Renovation of the Catalonian Family Business Association Board of Directors

Jaume Alsina succeeds Amadeu Jori at the ASCEF’s presidency

 

Barcelona, 17th of June 2022. – The Assembly of the Catalonian Family Business Association (ASCEF) was held last Thursday 16th of June, where Jaume Alsina, of Encofrats J. Alsina, took over the presidency succeeding Amadeu Jori, of Jori Armengol & Associats.

 

In his farewell address, Amadeu Jori, mentioned the challenges during the last five years which tested the resilience, entrepreneurship and courage of the Catalonian family business, first with the political tensions derived from the October 2017 events, later with the unexpected advent of the pandemic and finally the war in Ukraine, a soaring inflation, supply chain related shortages, as well as economic and social uncertainty.

He placed emphasis on the Association’s mission to further the ESG culture at the heart of the companies, and thus reminded the triple commitment, commercial, social and environmental, that was subscribed during the last Family Business Conference. We, the family enterprises, he said, are the ones who have to drive this change which will not come from governments or public administrations. A change towards a humanistic capitalism which, leaving behind the School of Chicago postulates, leads us to a more habitable, dignified and prosperous world for future generations.

He also referred the relationships that have been established with Foment del Treball, Pimec, Aijec, FemCat, Cambra de Comerç, Fira de Barcelona and other entities of the business and economic realm to join efforts and take joint actions aimed at improving the Catalonian productive fabric.

He mentioned the ongoing dialog with the Generalitat Government to which they have communicated their clear and plain stance regarding the infrastructure deficit and the need for a regulatory framework improvement to stimulate the growth of companies, as well as the convenience of a tax relief to support competitiveness with other companies from the European Union and other Spanish Communities who are playing with a head start. He also insisted that family enterprises are the driving force for the country’s economy as well as its source of prosperity and progress. He reminded that the Association is made up of 114 leading family enterprises with an aggregated turnover of 33,000 million euros.

 

Finally, with the Board of Director’s consensus, he proposed Jaume Alsina as the new President whose nomination was approved by the Assembly.

Jaume Alsina, have been a Secretary to ASCEF’s Board of Directors and a member of its Executive Committee since 2017. He is a Bachelor in Economic and Business Science from the Pompeu Fabra University, completed a post-bachelor’s in leadership at ESADE and holds a Senior Business Management Degree from IESE. He is currently the CEO of Encofrats J. Alsina.

ASCEF and Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce get together to drive the family business activity and competitiveness

This agreement values the weight of the family business in the territory’s productive fabric and its main objective is to propel actions and services to further the growth of this sector.

 

Barcelona, June 14th, 2022.- The Catalonian Association of Family Business (ASCEF, acronym in Spanish) and Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce held an event last Tuesday to formalize a collaboration agreement aimed at divulging the family business’ role launching it into the Catalonian economic world. In this way, the agreement will promote the development and implementation of projects to further the growth of the productive fabric and will also promote the services developed by the Barcelona’s Chamber for the business sector.

The agreement was subscribed by the President of Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce, Mònica Roca i Aparici, and ASCEF’s President, Amadeu Jori, whereby they undertake to define initiatives and lines of actions to motivate synergies between both organizations, and to offer mutual support to share the resources and common spaces that could propel the activity and competitiveness of the business family.

The event was also attended by ASCEF’s director, Isabel del Sol, and the Director of Competitive and Institutional Relationships of the Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce, Xavier Ricart.

In this way, the Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce provides ASCEF different services, tools, and spaces to develop their communication and promotional operations like its involvement in European projects, education on business, access to the Woman, Business, Enterprise Watch (ODEE, acronym in Spanish), among others. On the other hand, ASCEF is committed to collaborate with the creation of action content in order to drive the activity and competitiveness of the family business, as well as with the promotion of the actions that would be developed in the agreement.

 

 

The Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce is driving a new economic model:
The Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce offers transverse services to enterprises contributing to the economic and business development of the whole productive fabric. As a route map, the corporation adopts Project Cataluña 2030/40 with the goal of building a new economic model which help outline a Catalonia that would be more internationally involved, socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and with high added value.

ASCEF, an organization serving the family business:
The Catalonian Association of Family Business (ASCEF), is an organization constituted in 1998 supported by the Family Business Institute (IEF, acronym in Spanish) and made up of over 100 representative enterprises of the Catalonian business grid. The entities that form it have an outstanding role in the country’s economy and are companies dedicated to the creation of wealth, employment, territory and sustainability.

