The new OHLA, the old OHL, wants to show that its corporate transformation, announced at the beginning of July, goes beyond a simple facelift. That he will not repeat the mistakes of the past. In addition to promising ethics and transparency, the company led by Luis Amodio and José Antonio Fernández Gallar (president and CEO, respectively) is straightening the pace with new contracts and an exhaustive control of the businesses in which it participates.
The hand of the Mexican brothers Luis and Mauricio Amodio, who acquired the majority of the shares of the Villar Mir family in 2020 and now have 26% of the company, is beginning to show. When they landed on OHL found a company burdened by the ‘legacy’, international projects that were unsuccessful for various reasons and stained the income statement red in recent years. The indebtedness represented another pending issue, despite the fact that OHL undertook draconian restructurings in recent years.
Amodio acknowledged in a recent interview with ABC that avoiding failed projects in distant countries was one of his priorities. To do this, he assured that the construction company would focus on “known markets”, to prevent initially profitable works from becoming a labyrinth of cost overruns and lawsuits. In the focus, above all, Europe, North America and Latin America.
The first movements of OHLA they point in those directions. The company announced this week that it will participate in a joint venture that will expand the Great Urban Ring Road of Brno (Czech Republic) for 89.8 million euros. In addition, it adds new awards in Slovakia valued at 35.2 million euros. And in the United States, it is bidding for several projects while the infrastructure macro plan launched by US President Joe Biden is being outlined.
There are also changes at the business level. Construction, which accounts for more than 80% of turnover and reported 1,550 million in contracts during the first semester, will continue to be the main focus of activity and interest in concessions continues. But, in addition, the Amodio are also committed to promoting renewable energies, especially through the construction of photovoltaic plants.
The eyes of the construction company have also settled on the house. The company ensures that the real estate market is “full of opportunities”, especially in cities such as Madrid or Malaga. That is why OHLA is monitoring the market and is studying acquiring a relevant industrial participation in the development sector. “If it is done, we will do it very carefully and with great caution,” they explain from the company.
Change of trend
For the moment, the change of face has convinced investors. The company’s shares have risen 15% in the last six months, to 0.63 euros per share. Meanwhile, the portfolio already exceeds 5,000 million, and the objective is to end the year with a contract close to 3,000 million.
Profits have returned after four years to the company, which has more than one hundred years of history. OHLA closed the first semester with earnings of 75.4 million euros, despite suffering a reduction in sales compared to last year (2.8% less) and earning 1,312 million euros. Debt continues to represent a challenge, although indebtedness improved by 194 million until June.