Dynamic economic intelligence report #11: November 2023 Analysis of multinational expansion

This information note provides a structural analysis of the business fabric of the main multinational companies and industrial groups in the province of Alicante and Spain, their sectors of activity and specialization, and their geographical location. To locate them on the map, we will use the main stock market index of the country, the IBEX 35, and the turnover data of the main companies in the country. The major groups in our country specialize in the banking sector, tourism, oil, energy, construction, food and telecommunications. As for their location, the vast majority are located in the capital of Spain, Madrid, while the rest are scattered in a very residual way in other provinces with great economic relevance such as A Coruña, Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao or Valencia, among others.

With respect to Alicante’s business fabric and the characteristics of the subsidiaries of foreign companies located in our country, SMEs stand out, where Alicante is comparatively at a disadvantage compared to the national level, since it has a smaller presence of large or very large companies. This data is in line with those obtained in the previous dynamic notes for the smaller size of Alicante companies compared to the national level, although it is true that in recent years there has been an increase in the average size of Alicante companies.

Both for regional data and for foreign affiliates, the Services sector stands out, followed by Commerce and Industry. Services, in general, also has the highest number of large companies both in the Valencian Community (the data is only available at the Autonomous Community level with this type of breakdown) and in foreign companies. This trend is repeated in international subsidiaries regardless of the country of origin of their parent company, with the exception of the Asian area where Commerce predominates.

This note will be complemented with the dynamic Note 12 on the monitoring of companies established in the province and with the bimonthly report 6 on the global expansion and situation of Alicante.
Structure of the multinational ecosystem in Spain.

The composition of the ecosystem of leading Spanish companies and multinationals is very heterogeneous. Within the IBEX 35, we locate companies specialized in the following sectors: Construction (4 companies dedicated); to Renewable energies (2); Ore, metals and transformation (2); Transport and distribution (3); Electronics and software (2); Banks and savings banks (6); Telecommunications and others (2); Electricity and gas (5); Engineering and others (1); Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology (2); Textile, clothing and footwear (1); Insurance (1); Leisure, tourism and hospitality (1); SOCIMI (1) and Petroleum (1).

By location, the vast majority are located in the capital Madrid: Acciona; Acciona Energía; Acerinox; ACS; Aena; Amadeus IT Group; Bankinter; Cellnex Telecom; Enagás; Endesa; Ferrovial; IAG; Indra Sistemas; Inmobiliaria Colonial; Mapfre; Merlin Properties, Naturgy; Red Eléctrica Corporación; Repsol; Laboratorios Rovi; Logista; Sacyr; Solaria Energía y Medio Ambiente; Telefónica. Only two provinces have more than one company in the IBEX 35 outside the Spanish capital: Barcelona (Fluidra, Grifols) and Bilbao (BBVA and Iberdrola). The rest have one: Alicante – Banco Sabadell; Santander – Banco Santander; Valencia – Caixabank; A Coruña – Inditex; Palma de Mallorca – Meliá Hotels International; Luxembourg – ArcelorMittal; and Málaga – Unicaja Banco.

However, in Spain there are also important groups of companies, several of them multinationals, such as Grupo el Corte Inglés or Mercadona, which are not in the IBEX 35, as well as subsidiaries of large foreign multinationals that have a large presence in our country, such as the main automobile brands. We can find them in the top 15 companies with the highest turnover in Spain: 1st Mercadona; 2nd Repsol Petróleo; 3rd Compañía Española de Petróleos; 4th Cepsa; 5th Repsol Comercial; 6th Endesa; 7th Inditex; 8th El Corte Inglés; 9th Sociedad Estatal de Loterías y Apuestas del Estado; 10th Seat; 11th Iberdrola; 12th Carrefour; 13th Gas Natural; 14th Telefónica; 15th Iberdrola Clientes.

By sectors, Oil (4), Commerce (3), Telecommunications (1), Textile and fashion (1), Automobile (1) and Gaming (1) stand out. The following multinationals to appear in the next positions of the ranking are practically all from the automotive sector, supermarket lines, energy and telecommunications (Renault, Peugeot, Repsol Trading, Mercedes-Benz, LIDL, Opel, Orange, BP Energy, DÍA…).

Like the IBEX 35 companies, most of the companies with the highest turnover in Spain are also located in Madrid (11), with the rest in Valencia (1), Barcelona (1), Vizcaya (1) and A Coruña (1).

