(Bloomberg) — Rafael del Pino, the billionaire chairman of builder Ferrovial SA, became the latest businessman to be publicly criticized by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez after announcing plans to move his company’s headquarters to the Netherlands.
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There are businessmen who are committed to Spain, but “this is not the case with Mr. Del Pino,” Sánchez said at a press conference in Copenhagen on Thursday evening. He added that the government will assess the legality of Ferrovial’s decision to move to the Netherlands.
Del Pino joins Banco Santander SA chairman Ana Botín and Iberdrola SA chairman Ignacio Galán as name-and-disgrace targets of Sánchez, who has had tense relations with parts of Spain’s business community since becoming prime minister in 2018. banks and energy companies last year, Sánchez said criticism of the taxes by Botin and Galan was proof that the government was doing the right thing.
Ferrovial announced its move to the Netherlands on February 28. In a subsequent filing on Thursday, the company said the move, which will list shares in Amsterdam, aims to help the company access cheaper credit and become more attractive to equity investors in the future. of subsequent listing in the US. It also cited tax reasons and legal certainty.
Following the announcement, Sanchez’s junior coalition partner, the far-left party Unidas Podemos, has said it will propose legislation to force companies that relocate production or operations abroad to relinquish all state aid and subsidies they have received over the past decade. to pay back.
Although Del Pino rarely speaks in public, he is known for being critical of Sánchez and his Socialist-led government. Earlier this year, Ferrovial sponsored an event where the opposition leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, was the main speaker. Speaking for Feijóo, Del Pino said it is important to make Spain attractive to investors.
Del Pino controls about 20% of Ferrovial and two of his siblings together control another 12%. The company was founded in the 1950s by his father, also known as Rafael del Pino.
The current chairman oversaw the company’s international expansion, which saw it generate about 80% of sales outside of Spain last year. Aside from construction, the company is also a major infrastructure operator, including Heathrow Airport and toll roads in Toronto and Dallas. The company has also been awarded the contract to build and operate a terminal at New York’s JFK Airport.
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