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Spain’s Abengoa posts 7.6 bn-euro loss for 2016

Spain’s debt-laden green energy giant Abengoa has announced a 7.6-billion euro loss for 2016, six times more than the previous year, as the multinational attempts to restructure.

Abengoa shareholders last year approved a 1.17 billion-euro rescue package from banks and investment funds, following years of frenzied, unsustainable expansion worldwide.

“These results must be seen in the context of Abengoa’s restructuring,” CEO Gonzalo Urquijo Fernandez de Araoz said Tuesday.

“When the imminent restructuring — for which our creditors have already given us the green light — is carried out, debt-reduction will allow us to balance our accounts,” he said.

Last year the world player in solar and wind power, biofuels and water management published losses of 1.2 billion euros, leading to fears of what would be one of the biggest bankruptcies in Spain’s modern history.

After drawn-out negotiations with its creditors, Abengoa avoided bankruptcy in November, with 50 percent of the Seville-based group’s capital being exchanged for the rescue funds.

Abengoa’s debt has affected many of its projects around the world, which it has either been unable to keep constructing or operating, including solar power facilities in Chile and South Africa and electricity transmission lines in Brazil.

Its bioenergy arm was particularly hard-hit, with several bioethanol plants in the United States and Europe paralysed by bankruptcy proceedings.

A family-owned company founded 75 years ago, Abengoa rose from being a local electrical firm, fixing installations damaged in Spain’s 1936-1939 civil war, to a major player in solar energy and other renewables.

But risky bets on biofuels and Spain’s cuts to renewable energy subsidies during an economic downturn pushed the company to the edge of ruin.