Each decade has its successful companies and, consequently, its different profiles of millionaires. The industrial and oil tycoons of the 70s and 80s of the 20th century took over from the rising stars of consulting and services. With the beginning of the new millennium, the computer gurus confirmed their hegemony in the list of the richest, while a few years later It was the beardless of Silicon Valley those who climbed to the top thanks to their projects on the internet. Now, a new class of millionaire emerges strongly: those linked to renewable energy.
In Spain, a dozen businessmen have amassed a joint fortune valued at market prices of 3,359 million euros. Its success is carved out of sun and wind. In the market there is more and more money from funds (investment, sovereigns, venture capital or pensions) that want to participate in the energy transition. This appetite has put in value old renewable projects that have passed for years without pain or glory on the stock market. It has also enabled recent blockbuster premieres on the floor.
The greatest green fortune in Spain is Enrique Díaz-Tejeiro, whose participation (40%) in Solaria, which entered the Ibex 35 last year, is valued at 832 million. Nearby is Francisco José Elías, who owns 82.9% of Audax, a package valued at 693 million. The renewable boom has also made José Galíndez gold: his 48% in Solarpack is equivalent to 417 million thanks to the takeover (pending government approval) of the EQT fund. For its part, the shares of David Ruiz de Andrés in Grenergy, which add up to 68% of the capital, are worth 527 million, while 70.9% of Luis Castro Valdivia in Ecoener, a company that went public last May, already it amounts to 213 million. In the case of Soltec, the accountant of its main shareholders, José Francisco Moreno Riquelme (42.2%) and Raúl Morales (19.58%), adds 255 and 118 million, respectively. In the stock market for small companies (BME Growth) there are also success stories such as the García Pardo family, the main shareholders of Greenalia, with a fortune valued at 172 million or that of the three founding partners of Holaluz —Ferran Nogue, Carlota Pi and Oriol Vila—, with stakes valued at 44 million each.
The race to decarbonize the auto industry also leaves new millionaires. Enric Asunción, founder and CEO of the electric car charger company Wallbox, does not notice that his pace of life has changed since he announced that he would go public in New York in the third quarter of the year. “How do I see myself in 10 years? As a shareholder and directing the company ”. “My work changes every day,” he smiles on the other side of the screen during the videoconference, “I don’t have the same day, and I’m happy with that.” With more than 600 employees in 67 countries, his company is valued at 1,500 million dollars (1,266 million euros), thanks to the contribution of investment funds that accompany him in the operation. This industrial engineer trained at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) who worked in a CSIC center and directed Tesla’s home charging program from Amsterdam would be a multimillionaire if he decided to dispose of his shares, but it is an option that he cannot exercise (for the signed conditions) nor wants. The 330 million dollars of fresh money that investors will put on the table for Wallbox to start trading through a SPAC will serve to fulfill its business plan: “None of the current partners sell anything, that money will allow us to reach to be profitable in 2025 ”. His ambition is to expand, develop new products and work on recurring revenue (in addition to shippers he sells software and cargo management platforms).
Another businessman in the renewable sector who does not intend to give himself up to a contemplative life with the money raised on the Stock Market is José Francisco Moreno Riquelme. He defines himself as “an industrial son of industrialists”, who founded in 1994 with his wife the Murcian corporate group Sefra “from scratch”, where he soon incorporated a daughter. That food, machinery and consulting group with 1,800 employees has sales that, together with Soltec’s, were around 400 million in 2019. “My assets are outside of Soltec, I am a person without great needs… I have them covered. The challenge of Soltec fills me, that I can grow in that vertical integration, that I set future challenges and that I can fly to the top. My idea is to accompany the shareholders and support them ”, he says on the other end of the phone. Moreno Riquelme continues to have his office in Murcia and does not plan to retire: “I don’t need work.”
This year, clean energy companies have reactivated their IPOs in Spain, which accumulated two years of drought. The biggest milestone in this regard has been carried out by Acciona Energía, which landed on the market on July 1 and already has a capitalization close to 9,500 million euros. Although the demand for this type of company is high, the truth is that the accumulation in a few months of several placements has forced investors to choose between different offers, which has caused some IPO to be canceled at the last moment such as that of Opdenergy.
Just a few days before this scare, on May 4, Ecoener made its debut on the market with a resounding 15% drop on its first day of trading. Despite this eventful premiere, the truth is that the shares have recovered and the company is already worth 329 million. From his office, Luis Castro Valdivia, the maximum owner of Ecoener, sees a gray day in A Coruña. “In my life nothing has changed. Work, work and work ”, he says almost two months after the debut in which he did not sell shares (the placement was made through an extension). He denies that there is a bubble in renewables, but admits that the market has gone from good valuations to ridiculous or crazy figures. “Now I think the time of expectations is over, we return to the fundamentals.” If he put it on the market, at current prices, his 60% package would be around 233 million, something he will not do either: “I’ve been in this for a long time, I like my job.”
The distance between reality and expectations will be what will define in the future if these companies will make a difference and if their founders will become part of the firmament of the great patrimonies in Spain. Wallbox, for example, expects to have a turnover of 69 million this year, 21 times less than it is supposedly worth. But Asunción is convinced of its great potential, like the rest of those consulted. “We are facing one of the greatest industrial revolutions of the last century. 99% of the chargers that must be in the world have yet to be installed ”.