,
and ensure the adjustment in real time of a series of parameters, including
voltage, intensity and frequency.
The world’s third leading producer of wind turbines, Gamesa Eólica registered a
25 per cent increase in turnover in 2002, the last complete year for which data
are available, with the final figure coming to 583 million euros.
Provisional figures for 2003 released by the group put the subsidiary’s billing in
the region of 800 million euros for the year.

           Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 20 January, 2004


Astronomy domine: Basque engineering firm prepares technology for
European space mission

Basque engineering firm Sener is currently working on a European Space
Agency contract involving the preparation of technologies for the GAIA
astrometry mission, designed to inspect more than a billion stars and make a
map of the galaxy. The satellite includes a parasol eleven metres in diameter
designed to unfold after entering orbit to give the telescope thermal stability.
Sener’s specific task, on which it is cooperating with Atrium, is to develop the
parasol with all the required mechanisms, structures and the thermal shield.
Scheduled for launch in 2010, the GAIA mission will eventually prepare the
biggest, most accurate map of the galaxy ever made, a task that involves
revealing the movement of every single star.

           Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 15 January, 2004


Getting it sorted: transport firm opens 12-million-euro distribution centre
in Vizcaya
Transportes Azkar recently inaugurated a new 12-million-euro distribution
centre in Derio, as part of the services area for nearby Bilbao airport. The new
centre has a fleet of sixty vehicles for local collection and distribution. Basque-
based firm Azkar plans to open six new facilities this year to strengthen its
network, which currently comprises sixty distribution centres and twenty one
logistics platforms in mainland Spain, Portugal and the Spanish islands.
Azkar’s latest distribution centre in Vizcaya has a storage and operational area
of nearly eleven thousand square metres. The centre’s ninety-three loading
bays are equipped with the latest package handling and sorting technology. The
facility has an automatic package classifier that directs packages to one of forty-
five slides capable of separating upwards of seven thousand objects in an hour.
Azkar has 11 facilities, four distribution centres and seven logistics platforms in
the Basque Country.

           Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 16 January, 2004
Host with the most: Basque conference centre named world’s best

Bilbao’s Euskalduna Conference & Performing Arts Centre, named in 2003 as
the best centre of its kind in the world, ended last year with a surplus of 700,000
euros, a figure that, for the fifth year running, makes the use of subsidies
unnecessary. Sources at the Vizcaya Provincial Council-backed complex said
yesterday that “such positive results are a real landmark” in conference centre
management in Spain, particularly in view of the fact that the centre was only
inaugurated 1999. Consultants KPMG reckon that the activity generated at the
Euskalduna last year had a positive economic impact for the Basque Country of
50 million euros. In all, the centre hosted 331 business events, 23 of which were
annual general meetings. The main acts of this kind were staged by Spanish
power company Iberdrola, Spain’s giant Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria bank,
the countrywide hyper- and supermarket chain Eroski, local savings bank Caja
Rural and the Seguros Lagun Aro insurance company.
Some 34 per cent of conferences held in 2003 were linked to health.
Businesses and institutions shared equally a further 60 per cent of the events.
Counting music- and theatre-related shows, the Euskalduna played host to 619
events, 39 more than in 2002. Most conferences and congresses lasted three
days.

Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 10 January, 2004


Major source of relief: steel group injects 73 million in holding company
with HQ in Bilbao

Iron and steel group Gonvarri, controlled by Arcelor and the Riberas family and
with its headquarters in Madrid, recently carried out a 73-million-euro capital
increase through its new lead company based in the Basque Country.
Basically, the operation involved a capital increase in Hólding Gonvarri, a
limited company incorporated in 2002 with head offices in the Albia building in
Bilbao and which took the company’s capital to 92.89 million. Sources in the
industry say the operation is designed to take advantage of the tax relief
available in the region.
Managing the firm directly, the Riberas family holds its interest in Gonvarri
through Corporación Gestamp, a group generating global sales of more than
2,100 million euros, with a workforce of 8,400 in eight different countries.
Corporación Gestamp is divided into three large divisions, Gonvarri, Gestamp
Automoción and Esmena.
With its HQ and central offices in Madrid, Gonvarri was created in 1958 as a
steel services centre and currently generates turnover of more than 1,150
million euros, according to the figures for 2002, which are the latest available.
Employing more than two thousand people, the iron and steel group is well
represented abroad, as it has subsidiaries producing steel in Italy, Portugal,
Brazil, Argentina and Morocco. In Spain it has steel mills in Asturias, Burgos,
Valencia, Navarra and Catalonia. The group has fifteen production centres in
three continents.
A few years ago, Gonvarri, a leading distributor of flat steel products, launched
a drive to diversify its business interests that has led the group to market more
than two and a half million tons.

           Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 16 January, 2004


Good news from the Russian front: Basque engineering firm to direct
largest investment contract in country’s steel industry

Basque engineering firms Danieli and Morgarshammar, both subsidiaries of
Italian group Danieli, are to direct two of the largest projects currently in the
pipeline in the iron and steel industry anywhere in the world. Morgarshammar
has been entrusted with running one of the biggest-ever investment contracts
for the Russian steel industry.
Russian steel producer Magnitogorsk (MMK), which produces 10 million tons of
steel a year, has asked Morgarshammar to restructure its lengths division to
accommodate three new rolling mills that are to replace its old hot-rolling
facilities. The mills will eventually have joint annual production capacity of 2
million tons. The Danieli Morgarshammar group’s Vizcaya-based subsidiary
expects to take part in and direct much of the work planned in Russia. Today
Magnitogorsk (MMK) has what is probably the largest steel plant anywhere in
the world. MMK is set to end 2003 with total investments amounting to
somewhere in the region of 193 million dollars, out of the year’s budget of 287
million dollars.
Danieli has extended its contracts with US steel firm North American Steel
(NAS) with an extra order for a new continuous heat facility.
A major feature of the new NAS heat facility, whose delivery will be run and
supervised from the engineering firm’s subsidiary in Vizcaya, is the section
comprising four cables with a 10-metre frame radius, although the machine
design leaves space for a further cable to be added if needed. The lines are
designed to conform billets in square sections measuring between 130 and 200
millimetres.

      Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 December, 2003


Smart move: DHL Iberia installs Spanish HQ at Basque technology park

DHL Iberia recently inaugurated its new Corporate Central headquarters at San
Sebastián’s Miramón technology park. The new 4,500-square-metre building is
to house the Chairman’s Office and the DHL’s general management for Spain
and Portugal. The new offices replace the old building previously used as
central headquarters, which is also in San Sebastián.
Equipped with all the latest technology and security equipment, the new building
has an independent data processing centre measuring 80 square metres, which
can be enlarged to 160 if necessary. As well as being sectorised, the building is
equipped with redundant telephony, electricity and fire detection and extinction
infrastructures and facilities (meaning that all systems are duplicated). It also
houses a 30-seater videoconference room permanently connected to DHL
Barajas via the corporate data line. DHL Iberia, which has two other base
centres in Madrid (Barajas) and Lisbon, is part of the Brussels-based DHL
group, a world leader in express delivery and logistical services. The DHL group
is itself owned in its entirety by Deutsche Post World Net.

  Summary of a news item published in Estrategia Europa, 1 December, 2003


Steeling themselves for change: Basque engineering firm to help Turkish
government to restructure country’s steel industry

Basque engineering firm Idom is one of a group of consultancy firms chosen to
set the guidelines for restructuring Turkey’s steel industry. The year-long
project, part of the European Union’s EuropeAid programme, is expected to
produce the definitive restructuring plan. Besides defining the steps to be taken,
Idom, together with the Turkish government and five companies in the sector,
will also help to assess and approve, under EU criteria, the business plans of
the firms involved.
So the plan needs to identify the investments required and the measures to be
taken to put them into practice. Defining the calendar for state aid to the
industry also comes under this heading. Such aid will be limited and directed in
line with European Union requirements for other candidate countries set to join
the EU shortly.
To begin with, the work team will be concentrating on realigning the industry to
the country’s needs, which will in itself orient part of the restructuring work
towards the production of flats rather than lengths. To carry through such a shift
in production, the companies involved have to be analysed in detail. Later, they
will be helped to prepare more consistent business plans defining mid- and
long-term investments that take account of the state of each firm and the
industry’s situation.
Turkey’s steel industry is one of the world’s fifteen leading producers. At the end
of 2002, the country exceeded Spanish production levels, and moved into
thirteenth place with 16.5 million tons.

      Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 December, 2003


  Improving its track record: Canadian group subsidiary to produce part
  of major Italian rolling stock contract in Vizcaya

Canadian group Bombardier Transportation, the world’s leading producer of
railway rolling stock, has been awarded a contract worth 103 million euros to
supply 48 electric locomotives to Italian national rail company Trenitalia.
Although the locomotives are to be built at the group’s Italian factory in Vado
Ligure, engines and electrical equipment will be produced at Trápaga in
Vizcaya, where around 250 people now work. Management sources at the
Spanish subsidiary reckoned the order meant income of nearly thirty million
euros for the Basque factory. Bombardier became the owner of the Trápaga
factory on acquiring rolling stock manufacturer Adtranz from Daimler-Benz.
Bombardier also has a major aerospace division.
Bombardier Traxx’s contract to supply 48 locomotives to Trenitalia’s regional
division follows three other contracts for fifty, ninety and 100 units respectively
placed between 1996 and 2001. The latest locomotives are scheduled for
delivery in September 2005 and September 2006.
With another Spanish factory in Alcobendas in the community of Madrid, the
Canadian group registered turnover of 359 million euros in Spain last year. Its
Spanish subsidiary currently employs some four hundred people altogether.

         Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 30 December, 2003


Gauche still not divine: more investments planned to revitalise blighted
industrial areas

Basque industrial land agency SPRILUR is to invest some 700 million euros
from 2004 to 2008 on revitalising blighted industrial areas and starting new
model industrial estates either run in their entirety by the agency or co-run with
companies participating in the Industrialdeak programme. The industrial area
action plan, included in the 2003 Euskadi Plan, has been allocated a budget of
94.09 million and is to concentrate on areas on the left bank of the Nervión in
Vizcaya and the Pasajes district in Guipúzcoa. Work on the left bank has been
scheduled for a total area of 383,670 square metres distributed between the
towns of Abanto and Somorrostro. The work will also skip over the river to the
one industrial area set into surrounding residential zones on the right bank, the
river-hugging town of Erandio. In Abanto, the work, expected to cost around
10.5 million euros, will involve initial landscaping and basic service layouts for
the 200,000-square-metre El Campillo III industrial estate. Across the river in
Erandio, 28 million euros are to be spent on finishing the 93,697-square-metre
Axpe industrial estate. The last in this particular round of investments is
scheduled for Somorrostro: 8.49 million euros for laying out the basic services
at the Mina Petronila industrial estate.
Some 47 million euros are to be spent in Pasaialdea, or the Pasajes district,
which includes the towns of Irún, Oyarzun, Pasajes and Rentería, up the coast
towards the French border. The plan covers a total area of 719,467 square
metres. In Irún, SPRILUR is set to invest 24 million on laying out the 282,946-
square-metre Araso industrial estate. A further 22.40 million is to be spent on
Oyarzun’s Lintzirin estate and Rentería’s Egiburuberri estates.
But the lion’s share of the cash, 359 million euros, is to go to the projects
planned for what are known as SPRILUR’s ‘own estates’. The money is to be
distributed for work planned in all three Basque provinces.

      Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 November, 2003


Not so cold Turkey: Basque kitchenware manufacturer to invest in new
Turkish plant

With an initial investment of five million euros, Basque cooker, dishwasher and
fridge manufacturer Fagor Industrial is to set up in Turkey. The Mondragón
Cooperative Corporation (MCC) member firm is to build a plant on the Gebze
Güzeller industrial estate near Istanbul. Work on the new factory, set to begin in
the first quarter of 2004 on a 12,568-square-metre site, should be finished by
early 2005.
To begin with, the new facility will make cold cabinets and tables for the hotel
and restaurant trade. Later, Fagor’s Turkish factory will turn its hand to making
kitchen goods, which, “owing to low demand,” as sources at the Basque firm put
it, “are hard to market properly.” The Gebze Güzeller factory will provide direct
employment for 75 people. The same sources at the Oñate-based firm
reckoned that, in its first year, the new factory would achieve minimum turnover
of seven million euros, with annual increases of 30 per cent in the following
years.
Without as yet being directly involved in production, Fagor Industrial expects to
clock up sales of four million euros in Turkey this year.

        Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 11 December, 2003


  Thanks for Koffi: Basque president praises UN leader’s line on regions

Speaking in his capacity as President of IT4 All Regions, the World Association
of Regions and Cities for the Information Society, Basque president Juan José
Ibarreche took advantage of his recent visit to the Geneva World Summit to
thank UN secretary general Koffi Annan for his “vociferous and up-front”
backing for regions with legislative powers on IT to have their voices heard
when the major decisions are being made.
At their meeting, Annan, who has repeatedly called on the international
community to put information and communication technologies to good
democratic use, was presented by Ibarreche with the Declaration of Lyon, under
the terms of which the world’s regions and cities undertake to “promote
universal access to the new technologies and to avoid increasing social
confrontation.” The Declaration coincides with the UN’s own objectives of
promoting society’s participation in this task. Which means, according to
Ibarreche, “that for the first time the United Nations has declared that the voice
of stateless regions and nations like the Basque region of Spain should be
heard and taken account of where the information society is concerned. IT, he
insisted, was no longer a preserve of the larger centralised states.
Describing the right to information as “universal”, Ibarreche explained to Annan
that the World Association of Regions and Cities, now under Basque
presidency, was behind a drive to make information “a vehicle for generating
more democracy, more equality between peoples, and not to generate
inequality or less democracy or, for the sake of security, to cut back on personal
freedoms.”

Summary of a news item published in El Periódico de Álava, 11 December,
2003
Capital outcome for Condesa: new deal puts Basque producer at head of
European tube production

After some long and not entirely hitch-free negotiations, Basque firm
Conducciones and Derivados (Condesa) is at last set to take over steel group
Arcelor’s tube division, which consists of five subsidiaries and a shareholding in
the purchasing company itself.
Thanks to this operation, the Basque firm will shortly be the leading tube
producer in Spain and one of the biggest in the world. The operation also gives
Condesa total production capacity of 1.7 million tons, as it is to take over the 13
factories Arcelor owns throughout Europe, with 1,987 employees, plus its own
three steel mills. In 2002, Arcelor’s tube division sold 1.3 million tons with
turnover of 609 million euros. With just the formality of the rubber stamp from
the fair competition authorities lacking, the deal between Arcelor and Condesa
also includes the sale of the entire share capital of Arcelor Tubes, 90 per cent of
the capital of Alessio Tubi, 100 per cent of Exma’s capital, and all the capital of
Aceralia Tubos (a new firm to which, before the operation, Aceralia
Transformados was to hand over all its tube making activities) and 10 per cent
in Industube. The operation also includes the sale of Arcelor’s 48.84 per cent
share in Condesa, which in 2002 produced 375,200 tons at its mills and
factories in Alava, Gerona and Sagunto and registered turnover of 192.5 million.

      Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 September, 2003


Centre of attraction: leisure complex promoters announce major
investments in Bilbao development zone

The Zubiarte macro shopping and leisure centre planned for Bilbao’s key
Abandoibarra zone (home, among other major initiatives, to the Guggenheim
Museum) is expected to free up global investment of 115 million euros, 75
million euros of which will be put up by promoters ING Real Estate and Sonae
Inmobiliaria, the rest coming from tenants looking to fit out their news shops.
Designed by US architect Robert Stern, the centre combines tradition and
avant-garde at a site about halfway between the Guggenheim Museum and the
Euskalduna Conference & Performing Arts, a few hundred metres downstream
from Frank O. Gehry’s titanium, glass and concrete home for the best in
contemporary art.
The new centre will consist of six sky-lit brick and stone buildings
interconnected by walkways at different levels. The shopping centre is to house
more than 60 rent-paying shops distributed over four floors, while a fifth floor will
be set aside exclusively for cinemas. The underground car park will have space
for 840 vehicles.
Commercial project manager Mario Esteban explained yesterday at a press
conference that, just one year after opening, the management firm had clinched
agreements for 25 per cent of the 21,500 square metres that will eventually be
available at the centre. Specifically, local cinema chain Circuito Coliseo is to run
the cinemas, while a supermarket run by local food chain Ercoreca will occupy
roughly 1,000 square metres. Esteban underlined the fact that his firm was
about to reach agreements with representatives from local and major operators
in the sector. Booming textile and clothes’ business Inditex for one is expected
to take up its option on a further 30 per cent of the complex.
Zubiarte is looking to be the first shopping and leisure centre in Bilbao to house
businesses, shops, fashion houses, restaurants and cinemas.
Given the centre’s location and zone of influence, the promoters estimate global
turnover at shops and businesses of 94 million, with nine million people
expected every year. The project involves 500 new jobs directly, with a further
1,500 jobs indirectly.

             Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 9 October, 2003


 A tank in your Tiger: Basque aerospace firm to develop new helicopter
engine

The Spanish Government’s decision to buy 24 Tiger helicopters from France
will enable Basque-based aerospace firm Industria de Turbopropulsores (ITP)
to increase its order portfolio to nearly 200 million euros over the next 20 years.
However, the decision also means the loss of a contract for fellow Basque
business, Gamesa, which had a manufacturing agreement with Boeing that
would have come to fruition if the Spanish Government had opted to buy the US
Apache helicopter rather than the Tiger.
Specifically, ITP will be involved in developing the Tiger engine, designed by a
consortium including Rolls Royce, MTU and Turbomeca. Modifications to the
original engine, designed to increase engine power and included in the contract
signed with the Ministry of Defence, means that, as well as supplying parts, firm
will be helping to develop the new version of the engine over the next four
years.
So, rather than just involving the 24 helicopters acquired by the Government,
ITP’s relationship with the engine manufacturing consortium will cover all future
Tiger units using the new version of the engine.
At present, Tiger manufacturer EADS-Eurocopter has sales orders for 182 units
of the new helicopter. Several governments committed to acquiring the Tiger
have signalled their interest in changing their orders to equip the aircraft with
the new engine. For the moment work in the new engine development phase is
guaranteed, as is the production of the 55 engines acquired by the Spanish
Government, largely because the order also covers replacement engines.
Management sources at ITP confirmed yesterday that the company would have
a 25 per cent share in engine development, plus a 20 per cent share in
production. The same sources pointed out that this percentage was higher than
normal for an operation of this kind.
ITP shareholders include Rolls Royce, Basque-based engineering firm Sener
and Spanish industrial investment agency SEPI. The firm currently works on the
production of components for aircraft engines and providing maintenance
services. The company now employees some 2,200 people at its facilities in the
Zamudio Technology Park near Bilbao, Madrid, Mexico and Miami.

Summary of a news item published in El Correo, 12 September, 2003
Turn, turn, turn: Walloon minister praises Basque economic turnaround

Basque regional minister for Industry minister Josu Jon Imaz yesterday
informed Serge Kubla, economics minister from the Walloon region of Belgium,
of the industrial restructuring process undergone in the Basque Country over
the last twenty years or so. After describing the process as “very successful”,
Kubla said his delegation was looking very closely at what had been done in the
region as part of its search for solutions to the difficult economic situation back
home, brought about by the decline of its staple industries, mining and the iron
and steel industry.
Imaz met the Walloon delegation, which included trade union representatives
from the region, at the Zamudio Technology Park. There he assured his visitors
that the Basque government was looking to intensify relations between the two
regions.
Pleasantly surprised by the Basque Country’s success in turning a tough
situation around, Kubla showed particular interest in the industrial restructuring
process and the industrial policies implemented by the regional government. He
described the Basque Country as a “good example to follow” and as a future
“source of inspiration” for the Walloon region when it launches its own
restructuring process.
Coincidentally, a delegation from the regional government of Flanders is
currently visiting Basque neighbours Navarra for first-hand knowledge of the
Community’s energy development model and to look into the possibility of
exporting it to its own region.
Led by the region’s minister for Public Works, Transport & Energy, Gilbert
Bossuyt, the Flemish delegation combines meetings with local authorities and
regional government technicians with visits to energy firms and infrastructures.

                Summary of a news item published in Deia, 4 September, 2003


The belly of the beast: Basque aerospace concern to invest six million
euros on new factory

