Category Archives: News/Finance

Discussion Group Ronda looking for new members

Another fantastic initiative in Ronda is now looking for new members and “The objetive is to improve the relation, integration and debate between English and Spanish people”

Discussion group Ronda is a collective which was created a few months ago to improve the interaction using both the Spanish and the English languages whilst enjoying a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. Gathering to exchange ideas about different topics and improving the language is the objective for this group, promoted by several people from Ronda and England. Continue reading Discussion Group Ronda looking for new members

Spanish Banks to Transfer Toxic Debts to New ‘Bad Bank’

Mariano Rajoy´s government on Friday approved by decree a fundamental change to the banking sector with the creation of a ´bad bank´ to take ownership of toxic debts held by Spain´s mortgage banks, notably Bankia, Santander, BBVA, and the various cajas with high debt to assets ratios.

Responding to demands from the ECB and other Eurozone members to clean up Spain´s banking industry, the move is expected to satisfy Eurozone partners and start the process of Spain receiving upto 100 billion Euros of banking sector bailout funds to stabilise the economy.

Speaking after the announcement Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, the deputy Prime Minister, said that this additional decree and the creation of the ´bad bank´was needed to “get credit flowing in the economy” again.

Banks with distressed property assets that are transferred into the ´bad bank´ will walk away with a combination of cash, debt or shares to add to their balance sheets, with the requirement that all banks increase their core capital classed as rock solid to 9% of total assets, a shift from the current 8%.

As well, the government announced that remuneration for senior managers and directors of distressed banks would be capped at 500,000 Euros per year, in an effort to stem protests at former directors of failed banks taking home millions of Euros in compensation at the expense of bank shareholders and depositors.

Olli Rehn, Economics Affairs Commissioner for the EU praised Rajoy´s cabinet for approving the decree stating that the creation of a bad bank sends an important signal to the world financial markets that Spain is determined to clean up and strengthen its banking sector.

With unemployment over 25% across the board and important regions such as Catalonia and Valencia asking for central government bailouts, Rajoy´s cabinet needed to do something to stem the banking sector crisis before tackling local government debt.

The Bank of Spain warned at the same time that capital flight to foreign banks had reached 20% of GDP, with June alone seeing net capital outflow of 56 billion Euros, and an estimated total of 220 billion in the first half of the year. Both the Spanish government and Eurozone will be hoping the creation of the ´bad bank´ will be sufficient to restore some confidence and stem the flow of cash leaving the country´s banks.

In a concession to the Spanish public, the economy minister Luis de Guindos announced that the government´s banking agency (Frob) will be given new teeth to take control of failing banks, and replenish funds in the depositor guarantee scheme which have been completely used in previous bank rescues.

Lidl and Decathlon May Soon Come To Ronda

After the huge debacle of the Eroski Shopping Centre project collapsing amidst police investigations of corruption against the former mayor and some of his closest colleagues, news is beginning to emerge that other major brands, namely Lidl and Decathlon, may soon announce projects to establish a presence in the city.

The Eroski centre on Avenida Malaga had been intended to house a new bus station, a hypermarket, cinemas, food court, and other retail space, and the project collapse means hundreds of jobs that were to have been created during construction and then as part of ongoing operations have not materialised, leading the current PP/PA government to seek out new opportunities for investment in Ronda.

Ronda still does not have a current general plan (PGOU) for urban development, leaving many hoped for projects in a state of limbo, including hotel developments in the Casco Historico, and the much hyped tourist information and welcome centre along the Tajo. Of more pressing concern however is the lack of space within the industrial area for job creating investment.

Danial Harillo (Delegado de Obras y Urbanismo) the councellor for urban works has confirmed to Ronda Today that the PGOU is his highest priority, and that in the coming weeks he is hopeful the amendments presented by his team will be accepted by the Junta de Andalucia, and that after a 3 month public consultation it will be possible to sign off on the plan which has been in progress since 1995.

Additional zoning for new industrial and commercial developments is to be allocated on land near to the new hospital, as well as expanding the poligono towards the railway line and ring road, both of which would give much needed space for large developments. Lidl had previously expressed an interest in a plot adjacent to the Ford dealership on C/ Rio Odiel, however this now appears to be in doubt.

Decathlon had been mooted to be interested in taking control of one of the Supersol locations in the city, and the recent sale of the entire Supersol chain to Lithuania’s Maxima group could yet see one of the two stores close despite assurances to the contrary. Maxima group had been linked with France’s Carrefour chain as possible new owners of the two stores in Ronda, though it now appears Maxima will start a rebranding exercise nationally after an audit of store performance and customer profiling is completed.

Rumours around Ronda suggest the Supersol on Calle Genal would be the likely loser if one of the stores was to close, strong competition from Aldi and Mercadona having made the store uneconomic to operate, and despite the possible conversion of a vacant lot opposite Mercadona as the new location for the city bus station.

In related news, the mayor Maria-Paz Fernandez has confirmed she is keen to close a deal on the location of the old military headquarters in the city on c/ Commandante Salvador Carrasco which would see an underground carpark built along with a cultural centre and outdoor plaza that will likely house a library.

Diamonds Discovered in the Serrania de Ronda

Geologists from the Universities of Malaga and Granada in association with experts from Germany have confirmed for the first time the presence of diamond bearing rocks in the Serrania de Ronda.

A team of geologists had started a survey of rock formations in the Serrania 5 years ago as part of continuing research into rock types in Andalucia, and two years ago stumbled on small diamonds. Carlos Sanz de Galdeano of the University of Granada explained, “we weren’t looking for diamonds, it was a fluke, but there they were”.

The diamonds found are microscopic and for the most part not visible to the human eye, though may still be desirable to commercial miners for industrial uses such as cutting tips or polishing plates. In addition some jewelers use microscopic diamonds joining them together to create small diamonds though pricing is necessarily much lower than a single stone.

Two of the locations surveyed showed different sizes of diamond, the first containing micro diamonds hard to see without a microscope, while the second location found micro diamonds visible to the human eye under light. The density of diamonds was much lower for the larger size.

Asked if commercial mining of Ronda’s diamonds would be viable, Maria Dolores Ruiz one of the project leaders, said only that the discovery of diamonds was still in a preliminary stage and that the volume of rock needed to be crushed would be substantial and that only mining companies with experience of extracting micro diamonds would be able to assess viability.

As a side note, commercial extraction of micro diamonds has been ongoing in Kazakhstan for many decades, with huge impact on the local environment, and that type of mining in Andalucia may face significant obstacles from enviornmentalists and local government.

The survey covered the Betica range, which also includes Jubrique to Torrox and passes through the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park,though it is understood the diamonds discovered were not within the park boundaries.