Characteristics of the business structure in Alicante

Throughout the period of recovery from the pandemic crisis, the business fabric of Alicante has shown a positive trend, increasing the number of companies at a growth rate of 2% for the year 2022 as a whole. Alicante is one of the main provinces in terms of company creation, both in terms of gross number and year-on-year growth. These data reflect the potential muscle of the province’s economic and business fabric, showing its entrepreneurial character and business confidence throughout 2022 and the expired quarters of 2023, according to data from the Chamber of Commerce.

INECA (Institute of Economic Studies of the Province of Alicante) points out that the economy of the province is still in a phase of recovery and growth which is ideal for its productive sector to improve its business dimension. They support this affirmation in the positive indicators in the matter of unemployment and affiliation, with perspectives of improvement throughout the year with the foreseeable lowering of the inflationary process. However, they point out that despite the improvement and the increase in the size of the business network in Alicante, its average size (8.6 workers in 2023 compared to 8.5 in 2022) is still lower than the national average (11.4). Very negative data compared to large neighboring cities such as Murcia (11.3) or Valencia (11.1).

According to the latest data available in the INE (year 2022), Alicante only has 94 (90 were in 2021) with more than 250 employees (the standard consideration for large companies according to the number of employees). Of these, 80 have between 250 and 999 employees (compared to 75 the previous year), 11 have between 1000 and 4999 employees (12 were in 2021) and only 3 (one more than in 2021) have more than 5000 employees. Thus, the figure of companies with no employees stands out above all, accounting for around 55% of the total business fabric of Alicante and the figure of SMEs, which accounts for around 45% of the total. The rest, a tiny 0.07%, would be large companies and multinationals.

If we compare this data with two of its main competitors, Malaga and Valencia, Alicante would be the second with the largest number of companies. In terms of company size, Malaga also has 94 large companies, while Valencia has 238. It is worth mentioning that Valencia practically doubles the number of companies in Alicante in any stratum with 250 or more employees. In terms of relevance over the total number of companies, the figure of the company without employees in Valencia (55.2%) is lower than in Alicante (56.04%), while in Malaga it is more important (57.97%). On the side of SMEs, it is in Valencia where they are most important (44.59%), ahead of Alicante (43.9%) and Malaga (41.95%). As for the large groups or companies in these three provinces, Valencia is the most outstanding, since they account for 0.1277% of the total number of companies, while in Malaga, despite having the same number of companies of this size, they have a slightly greater significance over the total number of companies than in Alicante, 0.063% compared to 0.069%.

Regarding business expectations, the harmonized business confidence index (ICEA) for the Valencian Community increases by 2.5% for the second quarter of 2023 (latest available data), compared to the previous quarter. According to the report of the Valencian Institute of Statistics (IVE) this is the first positive data obtained since March 2022, when the fall began. Despite the improvement in Valencian expectations, the business confidence of the businessman of the Comunitat is still below the national average (2.7%), which is experiencing its highest period of growth. However, Alicante also shows a good performance in the ICEA, surely motivated by the good role and performance in the economic recovery, the growth in the number of companies and in job creation in the province, obtaining the highest increase (4.7%) of the Valencian Community, above Valencia (1.3%) and Castellón (1.%).

Large groups operating in Alicante

Looking at the large multinationals or large dominant companies in the Alicante market, the top 102 of companies by turnover accounts for almost 3,000 million euros of the GDP of the province and more than 10,000 jobs in 2022. As the outstanding leader is Bitcoinforme with more than 850 million euros, followed by the mega sports center Sprinter, with around 520 million euros, followed by Baleària with more than 340 million, Aldi with 312 million, Grupo Soledad with 303, Grupo Fernández with 295, Masymas with 285 million (the biggest drop compared to the previous year), Euro Pool System with 211 million, Nexiapharma with 177 million and Banco Sabadell Mediación with 165 million euros.

In employment, the ranking would be as follows: 1st place Sprinter (with 4,105 employees); 2nd Masymas (2,690); 3rd Aldi (1,008); 4th Baleària (866); 5th Soledad Group (697); 6th Fernández Group (549); 7th Euro Pool System (238); 8th Bitcoinforme (78); 9th Nexiapharma (46); and 10th Banco Sabadell Mediación.

