The investment policy chosen by La Caixa since the change in its management imposed by Isidro Fainé when he appointed Ángel Simón CEO of Criteria, allows us to already intuit what its project is for an industrial corporation with secure, profitable business interests and at the same time designed to a different economy than a few decades ago, when the Catalan group began to structure its model. The new strategic plan that the newly launched executive team is developing. With more flexible investment criteria, capable of evolving according to changes in the economy. Investments that imply influence, decision-making capacity, direct dialogue with political power and consequently also enable La Caixa to participate in the definition of the country’s economic model.

The new structure includes a strategic portfolio and a diversification portfolio, the duration of which is shorter than the first. The crown jewels are in the first; In the second are the new ones, such as the announced purchase of 9.4% of the infrastructure company ACS, chaired by Florentino Pérez. 

The strategic investments segment is made up of holdings with a commitment to a long-term presence, with the guarantee of defending their independence and industrial policies, with active involvement in their transcendental decisions. These are CaixaBank, Naturgy and Telefónica. Companies that define current Spanish capitalism, operating in large essential sectors, finance, energy and telecommunications. Highly regulated and to whose preservation La Caixa will allocate money and efforts. 

CaixaBank is at the origin of its own existence, the century-old Caixa d’Estalvis, and around it it has become the leading bank in the Spanish market. In Naturgy, La Caixa has been involved for decades and has always reached for its checkbook when it has seen its independence in danger, for which in the past it even bought a large package in Repsol, to prevent the oil company from considering absorbing the gaswoman. Now it is preparing for a new disbursement in a public takeover bid (takeover bid) to share its control in a stable manner with the Emirati group Taqa and protect it from the ups and downs associated with capital funds, short-sighted and short-sighted investors. industrial and strategic and which together account for almost 60% of the capital of the gas company. Criteria could increase its package from the current 27% to around 40%.

The same has happened in the case of Telefónica, where Fainé is vice president and is the most senior member of its board. The announcement of the entry of the Saudi STC and its objective of reaching 10% of the Spanish operator triggered alarms in the Pedro Sánchez government; also in the headquarters of La Caixa, in the towers of Barcelona’s Diagonal, which launched itself to reinforce its participation. Now it will end up having 10%, which would equal the Saudi presence and also that of the public SEPI. Which will grant Criteria identical rights as any other shareholder of the telecommunications company.

In response to what Fainé repeatedly expressed, in this strategic portfolio the only thing missing is to add Agbar, the multinational group focused on the comprehensive management of the water cycle, in which La Caixa always maintained a controlling stake, but which is now in the hands of the Veolia French. The next movements will be directed in that direction.

In the so-called diversification portfolio, the investments do not have the same strategic nature, but they meet the requirements of solvency, attractive dividend, security and trust in partners and managers, and operations in more evolved sectors of the economy. This is, once again, the case of ACS, with whose president and first shareholder, Florentino Pérez, it maintains close relations and has shared business operations for decades and which has left behind the construction company scheme to define itself as an operator of advanced infrastructures. intelligent and digitized. Multinational operator, the Spanish market represents less than 10% of its business and it operates in the United States and Australia. In the latter country focused on mining and the extraction of essential raw materials for the industry.

This group of investments is completed with the participation in Colonial, in which La Caixa was already present before the real estate crisis and which is chaired by another old acquaintance of Fainé, Juanjo Brugera. Undervalued on the stock market with respect to its profits and the value of its portfolio, it is also considered a safe value by Criteria.

Finally, there remains 3% of Puig, which recently went public. A family business, third generation, that announces a trajectory of growth and expansion in which La Caixa sees a future and performance.