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Abengoa, Spain’s largest solar thermal power plant developer, has said it is considering listing in New York to develop its ties with the US market as the eurozone crisis continues to drive up Spanish companies’ borrowing costs.
Manuel Sánchez Ortega, Abengoa chief executive, said the Seville-based alternative energy and environmental services group was examining a secondary listing of full American depositary receipts on the New York Stock Exchange.
“We may be a company that was founded in Spain, but we now have only 24 per cent of our revenues coming from there,” said Mr Sánchez Ortega. More than 30 per cent of the holders of the company’s free float are based in North America, with 5 per cent in Spain.
Many Spanish-listed companies have complained that the European debt crisis has made it more expensive to borrow, with Telefónica this year taking the radical step of scrapping its Spanish arm as a standalone business, and establishing a new technology venture in London.
“For a while we’ve been punished a bit too much for our debt, without people realising where we were investing,” Mr Sánchez Ortega said.
Telvent, the software company in which Abengoa was the largest shareholder as part of a free float before it was sold to Schneider Electric this year to trim debt, had a listing on Nasdaq.
Abengoa has net corporate debt, excluding pre-operational project lending, of €2.5bn ($3.4bn), or 2.7 times earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation – a level described as “very manageable” by Mr Sánchez Ortega.
Abengoa said it held €3.5bn of liquidity, with less than €500m of its debt maturing in the next year after a process of asset sales and reallocating borrowing from banks to bonds.
The company added that revenues for the first nine months of the year increased annually by 42 per cent to €4.78bn, with net income rising by 45 per cent to €211m, including a €91m impact from the Telvent sale.
In October the company raised €300m by selling new B-class shares to First Reserve, a private equity group, a move that the company said would remove the possibility of running into financial difficulties. The B shares do not trade, but pay a dividend equal to the company’s ordinary stock.
Abengoa’s total order backlog as of the end of September stood at €7.5bn, while total net debt compared to ebitda stood at 5.5 times.