Vicente Boluda, the shipping company that wants to dethrone Florentino Pérez

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Neither to command the second most important company in the world of maritime towing, nor to preside over the Valencian Association of Entrepreneurs (AVE), nor to be a close friend of John Charles I. What is known Vicente Boluda is for having presided over the Royal Madrid a few months in 2009 and having predicted that whites would go to “ dripping ”Liverpool in the Champions League. The tie was settled with an overall victory of the English by 5 to 0. This showed that moderation in front of the microphones is not the best attribute of an entrepreneur with more powers for business, although some have not been exempt. of controversy.

Eleven years later, the gigantic shadow of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium continues to overshadow the trajectory of Boluda, heir to an important family line, but unknown to most citizens. He does not have the media appeal or the heritage of his friend Juan Roig, president of Mercadona and a partner in both the AVE and the opulent failure of the Jerusalem-Mathematical Convent Marzal. Both have become leaders in the distinguished Valencian lobby, in an initiative that alternates the promotion of infrastructures such as the Mediterranean Corridor with the defense of more liberal positions on the economy and labor relations. This was demonstrated on April 23, when in a Valencian country that accumulated 10,735 citizens infected and 1,232 deaths from coronavirus, they demanded the “immediate” opening of “all shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, activities and companies” . If not done, Vicente Boluda warned that “the health crisis could make you laugh alongside the economic crisis” that could be suffered.

Six days later, its conglomerate, Boluda Corporación Marítima, was the subject of controversy when Eldiario.es published that the company would have transferred 100 million euros in dividends from a subsidiary company based in Luxembourg, an EU state with particularly lax taxation, to another company owned by the shipping company based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The group assures ARA that this information is “completely incorrect, false, as well as on more than one occasion clearly slanderous.” “We have been forced to bring them to the attention of legal advice in order to proceed immediately with the appropriate legal action, which has already begun,” he emphasizes.

It’s not the only time the shipping business has been under suspicion. In 2017, the Valencia High Court convicted Francisco Tirado, a former human resources director of a company in the Boluda group, for forgery: there were training services for more than the real amount and so subsidies could be obtained. In the pre-trial investigations, the Treasury raised the fraud to 537,120 euros. The Supreme Court ratified the sentence in 2019, with two years in prison and a fine of 3,600 euros for Tirado.

With a model based, among others, on the purchase of companies with financial difficulties to re-float them, Vicente Boluda acknowledged in an interview with The country which came to accumulate 170 companies. The shipping company has managed to turn a project created by his grandfather in 1920 from a turnover of 21 million euros in 1989 to 800 three decades later, with annual profits of 60 million. A success that began to weave when assuming the presidency of the group with only 30 years. However, its big acquisition was in 2019, when it paid 300 million for the Dutch Kotug Smit Towage. A success that he completed with the signing of former Spanish President Felipe González as an independent director and, very especially, with the 35-year concession of 4,700 square meters of the port of Valencia to compensate for the end of another concession , that of the company’s old shipyards, which will house the new cruise terminal.

At 65, and with guaranteed succession with his sons Vicente and Ignacio, the shipping company continues to find time to invest its assets in projects in which economic profitability is not the priority. He owns the Bodegas Fos winery, in 2015 he bought 6.8% of the Cope chain, some titles that he added to his shares in the newspapers The economist i Valencia Plaza. However, his favorite is football. This is how he recalled this Christmas in a relaxed lunch with journalists: “We need a different candidate than there is”, in reference to Florentino Pérez. According to Boluda, the health of the white club means that in 2021 there will be elections and someone will face the president of ACS. We will have to wait until then to see if the Valencian businessman makes the leap.

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