A consortium led by José Luis Manzano, Daniel Vila and Mauricio Filiberti became the new owner of Edenor, the largest electricity distribution company in Argentina. The news had been anticipated by THE NATION two weeks ago and in a couple of hours the sales contract will be signed.
The operation includes the transfer of class A shares that are currently in the hands of Pampa Energía, Marcelo Mindlin’s company. According to market sources, the sale would have closed at a figure close to US $ 150 million.
The operation has a very important political content, since Edenor’s business depends decisively on the government of the day and its policy regarding public service rates.
In dialogue with THE NATION, Daniel Vila lowered the political tone of the operation. “There was an opportunity. Nothing else. At a time when many companies are leaving the country, it is normal for these types of opportunities to appear for entrepreneurs like us who are betting on Argentina,” he explained.
Vila removed any political content from the operation. “I know Alberto Fernández. I have a normal relationship. Period.” He was also confident that the current rate freeze will begin to be dismantled sooner rather than later. “Electricity rates have been frozen since 2019 and at some point they will begin to normalize. Energy has a price and you have to pay it, although we know that the increases will be gradual and respecting the purchasing power of the population,” he said.
Edenor is controlled by Pampa Energía, which is the owner of 51.8% of its shares. The rest is in the hands of Anses and is listed on the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange. The electricity distributor has three million clients and a concession area that covers a population of 9 million people and more than 350,000 companies, from the north of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and the northwest of Greater Buenos Aires.
The company was born in 1992 from the privatization of the state company Segba. Until 2005 it was controlled by EDF International, a subsidiary of Electricité de France, which that year ended up selling it to the group led by Mindlin.
The distributor faces a difficult time. In the first nine months of this year it lost $ 1.839 million, compared to the $ 1704 million it had earned in the same period of 2019. At the firm, they attributed the negative result to the impact of inflation and the freezing of their rates, which they dragged on since the last months of the Macri administration.
“The gross margin represented by the income attributable to this distributor, equivalent to the Distribution Added Value (VAD), fell 26% compared to the same period of the previous year, as a consequence of the rate freeze and the level of energy theft,” he explained Edenor in a statement announcing its results.
It also indicated that the result before taxes (Ebita) decreased by 92% in line with the gross margin, “reflecting the lack of updating of income in a context of high inflation rates and increased operating costs, despite society’s efforts to be more efficient in the use of resources “.
The good news for the company is that the Government has already advanced its decision to move forward with a thaw in the rates of public services, including electricity.
“We are not going to increase the subsidies, that is a definition. The application of a much more individualized and efficient subsidy will allow us that a percentage of the population that can pay the cost of the tariff, pay it,” explained the Secretary of Energy , Darío Martínez, in an interview with THE NATION, in which he advanced the decision to advance with increases for at least one customer segment.
Manzano and Vila are historical partners in a wide variety of businesses, ranging from the media (in the América group) to oil (in Andes Energía). They set foot in the electricity business in 2006 with the purchase of control of Edemsa, the Mendoza electricity distributor, and in 2011 they added the Riojan distributor Edelar.
The third leg in the partnership is Mauricio Filiberti, the owner of Transclor. Filiberti is the largest chlorine producer in Argentina and its main client is AySA, the water service provider, which today is led by Malena Galmarini, Sergio Massa’s wife. The data is not minor since in the market it is commented on the good arrival that Filiberti has – known as “Mr. Chlorine” – with the president of the Chamber of Deputies.
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