The sale of Efacec narrowly avoided the fall of the Government. The sale of the company was completed on the second attempt to Mutares and days before António Costa resigned. It is true that it managed to reach the final stretch after a monthly injection of 20 thousand euros from Parpública and in return revenues skidded, as did orders and, in return, debt and losses increased.
The injection of capital by the State has been the target of criticism with parties, namely those on the right and the Left Bloc, pointing out the need to move forward with a commission of inquiry. At issue is the ‘financing’ of 400 million and then the Government sold it for 15 million.
An operation that is not viewed favorably by Luís Mira Amaral. «Efacec is a tradable goods company and from the outset there is no logic for it to have been intervened by the Government. However, the Executive thought it was strategic because it made chargers for electric cars and the Government really likes electric cars»reveals to Sunrise.
The economist also recalls the statements made by the former Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, who, when he nationalized, stated that the company would be sold the following month or two months later. «They have been losing money all this time and this only represents losses for the taxpayer. Even after privatization we will not recover the amount that was invested at all.”.
The importance of Efacec was once again reiterated by the current Minister of Economy and with António Costa Silva mentioning that it is possible to recover the money – or at least part – invested by the State in Efacec. Despite the Government not being a shareholder and the Portuguese group remaining 100% in the hands of Mutares, a “value sharing mechanism” with the German company. This means that, if Efacec distributes dividends, the State will receive 75%. If the company is sold (but never before the next three years), the State will keep two thirds of this possible future sale.
This guarantee has since been called into question by the President of the Republic. “I admit that the minister thinks that [o negócio] it is good. Now is it good in terms of what we would want and dream for Efacec in a different context? I think it falls short of what, over time, we thought, dreamed and admitted was possible for the company»said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Mira Amaral admits that this has been the trend followed by the Government in the various public companies. An example of this is what happens at CP and TAP, but it recognizes that they are companies with different economic logics and different dimensions. «CP, no matter how big the debt, cannot disappear because we need the company to transport the staff. TAP could disappear or be sold to a foreigner who does the service for Portugal, but contrary to what is said by the Government, which has defended its importance in exports, the added value is low, because if we deduct the import of fuel and equipment, national added value is low. In the case of Efacec, we are just talking about a tradable goods company»he highlights.
Efacec, a company linked to the areas of energy, industry and mobility, had, at the end of 2022, 1,928 workers. That same year, it presented losses of 52 million euros.
A different scenario has TAP and CP. The first, which has almost seven thousand workers, was the target of an injection of 3.2 billion euros. At the end of 2022 it presented profits of 65.7 million euros, but results soared in the first nine months of the year, presenting a result of 203.5 million euros.
In turn, CP with 3,750 workers reported eight million in profits last year. This is the first positive result in its history and it has now seen its debt of two billion being forgiven. A pardon seen by the Government as «indispensable for CP to have the capacity to invest in the improvement, modernization and expansion of services»also allowing the «access to financing for the acquisition of rolling stock, under conditions comparable to any other company».
The public tender for the acquisition of 117 new railcars is underway. The company’s president, Pedro Moreira, said it could move forward «between this week and next». Regarding the acquisition of 14 high-speed trains to operate on the future Porto – Lisbon line, the person responsible indicated that the business plan points to the need for “at least” 14 units. This means that a purchase option clause may be triggered in the formats «six plus four plus four» or «four plus four plus four», until around 30.
TAP: open future
For now, the future of TAP is on hold due to the fall of the Government and, therefore, anything can happen. The privatization of the company is not included in the State Budget for next year, that is, it depends on the Executive that will take over the reins of the country. However, if Pedro Nuno Santos wins the internal PS elections and in the event of becoming prime minister, the process may stop or TAP may not be fully privatized. The former minister argued that the airline should be majority owned by the Government, as it was the latter that saved it. The idea of privatization has advanced since the minister left, but while he was still Minister of Infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos said: «It was always clear that, in such a highly globalized and competitive market, TAP would not be able to survive, in the medium term, alone. The integration of TAP into a group would create important synergies and bring resilience to face the volatility so characteristic of aviation. This may even be the only way to ensure the viability of a strategic company for the country».
Mira Amaral doesn’t hesitate: «If Pedro Nuno Santos wins, TAP will be in the drawer. If Pedro Nuno Santos becomes prime minister – I hope it doesn’t happen but in theory the people will decide – and if it is consistent with his ideology, he will place Mariana Mortágua as Minister of Finance».
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
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