With the help of the IFA investment aid scheme and the Andalusian regional
government, Basque aircraft structure manufacturer SK-10 has embarked on a
6-million-euro investment on a new 4,500-square-metre factory in Puerto de
Santa María (Cadiz). The facility is to start work on three recent contracts,
including a shared risk project for the A380 aircraft.
Scheduled to be up and running by the end of October, the factory is expected
to start production with a workforce of 45 people after transferring its activities
from the temporary 2,000-square-metre plant it currently occupies in Puerto
Real.
According to management sources, the Basque group’s new factory is to
develop and manufacture titanium and aluminium parts and assemble zones 1,
3, 4 and 5 of the A380’s belly fairing.
Before this phase begins, though, the firm will have to perform the preliminary
task of designing the tools together with fellow Alcor group member, the
engineering firm Idec. In all, it will develop 124 tools, at an investment of one
million euros. Later, in the prototype phase, it will actually produce 5 aircraft,
plus another one for stress testing, before production gets under way in
February 2004. From then on, it will deliver 4 aircraft a month.
SK-10 is also set to become involved is the recent contract with Spanish
aerospace concern EADS-CASA for the fan cowl of the A340, a four-engined
long-distance aircraft, the largest ever made to date by the Airbus consortium.
The contract will last at least five years and require delivery of 120 fan cowls
every year.
Contracts awarded by Gamesa and Airbus Getafe will be maintained at the
company’s Basque headquarters, together with developments for new clients,
especially in the south of France, where plans are going ahead to extend the
group’s business influence. Thanks to this operation, SK-10 is the third Basque
firm, after Gamesa and Tegraf, to set up in Andalucía.

             Summary of a news item published in Empresa XXI, 15 July, 2003


Opportunity knocks: US multinational acquires Basque firm outright

Basque chemical and lubricant manufacturer Krafft, which supplies the car and
building industries and industry in general, has joined US group ITW (Illinois
Tool Works), following the signing of the agreement giving the American
multinational outright control of the Spanish firm’s capital. Led by venture capital
fund 3i, which controlled 47 per cent of Krafft’s capital, the proposed operation
was recently accepted by the other company shareholders.
Although the cost of the operation has not been made public, company sources
did however insist that the operation would not mean “major changes at the
firm.” Rather than jobs being lost, the sources insisted that joining ITW would
help to strengthen the firm’s market situation and give the company extra
backing.
ITW consists of more than 600 companies working in a range of sectors,
product and market diversification being the organisation’s watchword. Among
other things, ITW is present in the automotive, construction, food and drink
industries and in the services sector. The acquisition of Krafft gives the
multinational the opportunity to get into the Spanish chemical industry and
further consolidate its interests in southern Europe, where Krafft is a leader in
its segment.
To date, the US concern owns nearly 14,000 patents, and last year clocked up
turnover of more than 9,500 million dollars (close to 8,000 million euros).


          Summary of a news item published in Diario Vasco, 28 February 2004


Only connect: Spanish Ministry announces call for tenders for Basque
HVT rail project

Executives at Spain’s public rail infrastructure management company GIF,
dependent on the country’s Ministry for Economic Promotion, yesterday
announced that it had finally approved three public calls for tenders for the
project and works for the first eight sections of the Vitoria-Bilbao-San Sebastián
high velocity train line.
Included in the 807-million-euro package are the sections linking Amorebieta-
Echano-Lemona, Lemona-Galdácano, Galdácano-Basauri, Arrazua/Ubarrundia-
Legutiano, Legutiano-Escoriaza, Hernialde-Zizurkil, Zizurkil-Urnieta and
Urnieta-Hernani, in Vizcaya, Alava and Guipúzcoa, making a total of 46
kilometres in all.
The line has been a source of conflict for some time now. The most recent
problem was between the Spanish central government and the Basque regional
authorities, after the latter announced a call for tenders in December 2002 for
the preparation of projects for six sections of line. Basically the Basque
authorities felt the Ministry was taking too long and that, being a plan to link the
three Basque provincial capitals, the entire project was really their business.
The difference in criteria was so marked that the affair ended up in the courts.
Scheduled for inauguration in 2010, the line will mean 27-minute connections
between Vitoria and Bilbao, 34-minute links between Vitoria and San Sebastián,
and connections of just 38 minutes between Bilbao and San Sebastián.

            Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 28 February 2004


Bringing up bio: Basque authorities promote bioscience industry

According to figures released yesterday by the Basque regional government,
thirteen new bioscience firms appeared on the business scene in the Basque
Country from 2001 on, bringing the total to 31 in the industry in all. Altogether
the sector keeps nearly 600 people in work and generates turnover of 170
million a year. The 13 firms set up in the last three years account for 22 per cent
of all the jobs in the regional bioscience industry.
Biobask 2010, the Basque government’s latest plan to promote the bioscience
industry, covers biotechnological, biopharmaceutical, genomic and biomaterial
initiatives, plus intermediate component and research tool suppliers. The
regional authorities’ target is to have 63 companies up and running and 3,000
jobs in the industry by 2010.
The plan includes constructing two buildings at the Vizcaya Technology Park
near Bilbao. The first, already built, is to house a research centre, a
biotechnology nursery and five recently created firms in the industry, Dominion
Pharmakine, Biolex, Kina Biotech, Noray Bioinformatics and Med Plant
Genetics.

