Tuesday, August 16

My wish for 2022 is that we can match the level of GDP we had before the pandemic

How do you value the year 2021 on the Spanish stock market and what do you expect from 2022?

The year 2022 will be a complex year, like 2021 and 2020, and we will continue to have the operational challenge of continuing to work partially in person; With the latest numbers that we are seeing of contagions, we will surely have to stay away for a while. Clearly for a company like us that runs on real time and manages sophisticated systems remotely it is a challenge but we are very proud of how the company has performed in these two complex years despite all the difficulties. 2022 will be a year again of continuing to test the resilience of systems and equipment and, from the business and market point of view, a year with uncertainty but one that has a driving pillar that is the growth of the economy. Let’s hope that the forecasts that GDP growth is above 5%, even 6%, will be fulfilled. If that is the case, I think we will have IPOs and a more powerful investment attraction volume than if it does not happen. It is also important that inflation moderates, as is the energy part, from the first quarter or semester. And if that happens, I think we will have a positive 2022.

The Spanish Stock Market has experienced important milestones in 2021 and one of them has been the good performance of BME Growth. What balance do you make of this alternative market?

I believe that it is a market that was necessary, for me it is a key element that can generate financing for medium and small companies that are starting and have growth prospects. For us, it has been very satisfactory to see 14-15 exits in this market in such a difficult year, where all business segments are also represented in this segment. It is very important that entrepreneurs in Spain know that they have a market segment to turn to in order to obtain equity financing and also in the fixed income part of the MARF where they can obtain market financing at a time of its growth and early constitution, so that this diversification of financial sources is on the table from the very beginning. That is very good and the assessment we make is very positive, for us it is not a great contribution to results, it is part of the pulse of the market and its DNA, getting companies to come and develop from there.

Another milestone has been the great growth in debt issuance at MARF compared to the previous year. Do you think that economic growth and the macroeconomic environment can reduce these emissions?

I believe that MARF has a great advantage as a market that is going to be maintained, and that is the degree of flexibility, the speed with which an issue can be put into circulation on the market, and that element of flexibility and agility will allow it to continue to develop as very important way. And again for small and medium-sized companies it is an element of testing the market, starting with having an instrument listed on a fixed income market to getting closer to investors and getting to know the company and then perhaps doing the equity part. The two, Growth and MARF, combine very well from the point of view of investment alternatives. The question that remains for us in the world of fixed income in 2022 is what can happen to interest rates: if monetary policy is maintained as it has been up to now, I believe that there will be debt issues of fixed income investments in the MARF of a significant amount But if rates go up we may see less activity until it is absorbed from a market point of view.

The advancement of sustainability with European funds. Do you think we are still at the beginning of green bond issues and the role they play in the capital market?

I think we are at the beginning but not in square zero. I think that the broadcast volumes that have been produced this year are already relevant. The issuance of the green bond by the Treasury of 5,000 million has been a pillar of attraction to the ESG market and of sustainability. I hope that Spain will be a very powerful market for this type of instrument in the future. We have a very important renewable sector and central and regional governments that are willing to issue this type of instrument. I think it is here to stay because it is clear that bonds are issued because there is a demand from investors who want the money from their savings to be invested in companies or projects that meet standards of environmental sustainability, equality, etc. which I think is very positive. There is a demand and what the market has to do is satisfy it. This is a beginning but quite advanced and where we already have a relevant worldwide size.

They have just launched the Ibex Gender Equality Index. What does it consist of?

It is an index made up of companies that meet a series of criteria regarding gender participation, both on the boards of directors and in the management of the company. It is an index that we have made together with SIX. Basically, the index is simply trying to be made up of those companies that meet those parameters. The index is calculated based on the capitalization of companies that meet these criteria. It is a necessary first step so that the issue of gender equality is on the table and it is something that companies are working on. I hope that one day this index will not be necessary, that it begins today and ends soon, because all companies comply with these parameters and therefore it will be like any other stock index. It is just a way to focus on good practice.

A wish for 2022

I wish the usual ones. The first is the health of all, physical and economic, and what I really want is that we continue with the plans that companies and the country have in terms of growth and that we also succeed in the management of the European structural funds. I think that being smart and planning well in a moment of recovery is very important, it is hard because we come from a 10% drop in GDP and we are still trying to recover, but my wish is that these growth and investment efforts are dedicated to projects. powerful and that they help us and that 2022 is the year where we can at least tie with the level of GDP that we had before the pandemic. It will be difficult but it is a goal that we can set ourselves.


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