 

 

 

 

Family Businesses of strategic sectors demand long-term policies and tax cuts to check inflation

Madrid, April 12th. – Entrepreneurs of family enterprises operating in strategic sectors, like energy, raw materials and road transportation have advocated for tax cuts instead of direct government aids to the industries impacted by the energy price hike. Similarly, given the significant structural weak points in these sectors which were exposed by the war in Ukraine, they have asked the executive branch for long-term policies aimed at reducing reliance on third countries.

This was expressed by Héctor Dominguis, CEO for GDES, a company based in Valencia; José Luis González Pescador, CEO for ABC Logistic, based in Cantabria and Pedro Palomo, CEO for Octaviano Palomo, based in Segovia; during a new session of the conference series “The Family Business Shares”, held in Madrid intended to look into the impact of the Ukraine war on the Spanish economy and companies.

This series is organized by the network of Family Business Regional Associations and sponsored by Credit Suisse.

According to Héctor Dominguis, CEO of GDES, a company in Valencia specialized in services for the energy sector, what the Ukraine war has done is accelerate and aggravate a long-standing energy crisis that have brought into light the weakness of the energy strategy in Spain. In his opinion, “the energy strategy needs to be planned years in advance with the purpose of reducing an excessive reliance on third countries, as it is the case of Spain”.

He believes that the debate about energy in Spain suffers from excessive politicization and should be guided instead by scientific and technological criteria. He defined a combination of energy sources that could limit the dependency on third countries and allow to maintain price stability. “With scientific data at hand, it makes no sense to consider shutting down nuclear plants in Spain over the next 10 years, and bet on combined cycles if there are tensions in the gas supply; on the other hand, nuclear power generation releases the same amount of CO2 than wind power, and have the same or a better impact than renewable energies, a fact that is upheld even by the Joint Research Center of the European Union”.

Dominguis explained that there is no country in the world considering an entirely renewable energy mix. “It is an unattainable goal, and if it were, it wouldn’t be advisable. Renewable energy sources constantly change and need to be backed up by a stable source, whether it is gas, coal, or nuclear energy”.

For GDES CEO, amid the current inflation juncture and the economic growth drop, the choice would be to “reduce the tax burden on income, and at the same time it would be desirable to configure a tax frame that would make nuclear energy generation viable”.

 

Inflation stress on the food industry

The food industry is another of the strategic industries, which had already been strained by the price rise of raw materials before the Ukrainian conflict broke out.  “Since 2020, we have had bad cereal crops in some regions of the planet, which caused a supply problem now worsened by the war. It should be noted that Ukraine produces around 30% of the cereal in the world market”, explained Pedro Palomo, CEO for Octavio Palomo, a company in Segovia specialized in trading and distribution of cereals, fertilizers, raw materials for the agri-food industry.

In his opinion, this situation brings on the need to design more strategic crop policies, which extend limits and time frames for the transition to a fully green economy. He also advocated for a “tax reduction to compensate for the loss of competitiveness in the Spanish economy, which had a harder impact than the rest of its European competitors due to an inflation level higher than the European average level”.

 

Week points in the road transportation industry

Among the structural weak points that the Ukraine crisis and the fuel price rise have exposed in the road transportation industry, José Luis González Pescador, CEO for the Cantabrian company, ABC Logistic, mentioned its high atomization. “While Spanish road transportation companies own an average of 3.5 trucks, in Germany this number is 200; on the other hand, in our country there is great dependence on this kind of transportation due to the inefficacy of the railroad sector. Adding to this is a deficit of truck drivers in our road transportation industry caused by low wages, the poor margins of this economic activity and a great uncertainty about which will be the technological standard for the automobile industry in the coming years”.

Aiming at correcting these problems, the Cantabrian businessman spoke in favor of an industry agreement “the least interventionalist possible” intended to improve productivity in the industry; also, with the purpose addressing the current inflation juncture at a short term, he advocated that the government should return the tax increase it is getting through the inflation effect.

Sustainability, Innovation and Social Commitment to be debated at the Forum for youngsters of the Family Business

Under the slogan “We work for a better society”, around 300 youngsters from entrepreneur families of all Spain met last weekend in Santiago de Compostela.

 

Santiago de Compostela, April 4th, 2022. Sustainability, innovation, and commitment are the three pillars around which has pivoted the 18th National Encounter of the Family Forum, which gathered, in Santiago de Compostela last weekend, around 300 young members of entrepreneur families from all over Spain, organized by the Institute of Family Business and the Galician Association of Family Business, with the collaboration of Deloitte and Banco Santander.

