An airport worker next to an Air Europa aircraft in 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. AFP
Businesses bailed out during Covid-19 pandemic still owe Spanish government 2.8 billion euros

Businesses bailed out during Covid-19 pandemic still owe Spanish government 2.8 billion euros

Latest data shows the companies, many in the travel and tourism sectors, have only paid back 13% of the emergency funds handed out in Spain during the global health crisis

Edurne Martínez


Tuesday, 12 March 2024, 09:49


Companies in Spain that were bailed-out with government handouts during the Covid-19 pandemic still owe more than 2.8 billion euros. Latest data shows they have only paid back 13% of the emergency funds handed out by the government by the end of 2023.

The economic slump sparked by the coronavirus crisis left dozens of major Spanish companies in the red and needing to ask for state funding to overcome the crisis. In July 2020, the government created an emergency support package, which 73 companies tried to access. They requested aid for almost 5.4 billion euros, but only 30 companies were approved for a total of 3.256 billion euros, 60% of the total amount requested. The state distributed aid according to the size of the company and the economic damage caused by the global health crisis.

Mostly companies in the tourism sector such as airlines, travel agencies, transport and catering companies, were rescued. Specifically, Air Europa was the company that received the largest amount of public money: some 475 million euros, second only to Celsa, which received 550 million euros.

Técnicas Reunidas received 340 million, followed by Ávoris (320m), Hotusa (241m), Volotea (200m), Duro Felguera (120m), Tubos Reunidos (112.8m), Air Nostrum (111m), Wamos (85m), Hesperia (55m), Plus Ultra (53m), Eurodivisas (45m), Vivanta (40m), Isastur (40m), Grupo Julià (38m), Losán (35m), Imasa (35m), Ferroatlántica (34,5m), Airtificial (34m), Grupo Serhs (34m), Vicinay Marine (32m), Meeting Point (31m), Soho Boutique Hotels (30m), Abba (30m), Grupo Abades (29,3m), Grupo Mediterránea (28m), Reinosa Forgings & Castings (27m), Rugui Steel (25m), Blue Sea (25m).

How much of this money has been paid back?

These bailed-out companies have repaid only 13% of the total amount by the end of 2023, according to government data.

Just 430 million euros has been paid back to the state. Only six companies have repaid part of the loan, while 24 others have not yet done so, and of these, only two (Global Exchange and Ávoris) have paid back everything they owed (45 and 320 million).

Three other companies have partially repaid their loans: Wamos (8 million out of 85 million), Meeting Point (5.3 million out of 31 million) and Hotusa (52 million out of 241 million). And Blue Sea Hotels finally waived the 25 million loan approved by the government.

Total cost

A total of 64.3 billion was spent by public administrations on measures to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic during the year 2020 alone.

The government calculated the bulk of the aid will be repaid between 2026 and 2029. To date, the bailout of companies during the pandemic has left a bill for the state of 2,826 billion euros. It was not just the bailout of companies that contributed to this bill, with the largest amount coming from social and employment related measures to help families cope with the crisis.

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