While the industry is still fragmented, consolidation is on-going and companies should gain size and become more competitive domestically and abroad.
- The agri-food sector is one of Spain´s most important industries, accounting for 9% of the national economy and 2.4 million employees. Sales grew 1.8% in 2015, to EUR 95 billion. Food exports, which account for more than 15% of total Spanish exports, increased 7.5%, to EUR 44 billion. The food sector is expected to grow further in 2016 and 2017, by 1.1% and 1.8% respectively.
- The external financing requirement of food businesses is high, and access to credit (both working capital and long-term facilities) has further improved. Foreign direct investments in the Spanish agri-food sector increased 28% in 2015, up to EUR 1.9 billion, after significant decreases since 2010. However, this amount remains far below the EUR 2.8 billion of investment made back in 2010. At the same time Spanish investments in the food industry abroad have decreased since 2007, reaching only EUR 698 million in 2015.
- The intense price war in the food retail segment has left some players in a difficult situation. While the industry is still fragmented, industry consolidation is on-going and companies should gain size and become more competitive domestically and abroad.
- The average payment duration in the Spanish food industry is 80 days. Non-payment notifications remained stable in 2016, and we expect no increase in 2017. Due to the food sector's resilience and stable payment behaviour we are supportive in our underwriting stance. However, we are more cautious when underwriting the fruit and vegetables subsector, as well as slaughterhouses.