On the EBITDA side, a financial indicator that shows the gross operating profit before deducting financial expenses, the top 5 shows gross results above 10 million euros. Here, Balèria does hold the number 1 position with 85.5 million euros, followed by Sprinter (55.7 million), Grupo Soledad (almost 17 million), Masymas (almost 15 million), Banco Sabadell Mediación (almost 12 million), Euro Pool System (9 million), Grupo Fernández (8.7 million), Aldi (8.4 million), Bitconinforme (5.1 million) and Nexiapharma (2.55 million).

On the side of the results obtained for the year 2022, Baleària leads with 45.4 million euros, followed by Sprinter with 34.11 million euros, the Soledad Group with just over 10 million, Banco Sabadell Mediación exceeding 8.4 million, Euro Pool System with 5.5 million, the Fernández Group with almost 4.5 million euros, Masymas with 4.2 million, Bitcoinforme with 3.8 million, Nexiapharma with almost 1.8 million euros and Aldi with just 1.2 million.

By sectors, the commercial activity stands out above all, be it sports fashion, footwear and accessories (Sprinter) or the food branch with the preparation and distribution of food, beverages and drugstores (Aldi, Masymas, Grupo Fernández). Maritime transport of tourists (Baleària), banking and insurance (both Banco Sabadell and its affiliated operator in Alicante), machinery and equipment rental (Euro Pool System), cryptocurrency and blockchain service (Bitcoinforme) or automobile (Soledad Group).

In terms of location, only 4 of the 10 are located in the city of Alicante (Nexiapharma, Euro Pool System, Sprinter and Banco Sabadell), which together with Elche (Bitconinforme and Grupo Soledad) are the only ones with more than one company represented in the ranking. The rest are located in Cox (Grupo Fernández), in Pedreguer (Masymas), in San Isidro (Aldi) and in Denia (Baleària).

Table 1. IBEX 35 companies by location of their headquarters.

Madrid Acciona; Acciona Energía; Acerinox; ACS; Aena; Amadeus IT Group; Bankinter; Cellnex Telecom; Enagás; Endesa; Ferrovial; IAG; Indra Sistemas; Inmobiliaria Colonial; Mapfre; Merlin Properties, Naturgy; Logista; Red Eléctrica Corporación; Repsol; Laboratorios Rovi; Sacyr; Solaria Energía y Medio Ambiente; Telefónica.
Luxembourg ArcelorMittal.
Alicante Banco Sabadell.
Santander Banco Santander.
Bilbao BBVA; Iberdrola.
Valencia CaixaBank.
Barcelona Fluidra; Grifols.
A Coruña Inditex.
Palma de Mallorca Meliá Hotels International.
Málaga Unicaja Banco

Table 2. IBEX 35 companies by sector of activity.

Construction Acciona; ACS; Ferrovial; Sacyr.
Renowable energies Acciona Energía; Solaria Energía y Medio Ambiente.

Ore, metals and processing

Acerinox; ArcelorMittal.
Transportation and distribution Aena; IAG; Logista.
Electronics and software Amadeus IT Group; Indra Sistemas.

Banks and savings banks

Banco Sabadell; Banco Santander; Bankinter; BBVA; CaixaBank; Unicaja Banco.

Telecommunications and others

Cellnex Telecom; Telefónica.
Electricity and gas Enagás; Endesa; Iberdrola; Naturgy; Red Eléctrica Corporación.
Engineering and others Fluidra.
Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology Grifols; Laboratorios Rovi.
Textil, apparel and footwear Inditex
SOCIMI Merlin Properties.
Petróleo Repsol.

Leisure, tourism and hospitality

Meliá Hotels International.


Table 3. Turnover, sector of activity and location of the top 15 companies with the highest turnover in Spain.