The encounter, under the slogan “We work for a better society”, has served as a scene to reassert the commitment of the new generations of family businesses with the daily implementation of ESG standards that address the environmental effects of a company, their impact on the social environment and their communities, as well as the best corporate governance practices, which relate, among other things, to the composition and diversity of a company’s Board of Directors, public communication transparency policies or codes of conduct.

 

The meeting held in Santiago also provides this group of young entrepreneurs a greater understanding of the challenges posed by a family business, being at the same time a venue for mutual acquaintance and exchange of personal and business experiences among the future leaders of the Spanish family enterprises.

On Friday afternoon, the participants in the encounter visited FINSA facilities (Financiara Maderera), a Galician family business dedicated to the wood realm since 1931, which tops 830 million euros in sales and has placed sustainability as the main pillar of its strategy.

 

 

The “Good Santiago Pilgrimage”

The academic session, conducted by the Galician journalist Gladys Vázquez, started on Saturday with the welcoming speech of Inés Rovira, Director of AATT and of the Business Family Institute Forum, who reminded the assisting youngsters that the reunion was a good opportunity to take a time to listen and reflect on “how to work for a better, more modern, technological and human society”. Meanwhile, José Juan Pérez Tabernero, Institutional Relations Director of Santander España advocated for the legacy of the linage family entrepreneurs “to whom we owe the current Spain’s prosperity and stated that “when in addition to taking business ventures you risk your own patrimony, you become a true entrepreneur”. Fernando Vázquez Castro, associate of the family business, Deloitte, noted how the pandemic has taught us about the fragility of everything and, at the same time, has placed value on small things. Lastly, Víctor Nogueira, President of the Galician Family Business Association, compared a family enterprise with the lessons learned from “The Good Pilgrimage of Santiago”: Legacy, history, and a paradigm of how things should be done”.

The energy-technological transition the world is undertaking and the need for this process to be fair and efficient were the focus of this first academic session headed by María Victoria Zingoni, Repsol’s General Manager of Clients and Low Carbon Emissions. Zingoni underscored the critical moment experienced by the energy sector due to such peculiar circumstances as the price hike and the geopolitical situation and conveyed the compelling need to achieve a balance that encompasses the safety in supply, universal access, sustainability, and competitiveness.

 

The unstoppable digital transformation of enterprises

With the title “Technology and Business Globalization in a Sustainable World: from Conflict to Opportunity”, Patricia Riberas, Gestamp Manager of Transformation and Organization, interviewed César Cernuda, Gestamp Advisor and Global Head of NetApp. Cernuda added that the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of companies as part of an irreversible process; in his turn, Riberas stated that in order to approach this movement successfully, family businesses should assume an unrestricted radical cultural change.

The third session focused on the role of young CEOs in family businesses and featured the participation of Jaime Gorbeña, Bergé y Cia Executive President; Julio Iglesias, Grupo Revi Managing Director; Víctor Leal, Board of Directors member of CL Grupo Industrial, and Juan Moya, Persán Vicepresident, who talked about their experiences when taking on the management front lines at their companies. In this way, Gorbeña underscored that we need people around us who can tell us “to keep things clear and alert us when we may be going crazy”. Juan Moya emphasized the importance of having clear paradigms, passion for projects and of keeping egos below the company’s interests. Julio Iglesias indicated that when assuming the greatest responsibility, it was very important for him to know himself and rely on the teams, also to be orderly, practice good habits and have an adequate preparation. In the same way, Víctor Leal noted three aspects to worked on in a conscientious manner: compromise, generosity, and order.

 

A trip of many crashes

Gabriel Torres, Pascual Innova Director; Carlos Gómez, cofounder of 7r Ventures and Cristian Ull, cofounder of Area 101, covered in their panels the challenges faced by organizations in their corporate innovation. Torres reminded that innovation is something as easy as the generation and implementation of novel, amazing and useful ideas that create value, and that family businesses play with an advantage in the innovation field, since they have the sufficient patience to bring projects forward. Carlos Gómez, on his part, challenged the young assistants to the session to “serve as standard-bearers of their companies’ evolution because the business you will be leading are not the ones you know now.” Meanwhile, Cristian Ull revealed that innovation “is a trip of many crashes where you rectify and do things the right way”.

