from El País
These firms have increased turnover and either maintained or expanded their
workforce. The secrets of their success have been an international outlook, a
management style that is willing to take risks in under-exploited market
niches, financial prudence to avoid being crushed by debt, investment in
technology and the promotion of talent.
The Spanish businesses that have grown at sustainable rates over the last
decade, notes ESADE Business School professor Xavier Mendoza, are those that
based their activity on innovation and foreign markets.
They are companies like Mercadona, the distribution and supermarket chain,
which succeeded through financial brawn, good management and talent. In other
cases, internationalization allowed fashion retailers Inditex and Mango and the
services and construction group OHL to become mostly independent from domestic
consumption. Meanwhile, innovation has enabled the healthcare company Grifols
to gain a foothold in a sector ruled by large pharmaceutical companies.
Mendoza explains that innovation ensures the creation of well-paid, highly
specialized jobs. "Winning companies incorporate more knowledge and pay
their employees above-average salaries."
Other winners include firms that took advantage of the crisis to gain market
share, such as the discount supermarket chain Día or the telecoms company Jazztel.
Acquisitions helped Banco Sabadell, the private security firm Prosegur, and
Agroalimen, a producer of food and consumer goods.
"Spanish companies that are doing well, crisis or no crisis, are those
that continue to invest even though the environment is not favorable to
it," says Sebastián Giménez, a partner at McKinsey & Company.
- MERCADONA. The secret to the success of the Mediterranean-based
supermarket chain, which saw profits increase fivefold over the last decade, is
that customers appreciate its focus on value. This is the way it has gained
market share, says Sebastián Giménez of McKinsey. "And it didn't need a
crisis to achieve it."
ESADE's Mendoza adds that Mercadona listened to the market and lowered its
prices, making customers even more loyal. Since the onset of the crisis in
2007, turnover grew by nearly four billion euros to nearly 18 billion euros and
its workforce grew by 10,000. Meanwhile, its network of supermarkets has
ballooned from fewer than 700 a decade ago to 1,400. Last year, Mercadona
invested 600 million euros.