                 Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 4 March 2004


Full on for Asia: Basque headlight manufacturer to launch new factory in
India

Car headlight and lighting manufacturer Rinder, based in Guernica in the
Basque Country, is currently in talks with a European partner over the creation
of a joint venture in India to make injection moulds. The two businesses are
looking to have the new plant up and running in the second half of 2004.
Rinder is no stranger to India, as it already has two factories working there. The
group arrived on the sub-continent in 1997, when it formed the joint venture
Fien Rinder with a local partner. Rinder’s next move in India came in April 2003
with the inauguration of 8,000-square-metre cutting-edge manufacturing
facilities at Chakan. Rinder also has a cooperation agreement with a Chinese
company, which it supplies from its Indian factories.
Rinder Guernica sales were up 10 per cent in 2003, while in India they
increased 70 per cent over the year before. For 2004, the group forecasts a 15
per cent increase in its European business and a 100 per cent increase in Asia.
Rinder ended last year with two major projects with Honda for the motorbike
sector and its Varadero and Phantom models. This year, the firm is working on
new contracts for a number of motorbike manufacturers including Yamaha,
Malagutti and Triumph. Rinder is also working on car-related projects for Rover
and is set to start production shortly.

     Summary of a news item published in Estrategia Empresarial, 15 February
                                                                       2004

Taking on the competition: Basque authorities inject millions into rail
company before liberalisation

The Basque Government Transport Department recently provided the region’s
public railway management company Eusko Trenbideak with an injection of
37.9 million euros, to finance the investments planned for the present year.
Investments planned for 2004 amount to 55.72 million euros in all, and the
Department’s recent operation ensures that expenditure will go ahead as
planned.
With a workforce of 942 at year-end 2003, the firm recently launched its
strategic Eusko Tren 21 plan, designed to reach 39 million users and two million
tons of freight in 2012.
Now, the Basque authorities are looking to adapt to the liberalisation of the rail
industry. According to the Transport Department’s plans, the recently created
company Euskotren Participaciones, scheduled to be up and running this year,
is to oversee the creation of companies to promote a series of projects linked to
the intermodal transport platforms for the port of Bermeo and Irún on the French
border and associated with the new logistics platform in Rivabellosa and
passenger traffic by road.
In its first year, EP will have a budget of 84,000 euros just to cover operational
expenses. However, its activity will begin to take off as the European Union-
backed introduction of competition makes its mark on the rail industry as a
whole. The new firm’s mission involves the acquisition, possession and
management of rail-linked property, property values and shareholdings.
Sources at the Transport Department said yesterday that EP could also be
authorised to take shareholdings in the private sector, with a view to “acting in
new market niches in competition with the major business groups.”

                Summary of a news item published in Expansión, 5 March 2004
Milking it for all its worth: Basque dairy producer invests 10 million on
Mexican factory

Basque dairy produce group Iparlat has invested ten million euros on acquiring
a factory in Querétaro, Mexico, the second operation of its kind in Latin
America.
According to the latest reports, the operation involved taking the majority
shareholding in a factory that was already up and running and making room for
a local industrial partner and local food production businesses. In a bid to repeat
the process that recently got its Chilean factory in operation, the Basque-based
firm hopes to begin production of 50 million litres of milk a year as soon as
possible.
With plans to launch its Kaiku range of cold products in three months’ time,
Iparlat is also looking to use the Querétaro plant to introduce its entire range of
Kaiku Haute Cuisine products in Mexico. It will also keep on some of the
products made at the factory at present.
Iparlat CEO Eduardo Urrutia said yesterday that at present production capacity
was limited at the Mexican factory, although investments would be made as the
project advances.
After ending 2003 with turnover of 280 million euros, the group plans to grow 14
per cent in 2004 and achieve 300 million euros in sales. At present it has
factories in Urnieta, Pamplona, Renedo (a town in the pre-eminently agricultural
province of Cantabria) and Chile, supplied by some 4,000 producers.

                      Summary of a news item published in Gara, 2 March 2004

								
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