ICEX-INVEST IN SPAIN

Murcia

AES Corporation

Interview with Francisco Ficara, Director of AES Corporation.

1. Why did AES Corporation choose the Region of Murcia to produce and sell its electrical energy?
AES is a multinational company. We are in several countries around the world. One of the missions of AES is to help the people of those countries through our business activity. We chose the Region of Murcia for its location and the opportunity to help the region and the country.

2. What advantages has the Region of Murcia offered for the development of your business?
We are a power station. We generate electricity at our 1200-megawatt power station. There are various factors in the region which led us to set up a power station here in the Region of Murcia. One of these was its geography. Murcia, or Cartagena, where we are located, is close to the sea. There are port facilities nearby, and so we’re in a good location in terms of infrastructure. Another thing is that the people of the region are very capable, qualified…all of these factors together led us to set up a power station here.

3. Has AES Corporation reached its expectations since coming to the Region of Murcia?
I would say it has. At least in terms of the financial aspect of the project, we have achieved our main aims. And then, over the years we have succeeded in setting up the power station, which has been in operation for two years. And I would say yes, we have succeeded in achieving our main aims.

4. What do you think of the level of skill of human resources in the Region of Murcia?
The Region of Murcia, primarily Cartagena, where we are located, is an industrial region. There are many facilities that offer various business activities. We have the refinery here, and so these factors together provide us with the best personnel.
We have good electricians, good technicians, good engineers…. And that, let’s say, is one of the most important things for us.

5. What are the future prospects for your company in the Region of Murcia?
Our concession here lasts until 2027, and so we have more or less 20 years left here. We will be here until 2027- 2028. So I think that the region will give us some growth opportunities which we can look at. We may find other business opportunities to help the people in the Region of Murcia.

6. Is the Region of Murcia a good place to live?
Yes, I think it is. As the Spaniards say, this is the land the sun calls home. It is a very good place to live, the people are very nice, very qualified and as I said before, we have the best personnel we could have.
So I think that yes, it’s a good place to live.

7. Why did AES Corporation choose the Region of Murcia to produce and sell its electrical energy?
AES is a multinational company. We are in several countries around the world, and one of the aims of AES is to support the growth and development of the people of these different countries.
We had the opportunity to come here to southern Spain. And I think we chose a very good region to carry out our mission.

8. What advantages has the Region of Murcia offered for the development of your business?
The Region of Murcia is in a very good location.
We are in Cartagena, in the southern part of the Region of Murcia and in southern Spain. We are close to the sea, which is very important for a power station such as ours.
We have 1200 megawatts; we produce electricity. So it is very important to be close to the sea. And another important thing is that we have a great deal of infrastructure around our facilities, this makes it easier for us to produce electricity at our station.

Premium Ingredients

Interview with Mr. Henrik Stamm, General Director.

1. Why did Premium Ingredients choose the Region of Murcia, together with Barcelona, as the location for your company?
11 years ago, when we were planning to set up Premium, I was living in Catalonia. We looked at various options, including Catalonia, Madrid and different places in southern Spain. As you know, when you think about establishing a company, you are guided by details such as who you know.
When we visited Murcia, we saw that the cost of setting up the company and the land for it would be quite a bit more profitable that in the Madrid and Barcelona region, so we decided that the ideal location would be Murcia, with the idea that the business model we needed had to be as inexpensive as possible.

2. What advantages has the Region of Murcia offered for the development of your business?
Looking back 11 years, Murcia was, of course, a region close to the Mediterranean with excellent road transport links with northern Spain, as well as good access via ports, which gave us the possibility of transporting merchandise out of Murcia.
Historically, this region has had a lot of activity in the fruits and vegetables business, and so transport companies and the availability of services had the same level as any other region of northern Spain.

3. Has Premium reached its expectations since coming to the Region of Murcia?
In fact, Premium Ingredients has exceeded our expectations after 11 years, because after setting up in Murcia with a modest factory, not only have we been able to grow in terms of business structure, but we have also been able to bring Murcia to the rest of the world, in the sense that our products are sold in different countries around the world, in addition to Murcia and the rest of Spain. We use our infrastructure in Murcia as a base for sending our products to Russia, the Middle East, India, the Americas…and so we can say that we are very satisfied with the results obtained up to now.

4. What do you think of the level of skill of human resources in the Region of Murcia?
Nowadays, I think that the area of human resources is one of the most essential, and in terms of the human resources in Murcia, I believe that there are a lot of skilled and qualified people. It is also clear that industrially speaking, Murcia is not as strong as Madrid or Barcelona. However, there are more available qualified people than in other industrial and economic regions of Spain.
At our company, employees have been chosen from among the residents and citizens of the Region of Murcia and we have incorporated them into our corporate philosophy. Today, we aren’t at all concerned about future growth, because we know that we can get people and the appropriate qualifications within the Region of Murcia.

5. What are the future prospects for your company in the Region of Murcia?
Our strategy is clearly concentrated around our Murcia plant being our main plant for the world. But on the other hand, nowadays, in terms of industrial structure, you have to have a presence in different markets and various places around the world. However, today our Murcia plant functions as our main headquarters, and it will continue to do so. As you know, we have technical facilities in various locations. Currently, we have a new technical facility in Girona, north of Barcelona, and we will also be setting up technical plants in other parts of the world where we can find the necessary technical staff. But again, I repeat that there is no question that we are satisfied with where we are at the current moment, and we intend to keep our main offices in the Region of Murcia.

6. Is the Region of Murcia a good place to live?
Murcia is a good place to live. It’s a place where you have the sea, the mountains…and a good quality of life.
I live in the mountains and it takes me seven minutes to get to the city center. There are also municipal and international schools. If I had to point to the most important thing about Murcia in comparison with larger cities like Barcelona and Madrid, or even other locations, I would say that it’s possible to get to any part of the city in 15-20 minutes. In my opinion, Murcia offers very good quality of life and many possibilities for enjoying personal life, outside of work.

