EDP chairman complains of “bad attitudes towards large companies and investment”

 In Conferences and Summits, EDP, News, Tax

The chairman of EDP, António Lobo Xavier has slammed what he calls “Portugal’s unfavourable business environment” for large investments and companies.

Speaking on one of several discussion panels at the Capital Markets Day conference held last week at the Lisbon Congress Centre in Belém, Lobo Xavier, discussing energy transition, admitted that there had been achievements in Portugal, but said successive governments had had “bad attitudes towards large companies and investment”.

“We can’t say that we have a favourable environment in Portugal for large investments and large companies,” he reiterated, criticising the amount of taxes that exist and the effective tax rate for large companies.

EDP’s chairman also criticised the existing regulation, pointing out that “in Europe, the regulation came several years before the instruments to support investment”.

“We (EDP) have a large presence in the US, and there are very sophisticated instruments to support large investments in this sector,” he said, arguing that just as significant as the capital markets are “government policies” and the tax benefits that exist.

GALP’s CEO, Filipe Crisóstomo Silva, taking part in the discussion, also complained about the amount of regulation in Portugal, pointing out that it is a “highly regulatory environment“, in addition to the intense reporting and transparency obligations for those listed on the Stock Exchange.

He underscored the urgency for “solutions”: “We need politicians who care about Europe’s competitiveness,” he said, stressing large companies are “hostages to what politicians do or don’t do”.

For Filipe Crisóstomo Silva, one needed to “bear in mind that Europe is losing competitiveness” – particularly with the “layers of regulations and paperwork required”, underlining the significant burden that excessive regulation places on the industry.

The round table was also attended by Pedro Norton, CEO of Finerge (the company under fire in the Sotavento for less than transparent business strategies), who pointed out some of the challenges currently facing the sector, such as licensing: “It’s too complex in Portugal,” he said – highlighting the practical difficulties that the industry faces.

Norton also highlighted challenges in transport and distribution and the social aspect of dealing with communities affected by the transition.