“Osborne 250 years. Legacy and Future”, was the title of the following round table attended by four outstanding members of this business saga: Ignacio Osborne (Grupo Osborne President), Fernando Terry (Managing Director), Rocio Osborne, (Communication and PR Manager for the Group) and Carla Terry (Institutional Relations). Ignacio Osborne cited some significant numbers of this great group: 340 stockholders, 250 years of history, six generations of managers and one family. And a lesson learned through all these years: “Priority of the business over family interests. The family is the silver medal, the company is the gold medal”.

 

Fernando Terry emphasized the vision that has inspired the family to grow the business during these two and a half centuries, while Rocío Osborne expressed that, in her opinion, Spanish family businesses “need to share our values with the international markets”. Carla Terry, on her part, specified some of the projects that the company has set in motion in order to maintain the business spirit in different members of the family branches.

 

The sixth session of the day was led by a group of Galician entrepreneurs: Emilio Froján (founding CEO of Velca), Catalina Fernández (Hifas da Terra President) and Cristina Gamallo (Founder Partner of Situm), and acting as moderator, José Miguel Alonso de Ozalla, responsible for Red de Empresas y Servicios Especializados de Santander España. José Miguel Alonso categorically declared that we are in an era of entrepreneurship in Spain. This was shared by Emilio Froján, who also revealed that “a success case consisted of millions of failures”. Cristina Gamallo, on her part, presented a case illustrating how it is possible to go from research to entrepreneurship, such as the Galician GPS for interiors used in more than 20 countries. For Catalina Fernández, innovation is a question of survival: “Fit or disappear”, she claimed.

 

The day was completed with a presentation entitled “A Story of Growth”, by Carmen Lence, CEO of Grupo Lence-Leche Río, which was presented by Fernando Vázquez Castro, a Deloitte associate responsible for family business. Vázquez reminded the assistants that “you have the privilege to receive the family business, as well as the commitment of passing on the legacy to the next generations”. Lence, in turn, made emphasis on a maxim that she says her father used to repeat: “Life is too short to live it in a mediocre way”.

 

The encounter concluded with the announcement of what will be the venue for the 19th National Encounter of the Family Forum, to be held in 2023 in Zaragoza.

Marc Puig, Mª del Mar Nogareda and Joaquín Serra, a vision of future at the annual ASCEF Meeting

ASCEF Annual Meeting, held last November 25th, featured the participation of Mª del Mar Nogareda, HIPRA Executive Vice-President; Joaquín Serra, NATURA BISSÉ Senior VP & CBDO, and Marc Puig, PUIG Executive President and IEF President, who talked about innovation, sustainability, generational replacement, and other topics related with the family business.

 

With Amadeu Jori, ASCEF President, as a host, Marc Puig mentioned that companies could not work only with profit maximization in mind, but needed to address their stakeholders’ demands, from clients and providers to employees and the community itself, furthering a more humane and sustainable market economy. “Something which is already innate to the family business way of doing things”, he stated

 

Puig also spoke about the company-family relation: “While a company needs hierarchy, a family needs equality. Therefore, it is important to create a system of auto-limitation for the family that help to make objective decisions”.

 

Meanwhile, Mª del Mar Nogareda explained how research and innovation are part of the HIPRA’s DNA, “we not only dedicate 10% of the income to research, but we are also nonconformists and disruptive, with very clear ideas of what we want to do and not to do”. She also talked about the great challenge it means for them, as vaccine experts, to shift from the veterinarian sector to the human sector with the new COVID vaccines they are developing.

 

According to Joaquín Serra, the companies should sustainably manage their activity. “In Natura Bissé, we not only act that way, but also invest a significant percentage of the income on our foundation, which shows how important is corporate social responsibility for us.” Regarding innovation, he specially emphasized that innovation implies principles of passion and persistence.

 

The round table about innovation was moderated by José Luis Blanco, IEF CEO.

 

The meeting also featured a lecture about the Next Generation funds by Banco Santander.

 

The family business succession requires a comprehensive planning with civil, commercial and tax mechanisms

Inheriting a family business requires a planning combining civil, commercial and tax mechanisms. This was one of the main conclusions drawn at a session on family business succession held at the International University of Catalonia, organized by the Department of Family Business, Bosch Aymerich, at UIC Barcelona; the Catalonian Association of Family Business (ASCEF, acronym in Spanish), and the Catalonian Association of Inheritance Right Experts (ACEDS, acronym in Spanish).

Several experts on succession matters discussed the main challenges faced by family business, which, in Catalonia, represent 88.3% of all private companies, contribute 69% of value added tax (VAT) and create 76% of the private sector employment.