Sabic

With almost twenty years in our region, the company SABIC (formerly GE Plastics) is a world leader in the chemicals and plastics sector. The initial investment made in 1989 has led to successive investments in stages to expand the capacity of the plant and give it more technologically advanced processes each time.

In 2007, GE’s plastics division was purchased by the multinational SABIC.

Today, SABIC (formerly GE Plastics) has the world’s most important engineering plastics manufacturing complex in Cartagena, exceeding the company’s Indiana plant in terms of production, pushing it in to second place. With the latest investment planned for the polyether plant (ULTEM), SABIC will have invested 1,639 million euros in the Region of Murcia, making it the largest foreign industrial investment in Spain in history (except for investments for purchases and mergers and acquisitions). This large industrial complex will employ around 650 highly qualified people, and total production for the plant will be 484,000 tons.

This investment in the region has had significant collateral impact. Around 123 million euros have been invested by other companies, attracted by SABIC’s development, such as gas separation plants, a cogeneration plant within SABIC’s own facilities (90 million euros) and logistics centers, with the indirect jobs created numbering around 3,500. In addition, it has helped to substantially improve the balance of trade of the region, as 80% of production is exported to customers all around the world, as well as other production centers of the SABIC group. Imports and exports have led the Port of Cartagena to significantly increase its goods traffic, with 10 million euros being invested in a new port terminal. (It is estimated that the impact on the Port of Cartagena is 570,000 tons a year.) Other effects of SABIC’s investment have been beneficial, for example, the re-opening of the Gas Natural plant in Cartagena.

The main qualities found in the Region of Murcia which led SABIC to make it a strategic center for the company, in contrast with the other options with which Murcia was in competition at the time, can be summarized as:

  • People.
  • Industry.
  • Political and business stability.
  • Infrastructure development.
  • The permit process.

These five characteristics are the main competitive advantages which SABIC (and initially GE Plastics) found in Murcia around twenty years ago when embarking on its investments.
As well as:
• Availability of qualified human resources.
• An existing port to export goods.
• Regional incentives policy of the central and autonomous community governments.

It should also noted that the majority of the polycarbonate produced at the La Aljorra plant is sent abroad, meaning that the Port of Cartagena plays an important role in its activities.

The Port of Cartagena is an essential asset for SABIC’s activities in Cartagena. The transport of raw materials and the export of finished products are channeled through the port.

Takasago

Interview with Hitoshi Kondo, President of TAKASAGO.

1. Takasago International Corporation is in thirty countries. Why did you choose the Region of Murcia as the site for your plant in Spain?
We have three main activities: chemical fragrances, flavorings and perfumes.
Chemical ingredients for flavorings and fragrances: we need almost 2000 ingredients to produce flavorings and fragrances.
We have 30 factories in various regions of the world, but we only have two chemical synthesis factories. The first is in Japan and now we have one in Spain. Originally, we didn’t have any other plants outside Japan. But as you know, we are at risk from earthquakes, and so we had to plan for risk management. Then we looked in various places to ensure our production and the supply of products. We looked in the United States and in Europe. In addition, Takasago uses very advanced technology and we required people who could take responsibility for the advanced technology in the chemicals field. Finally, we found the company known as ACEDESA. Now it is TICSA, but the previous company, ACEDESA, was perfect for introducing our technology. In addition, the Region of Murcia is generally very stable, including economically, the reason why we chose this company and also Murcia and Spain.

2. Why do you think that your Murcia plant is one of the company’s most important?
As I already said, we only have two chemical synthesis plants in the world.
Therefore, if we lost this activity, we would not be competing with our competitors in our main activities, which are flavorings and fragrances. We need a stable supply of materials and also affordable ingredients for fragrances and flavorings. For this reason, TICSA and our plant in Japan are very important factories for us.
As I have already mentioned, we only have two factories which produce chemical perfumes, and we need these perfumes because our primary activities are principally centered on flavorings and fragrances. This activity needs more than 2,000 ingredients. We have to supply these materials to Japan. This is why these two factories are very important for us.

3. Do you think that production costs are competitive in the Region of Murcia?
That’s a difficult question to answer. We have to be technologically advanced to be able to compete with developing counties.

4. Do you think that factors such as the weather, customs, cuisine and the cost of living in the region influence the activity of your company?
We are producing chemicals, and as a chemical company, environmental factors shouldn’t affect us. Even if we were in a place hotter than 50ºC or a cold place at -40º C, we would still have to do the same thing. Now that we can live here, we don’t need special conditions to prepare our products. However, before coming here, in my case, I worked in Paris, and during the winter we didn’t see the sun every day.
However, in Murcia we can enjoy the sun. It is a good place and its clear, blue sky motivates us. The people are caring and that’s good for us.

5. Did the quality of life in the Region of Murcia have an influence on your decision to set up here?
That’s also a little difficult to answer. Before, a chemical company wasn’t influenced by nature, but now we have to coexist with the environment, and especially in the case of Murcia, there are a lot of factors or circumstances which are part of nature. This is a good challenge for us, to survive together with nature.

6. Do you think the Region of Murcia is a good place to live?
Yes, I like Murcia. I just got here two or three weeks ago, but as I mentioned, I can enjoy the good climate. It’s a little cold now, but I think the weather is nice.
There are also many people in the city of Murcia. We can go shopping, among other options.And I hope that we will have an airport closer to the city of Murcia. That would be a big benefit to us.

Last updated: 28|11|2016

The information on these pages was prepared by each autonomous community

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