Although it has already been approved, neither Celsa nor the creditor funds have yet received the aid of 550 million euros from Sepi. The public body is waiting for both parties to reach a debt relief agreement and, despite the haste with which it was negotiated in June, the process slowed down. Neither party is in a hurry: the institution has reserved the amount and has no deadline to distribute it.
Sources from the entity explain to elEconomista.es that there is no maximum term to disburse the two public credits. There was a rush to approve the incentive, but the state company gave its approval to the rescue on June 17 despite the fact that there was no agreement between the Rubiralta steel company and the debt holders.
In the same line, the European Commission pronounces itself to questions from this medium. From Brussels they defend that there is no maximum date for payment once the aid was approved by the Government and Europe. The continental competition authorities validated the injection on June 24 and the council of ministers did the same on June 27.
After almost two years with the rescue on the table, the Government accelerated the necessary procedures to now give peace of mind to both parties. The voices consulted do make it clear that the 550 million euros will not be paid without Celsa and the funds represented by the firm Houlihan Lokey having signed the pact for debt relief.
Celsa is doing well and the defaults in the payment of the debt are prosecuted
Without pressure from the authorities – the only requirement was that the aid be approved before June 30 – both parties negotiate with much less pressure than in June, when they believed they should reach an agreement. Company and funds are clear that the 550 million cannot be missed, but there is no longer a sword of Damocles.
Nor do elements appear on the horizon that urge the talks to be unstuck. The steel company did not pay the last debt maturities, but the liability is judicialized.
In addition, the business is doing well despite inflation, so there are no short-term emergencies. Banco Santander, BBVA, Caixabank and Banco Sabadell, with working capital lines of up to 525 million that they will have to renew, could require an agreement with international creditors to maintain the capital and serve as a measure of external pressure for the agreement.
Negotiations between Celsa and creditors progress slowly
The truth is that positions advance slowly. The funds asked to sign a new loan from 2023 to 2030 of 550 million with 10% interest, but the company is only willing to reach 300 million with a lower rate.
In exchange, the Rubiralta offer a compensation of 400 million in 2030 -subject to variables- that the creditors did not approve. They insist on calculating the final bonus according to the revaluation of the firm.
If approved once and for all, Celsa will be able to allocate 400 million euros to the payment of debt, which will be added to another 50 million that the Catalan shareholders will put up. The remaining 150 million will go to the strategic plan.