Technology and financing could be the key to consolidating Barcelona as an international business platform
While not returning to pre-crisis levels, activity is rising in Barcelona and there is a high potential for using the city as a base for doing business in Spain and beyond, says Antonio Herrera, Managing Partner at Uría Menéndez in Barcelona.
There are many big and medium-sized companies that are extremely focused on the international market, he says, with one in five Catalonian firms exporting, and 34 percent of total Spanish exporters based in Catalonia.
“It’s a highly open market, and the local business community is very used to selling abroad – it’s in the DNA of any Catalan business.” And law firms with the right mindset and structure can really help these clients looking to venture into new pastures, he says, expanding into Latin America or North Africa for example.
Technology-based sectors (Internet and bio-technology among them) are those with a high potential in terms of future economic growth, says Herrera, and they revolve around individual talent. “So you have to recruit and retain the best, and Barcelona offers a great place to balance professional and personal life – it’s difficult to beat it.”
The international work carried out for these companies is diverse. For example, technology-based companies that require financing sometimes look at international private equity and venture capitalists because of a shortage of credit domestically and the ability of those funds to understand technology-based businesses, he says.
“So there is also an opportunity for Catalan law firms to help look for financing in foreign markets.”
Since advising in Privalia’s financing round in 2009, Herrera has seen a growing number of transactions involving local players and foreign equity firms. And it’s a promising area of business and something that tells you that people are trying to find a way to do business globally out of Barcelona, he says.
Tecnología y financiación pueden ser la clave para consolidar Barcelona como una plataforma de negocios internacional, según Antonio Herrera de Uría Menéndez. Sin volver a los niveles de antes de la crisis, la actividad está aumentando y existe potencial para usar la ciudad como base para hacer negocios.