According to ASCEF President, Amadeu Jori, “the importance of a well-planned succession, the tax aspects derived from takeovers, the corporate governance bodies, and the importance of legal security are vital points affecting the family business survival”.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Family Business Department, Bosch Aymerich, Jordi Juan, highlighted the importance of combining different tools when planning a family business succession: “It is necessary to integrate the commercial, civil and tax visions to be able to respond to the problems involved in the family business takeover”. De Juan also referred to the issue of tax litigation in family businesses.

The session also featured the intervention of Josep María Cervera, professor at Barcelona University; ACEDS President, Ramón Pratdesaba; Crowe’s partner, Ramón Santos; Ebrat Advocate’s founder, Alejandro Ebrat, and Emma Sánchez Corretger, CIM Tax & Legal partner and ACEDS Tax Counsel Coordinator.

 

The business families must not allow marriage, divorce and other personal situations to affect the patrimony

Events that normally remain within the private family sphere, like marriage, divorce, conflict, generational rivalry, or death, carry great implications for family businesses. It is essential to identify, understand and foresee them in order to preserve harmony and family patrimony. These and other aspects were covered at the conference “Which Family Situations May Jeopardize the Family Business”, held last week and organized by ASCEF and Cuatrecasas.

According to Cuatrecasas, the family business needs to be aware of these situations that may affect the business project, making it necessary to think about both current and future family compositions.  It was also underscored at the conference that family, business, and ownership are three different aspects, yet linked to family unity. The business family needs to have response mechanisms in the event of these kind of situations that may put the business continuity at risk.

The success of the recovery, transformation and resilience plan will depend on spending the predetermined amount and multiplying it with private funds, according to PwC

PwC, one of the country’s leading consultancy firms, believes that the success of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (RTRP) will depend on the ability to spend the pre-determined amount and multiply it with private funds, as well as the effectiveness in channelling the funds towards relevant and necessary investments for the transformation of our economy. PwC was the organiser of the conference “EUROPEAN FUNDS NEXT GENERATION”, with the participation of Ignacio Marull, partner in charge of PwC in Catalonia and Anna Merino, Strategy & Economics Director at PwC Spain.

The conference explained how the RTRP approved by the EU consists of 30 components with 110 investment plans and 102 reforms. For its part, Catalonia has its own agenda and approved the New Generation Plan with 27 distinctive projects and 50 outstanding projects.

It is estimated that Catalonia will receive more than 3,300 million in both direct aid and soft loans.
Some of the components will have an indirect impact on companies through public employment, while others will provide direct aid in the form of subsidies for the modernisation and digitalisation of the business fabric.
The event was attended by a large number of Ascef members and counted with the participation of Amadeu Jori, President of Ascef.

 

Attaining levels of excellence and good governance in family business requires their stockholder partners to carry out their roles with knowledge and rigor

The education of family business stockholders is essential for the good performance of the family business, and it is fundamental that current and future owners have the necessary knowledge.  Under this premise, the Catalonian Family Business Association (ASCEF) successfully organized a new edition of the family business stockholding partner education program, led by experts from the law office Cuatrecasas.

The session was conceived with the purpose of providing tools of knowledge that could help develop their stockholder role with responsibility, since in order to reach the levels of excellence and good governance in the family business it is necessary that partners carry out their roles with knowledge and rigor.  The quality of decision making will depend on the knowledge and information provided to company members. Eventually, investment of resources on the education of stockholding partners helps gain the family business members’ interest and involvement in the company.

This is why it is fundamental to convey to successive generations the importance of protecting the family and business legacy and that this interest in education be transmitted to next generations as an element inherent to the responsibility of every family business partner, whether involved or not in management.

This session was divided into three differentiated parts: stockholding partners rights and duties, legacy protection in personal situations and company specific tax specifications, as well as individual partner taxation.

ASCEF holds its General Assembly

Last Tuesday, June 22nd, the Catalonian Association of Family Business (ASCEF), held its General Assembly virtually attended by a wide representation of its associates.  At this event, the 2020 accounts and the 2021 budget were approved, and a record of completed activities was presented.

ASCEF President, Amadeu Jori, spoke to the organization members about the pandemic which, he said, “caused a deep, sudden and unexpected health, economic and social crisis that impacted us all with more or less severity“. For Jori, many companies have been examples of a capacity for renewal, innovation, and transformation in their quest for competitiveness, a defining trait of the family business. In the face of the economic crisis, ASCEF President highlighted the importance of private-public collaboration and the need to convey these messages to public administrations.

The Assembly ended with a lecture by Pablo Foncillas, business innovation educator and researcher, who spoke about consuming trends and digital transformation.

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