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ACCIONA Chairman backs growth policies to spur consumption and investment in Spain

06/06/2013

The Annual General Meeting approves a dividend of €2.65 per share,  17.4% less than the effective dividend per share the previous year.

Juan Carlos Garay joins the Board as an independent director.

In 2012, the Company avoided 14 million metric tons of carbon emissions, almost 20% more than 2011, and reduced its emissions by 6%.

A new Integrated Report reinforces the Company's transparency policy, and is aimed at describing and reporting value-creation mechanisms.

Addressing shareholders today at ACCIONA's Annual General Meeting, Chairman & CEO José Manuel Entrecanales defended the Company's business model based on Infrastructure, Energy and Water Services due to their "sound, long-term prospects", even though "specific challenges" lay ahead.

Mr. Entrecanales called for decisive action on growth policies - "policies that complement the Government's reform efforts and the sacrifices undertaken by citizens and the business community, with the implementation of initiatives to reactivate consumption and investment, both public and private". He also expressed hope that 2103 would be "a turning point for our economy, with the resumption of growth".

For this to happen, Mr. Entrecanales said the country needed to attract private investment with "right social, fiscal, labor, administrative, financial and, of course, legal conditions". He went on to stress "the fundamental need to respect the basic tenets of legal certainty". He expressed dismay at the "continuous regulatory changes to the electricity sector over recent years, which have reached extreme limits over the past few months, and which have significantly reduced the attractiveness of our country as an investment destination".

Referring to Spain's energy policy, Mr. Entrecanales noted that "the raft of measures adopted to resolve the so-called tariff deficit of the electricity system has led to a 5.6 billion-euro drop in revenue for the renewable energy industry". Mr Entrecanales said: "Renewables are no longer a ready source of savings that can be used to bring down costs of the system".

Mr Entrecanales said Spanish renewable energy companies were "at the vanguard of a global industry, with an excellent technical reputation worldwide". He called on Spain "not to lose this initial momentum, and not to cede its pole position to other countries or industries". ACCIONA's Chairman said he trusted the "[Spanish] government will act clearly to protect the value that renewables represent for our future growth, our energy independence and our industrial reputation worldwide".

ACCIONA's chief executive defended the need to keep up investment levels in infrastructure, taking as an example the water industry, where, according to him, "there are serious shortcomings that, sooner or later, will take their toll". He also highlighted rail freight -"the best alternative to road haulage"-and the need to increase grid interconnections with the rest of Europe, "which would significantly benefit the [Spanish] system".

ACCIONA's chief executive also highlighted the considerable gap between global water supply and demand. "This is one of our great challenges in the immediate future, and also, a big opportunity for ACCIONA, both in terms of its water business and in terms of making a big contribution to society," Mr Entrecanales said. He noted that the water industry was expected to grow by 3% to 4% in developed countries and by 8% and 10% in developing nations.
In his address to the Annual General Meeting, ACCIONA's chief executive reviewed the Company's milestones in 2012, a year in which the Company managed to achieve a balance between strict cost controls and highly selective investment criteria, on the one hand, and financial solvency and reasonable growth on the other.

The Meeting ratified the consolidated financial statements and the application of results for FY2012, with a 17.4% reduction in the effective dividend per share compared with the previous year. The dividend for FY2012 was set at €2.65 per share, of which €1.75 will be paid out on 1 July as a supplementary dividend, equivalent to a return per dividend of 5.4% on the average share price in 2012.

Boardroom Changes

The General Shareholders' Meeting approved the appointment of Juan Carlos Garay as an independent director and reappointed Ms. Consuelo Crespo and Mr. Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros as independent directors. The second vice-chair of the Board, Juan Manuel Urgoiti stepped down formally, having reached the end of his term.

The final point on the agenda dealt with the renewal, for another year, of the ACCIONA Executive Shares & Options Plan and the modification of internal regulations aimed at enhancing Corporate Governance; at the same time, the Board's decision to cut its remuneration by 10% came into effect.

Sustainability Performance

The Shareholders approved the 2012 Sustainability Report; this document offers a detailed account of the Company's environmental, social and economic performance indicators and presents a range of initiatives designed to strengthen the Company's management.

In addition to ACCIONA's positioning in low-carbon business activities, the Company has a determined action plan to reduce its environmental impact - detailed in ACCIONA's Sustainability Master Plan 2015. This has resulted in the Company avoiding 20% more carbon emissions in 2012, or 13.97 metric tons in total. The emissions balance improved further with a 1.5% reduction in energy consumption compared with 2011, and a 6% reduction in emissions generated by the Company, which totalled 809,000 metric tons.

One of the year's major achievements involved taking sustainability policies closer to employees and suppliers. As a result, at least 5% of the variable remuneration of Company employees was linked to sustainability targets. For suppliers, the Company drew up a sustainability risk map, imparted training courses, and compiled the first Sustainable Products and Services Catalog.

For the second year running, the Meeting was a carbon-neutral event. This concept implies a two-fold commitment: on the one hand, to minimize the carbon emissions produced by the Meeting and, on the other, to offset all unavoidable emissions. This year, the Meeting's emissions will be offset by acquiring Voluntary Carbon Credits in the "Mirador" Project, in Honduras, which is installing 25,000 energy-efficient domestic kitchen stoves.

Greater transparency

Mr. Entrecanales submitted a new Company information document - the Integrated Report - for the consideration of the Meeting. The Integrated Report is a new corporate reporting model based on value-creation mechanisms for the Company and its long-term vision and positioning strategy. "This is a new type of report that is entirely in keeping with our commitment to transparency and accountability; it looks to the future and explains, in simple and direct terms, the reasons that underpin our unshakeable confidence in our Company", Mr. Entrecanales said.

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