The first edition of the Intelligent Growth Forum was held on 24 March at the headquarters of PwC in Madrid. The firm has launched this initiative as a platform for Spanish companies to encourage change in the growth pattern of the Spanish economy. On this occasion, the congress centered on the internationalization of Spanish companies as a cornerstone for changing our economic structure, enabling companies to diversify, access new markets and investors, and secure new business opportunities.
The congress was chaired by Jordi Sevilla, senior advisor at PwC, and moderated by Ignacio Fernández Morodo, partner in charge of PwC's Internationalization Unit. The debate was attended by Ángel Martín, Executive Vice President of the ICEX; Luis García Linares, Corporate General Manager of OHL; Germán Bejarano, deputy chairman of Abengoa; Angel Rodríguez, international expansion director at Sol Meliá; Luis Mora, general manager of Pharmamar, Carlos Miravent, director of Organic Expansion in Latin America for Gas Natural; Javier Perea, commercial and product general manager at Gamesa, Apolinar Rodríguez, Internationalization director for Renfe and Fernando Aznar, business development director at Talgo.
Some of the conclusions reached during the discussions are as follows.
“We are delighted to report that our level of internationalization is infinitely greater to what it was some years ago. However, we all agree that we need to increase it further”.
“Internationalization not only makes you more competitive and provides a certain immunity; it also leads to the creation of quality jobs”.
“If you don’t choose your markets carefully you can end up with the perfect product for a marginal market”.
“There are significant operating and management differences between purely export companies, internationalized companies – with direct foreign investment – and multinationals, which are internationalized companies with a greater global presence and more decentralized decision-taking structures”.
“Spanish companies have forgotten Asia, where German, French and Italian firms have been operating for years”.
“We may find niches and new competitive factors other than price in which Spain could specialise”.
“It is amazing to see how, in some cases, local industry is defended and foreign companies’ access to tenders is blocked”.
“We have demonstrated our financial capacity to venture abroad and have even raised Spain’s prestige around the world. This is the line we have to follow”
“We have started from a strong tradition in America in the last forty years, and are aware that experience in the home market can be exported. The increase in the internationalization of Spanish companies since the forties is evident”.
“We have a very significant link with local society in Latin America and can establish relationships easily; the language is clearly an asset, and we must take advantage of this”.
“Our competitors are not going to be the German or the French – or least, not the principle ones – but the Chinese, with lower quality products but with much lower prices and very favourable financing packages”.