Puesto Empresa Billing Sector Location
1 Mercadona 25.154.320.000 Comercio Valencia
2 Repsol oil 20.021.412.000 Petróleo Madrid
3 Compañía española de petróleos 17.733.341.000 Petróleo Madrid
4 Cepsa 15.948.261.000 Petróleo Madrid
5 Repsol Comercial 13.958.318.000 Petróleo Madrid
6 Endesa 12.378.588.000 Energía Madrid
7 Inditex Textil y moda A Coruña
8 Corte Inglés 10.746.159.000 Comercio Madrid
9 Sociedad Estatal Loterias y Apuestas del Estado 9.359.348.000 Juego de Azar y Apuestas Madrid
10 Seat 9.256.500.000 Automóvil Barcelona
11 Iberdrola 8.999.391.000 Energía Bizkaia
12 Carrefour 8.241.332.000 Comercio Madrid
13 Gas Natural Energía Madrid
14 Telefónica 7.673.781.000 Comunicaciones Vizcaya
15 Iberdrola Clientes 7.654.188.000 Energía Madrid

Table 4. Number of affiliates of foreign companies by sector of activity and size range, 2020.

Total 11.722
Less than 10 5.080
From 10 to 19 1.537
From 20 to 49 1.842
From 50 to 99 1.144
From 100 to 249 1.063
From 250 to 499 494
From 500 to 999 275
More than 1.000 287


Table 5. Number of affiliates of foreign companies by sector of activity and geographic area, 2020.

Total Industria Trade Services
Total 11.722 2.190 4.113 5.418
Microenterprise (1-9 employees) 5.080 445 1.888 2.747
Small (10-49 employees) 3.378 573 1.359 1.446
Medium (50-249 employees) 2.207 773 625 809
Large (250  and more employees) 1.056 399 241 416


Tabla 6. Número de filiales de empresas extranjeras por sector de actividad y zona geográfica, 2020.

Total Industry  Trade Services
Total 11.722 2.190 4.113 5.418
Zona Euro 6.701 1.328 2.469 2.905
Rest of UE 522 87 196 240
Rest of Europe 1.941 281 533 1.127
America 1.659 300 537 822
Rest of the world  898 195 379 324

Table 7. Companies in Alicante, Valencia and Malaga by number of employees, 2020-21.

Asalariados Alicante 2021 Alicante 2022 Valencia 2021 Valencia 2022 Málaga 2021 Málaga 2022
Sin asalariados 79.860 82.541 99.907 103.014 73.770 78.945
From 1 to 2 40.451 39.720 51.117 50.541 36.161 35.588
From  3 to 5 13.567 13.800 16.803 17.119 12.036 12.376
From  6 to 9 5.193 5.383 6.834 7.142 4.399 4.671
From  10 to 19 3.147 3.361 4.291 4.540 2.451 2.697
From  20 to 49 1.655 1.763 2.426 2.502 1.249 1.312
From  50 to 99 394 423 746 812 278 321
From 100 to 199 181 176 401 375 167 134
From 200 to 249 35 25 88 79 31 32
From 250 to 999 75 80 188 188 77 80
From 1000 to  4999 12 11 44 45 10 12
From 5000  to or more 2 3 6 5 3 2

Table 8. Top 10 ranking of companies in Alicante by turnover, results and EBITDA in €, 2021-22.

Post Company Sales Results EBITDA
0 Bitcoinforme 854.988.360 3.816.530,9 5.107.284,98
1 Sprinter 519.237.601 34.115.210 55.731.111
2 Baleària 340.046.000 45.404.000 85.510.000
3 Aldi 312.127.043 1.226.126,87 8.429.579,51
4 Neumáticos Soledad 303.001.676 10.312.002,49 16.964.260,58
5 Grupo Fernádez 295.538.106 4.460.267 8.742.338
6 Masymas 285.933.780 4.203.566,19 14.693.414,81
7 Euro Pool System 211.123.036 5.514.255 9.127.856
8 Nexiapharma 177.037.000 1.786.000 2.554.000
9 Banco SabadellMediación 165.563.000 8.393.000 11.990.000

Table 9. Employees, sector of activity and location of the top 10 companies with the highest turnover in the province of Alicante.

Post Company  Employees Sector Location
0 Bitcoinforme 78 Tecnología Elche
1 Sprinter 4.105 Comercio Alicante
2 Baleària 866 Turismo Denia
3 Aldi 1.008 Comercio San Isidro
4 Neumáticos Soledad 697 Automóvil Elche
5 Grupo Fernández 549 Comercio Cox
6 Masymas 2.690 Comercio Pedreguer
7 Euro Pool System 238 Alquiler maquinaria Alicante
8 Nexiapharma 46 Farmacéutico Alicante
9 Banco Sabadell Mediación 11 Banca Alicante

Sources consulted:

– elEconomista
– Cámara de Comercio
– IBEX 35

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