Prodiel, a Sevillian multinational specializing in the promotion, development and construction of large scale renewable energy production plants, closed in 2021 with a Negative EBITDA (operating result excluding depreciation, interest or exceptional items) of 105 million euros and after-tax losses of 167 million euros, compared to the positive 2020 Ebitda (111 million) and the total result for that year (91 million). Invoicing was also reduced by more than half: from 661 million to 334.
The very negative result – as explained by the vice-president of the office – Miguel Some Dominguez, in a virtual meeting with several media companies – to a very complicated situation of rising commodity prices, difficulties in transporting materials and delays in processing projects of public administration. This created a perfect storm that crippled the projects Prodiel had in its portfolio (around four gigawatts) and accelerated an investor’s entry that had been planned for several years.
The multinational has decided to absorb the costs already incurred from these halted projects and include them in its 2021 balance sheet, and it has made agreements with customers in three of the four gigabytes in its portfolio to reflect the completed projects. This does not mean that they are not performed, but that the counter is reset to zero in anticipation of future renegotiation of the terms.
“We were extremely conservative on the balance sheet and We have prepared everything as if we would never do a construction project. The value of our subsidiaries becomes zero, we have written it off”, explains Miguel Somé, Vice President of the company who also presides over Betis President Ángel Haro.
According to Somé, the good thing about “providing whatever can be taken care of” is that Prodiel can only grow. “Now we are in the -5. floor of the parking garage and the only thing we can do is go upstairs,” he says.
In this context, the group is looking for a new configuration that will allow it to overcome the crisis and be a major player in the future.
To do this, he first solved the Commercial debts with suppliers, which amounted to 100 million euros. A part, 70 million, is already settled thanks to the proceeds of 80 million from the sale of a project portfolio of one gigabyte to Smartenergy. And the remaining 30 million have been refinanced, which means, according to Somé, “there are no more overdue debts with suppliers”.
Second, it has 114 million bank debt restructuredso that it has reached a grace period of one year to pay interest and pay off the debt by June 2025. Prodiel was advised in the negotiations by Cuatrecasas and Amura Partners and the banks of Price, FTI Consulting and Gómez -Acebo y Pombo office.
The completion of the debt restructuring, both commercial and financial, within seven months has allowed Prodiel to avoid a bankruptcy filing and even a pre-bankruptcy filing. “It’s true that it protects, but it also makes noise and costs reputation,” says Somé. He also didn’t have to create a work order file (ERE). Once the projects were completed, the workforce was reduced and at the Seville headquarters the workforce was reduced by 7% through agreed redundancies. 594 people currently work at Prodiel.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, Prodiel assumes that a investor partners Join the company at the end of the year to take over the production of 15 new gigawatts in Spain and the rest of Europe. This is the lifeline of the group and implies entering into the capital of this partner – which would mainly be used for financing – and diluting the stakes of the current shareholders. The company is currently 45% owned by Ángel Haro, President of Betis, another 45% by the Catalan family Godia (45%) and José María Vicente (10%).
Prodiel’s intention is to “join a larger group that has all the businesses except those we contribute: development and construction; and which, above all, has investment capacity”. The latter will allow Prodiel to offer the necessary financial guarantee, which it currently does not have due to its own situation.
Logically, Somé doesn’t reveal too many details of the negotiation. It just says it’s making “reasonable progress” and so on He’s hoping for it to materialize by the end of this year or early next year.
For 2022, the company expects further losses, albeit not as high as in the previous year. The speed of recovery, explains Somé, will depend on the urgency of public administrations when it comes to releasing the pending cases.