Liberbank shares 7.19% of the Portuguese energy multinational EDP with the Asturian group Masaveu through the holding company Oppidum Capital, which makes the Asturian alliance the second most relevant shareholder group, only behind the state company china CTG, owner of 21.47%. At Oppidum Capital, Masaveu controls 53% and Liberbank 47%. Oppidum is represented on EDP’s supervisory board in Lisbon due to its shareholding weight.
Liberbank and Masaveu are also partners in the Institute of Molecular Oncological Medicine of Asturias (IMOMA). Masaveu subscribes 66% of the capital of the Institute, and Unicaja Banco will have the remaining 33%, today in the hands of Liberbank.
In Corporación Alimentaria Peñasanta (Capsa), a subsidiary of Central Lechera Asturiana (Clas), Liberbank owns 10.9% and is present on the board. Capsa, based in Siero and one of the large national dairy operators, has factories in five regions and recently acquired 50% of Flor de Burgos.
Unicaja Banco will in turn have 39% of Hotelería Asturiana (Hoasa), owner of the La Reconquista hotel, in Oviedo, as well as 40% of the majority public construction company Sedes, also domiciled in Oviedo. The Principality of Asturias is hegemonic in the shareholding of the two companies. In Headquarters, the autonomous government participates directly while in Hoasa it does so through the Regional Promotion Society, a mixed company with a public majority that acts as the investment arm of the Institute of Economic Development of the Principality of Asturias (Idepa). In the SRP Unicaja Banco will inherit the 29% that Liberbank currently owns.
Unicaja will also receive 100% from Liberbank in three “car parks” in Cáceres, León and Madrid, an agricultural company in Cáceres and three hospitality companies in Cáceres and Madrid.
As a result of the merger, Liberbank shareholders will now own 40.5% of Unicaja Banco and its group of investee companies, including 23 companies linked to its financial operations, 100% of the wind company Uniwindet and stakes in highway concessionaires, comprehensive water management, engineering, drilling and construction, as well as in the multinational oil company Deoleo, owner of brands such as Carbonell, Hojiblanca, Koipe, Koipesol, Bertolli and others.
The dual role of banking foundations
“The banking foundations will continue to carry out their work as they have been up to now,” said Manuel Menéndez, CEO of Liberbank and the next CEO of Unicaja Banco after the merger. And Manuel Azuaga, executive president of Unicaja Banco, explained that the improvement in margins and profitability that is intended with the merger will allow a higher remuneration to all shareholders, including banking foundations, with which they will have more resources to the performance of their duties.
Banking foundations are the old savings banks, which the December 2013 law forced to become a new legal figure. Having transferred their financial businesses to subsidiary or investee banks by government imperative in the days of Mariano Rajoy, the old savings banks, once converted into foundations, no longer manage their financial business directly, as they had done in the two preceding centuries (in Asturias, since 1881), but rather they act as shareholders who, from the boards of the banks, ensure the correct management of their assets.
In the future Unicaja Banco, the Unicaja Banking Foundation will have 30.23% of its capital and will be the main shareholder, and the Fundación Bancaria Caja de Ahorros de Asturias will act as the second most important owner, with a shareholding weight of 9.87% , of which 6.53% is its own and the rest will be exercised by delegation of the Caja Extremadura (1.94%) and Caja Cantabria (1.36%) banking foundations, with which it has entered into a share syndication agreement .
- Bank. Banking foundations no longer manage the financial business – as their predecessors, the savings banks, did – but they look after their interests as shareholders from the boards of the banks.
- “Social soul”. The foundations maintain the activity of the old Social and Cultural Work of the savings banks. The 2008 crisis, the low profitability of the banks and the ECB’s veto on dividends in 2020 have weighed down their resources.
Beyond the preservation of their patrimonial interests, banking foundations limit themselves to exercising, with the resources they obtain from banks via dividends (very scarce in recent years, and prohibited in 2020 by the European Central Bank), the activities that in the past they represented what came to be called the “social soul of the boxes” and that corresponded to their disappeared Social and Cultural Work.
The Cajastur Foundation has focused on research and social work, while it has withdrawn from the old cultural activity, which it now considers covered by other operators. Its board of trustees is made up of former directors of Cajastur, its Obra Social and Liberbank (César Menéndez Claverol, who holds the presidency; María Inmaculada D’Ocon and Gregorio Pérez), a representative of the International Federation of Asturian Centers (Manuel de Barros) and a doctor in economics and university professor (José Luis García Suárez, vice president). The Asturian Parliament, as Cajastur’s co-founding entity, has a representative (the professor of Labor Law Jaime Montalvo) and the Gijón City Council, also co-founder, is represented by the notary Monserrat Martínez. A position is vacant due to the death of scientist Margarita Salas. The former director of Cajastur Carlos Siñeriz is its director.