Luis Castilla has led the newly structured ACCIONA Infrastructure since January 2014, comprising the Construction, Concessions, Water, Industrial and Service businesses of the ACCIONA group. Here he looks back at the last three years:
More than three years have passed since the start of the restructuring of the infrastructure businesses. How would you sum up this period?
Positively, undoubtedly. We have created a structure with a clear strategy and vision, based on three specific aspects, namely technical excellence, internationalization and efficiency.
We have created specialist business units to ensure technical excellence in the projects we undertake. We are also committed to developing all of the businesses in the division internationally in an integrated way in strategic regions, and we are constantly searching to maximize our operating efficiency and generate solid returns.
What milestones has ACCIONA Infrastructure achieved during these three years?
We have shown that we know how to develop highly complex opportunities, contributing unique technical solutions. This has enabled us to win major contracts in every region where we operate, across all business lines.
Contracts such as the Dubai metro extension, the terminal for Mexico City’s new airport, the first desalination plants to use reverse osmosis technology in Qatar or construction of the world’s largest photovoltaic plant in the United Arab Emirates, are just a few examples of our capabilities.
It seems clear that the new, more integrated model not only helps but is fundamental for winning major contracts…
Yes, but we are not just talking about winning major contracts, but about consolidating our international presence in the regions that we believe are strategic, with a business model based on specialization and technical excellence and intrinsically linked to sustainability. We have strengthened our presence in the regions where we already operated and have entered new markets such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Our commitment to sustainable development is founded on the principles of the ACCIONA group and we have won new contracts that clearly make a contribution in this way. For example, various water supply projects in developing countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America, or high-profile contracts for producing clean energy.
The latter includes the largest hydroelectric dam in Canada, the world’s largest photovoltaic plant in the United Arab Emirates, construction of solar-thermal power plants in Morocco and South Africa or contracts that improve mobility and reduce CO2 emissions, such as the Quito or Dubai metro projects.
What regions is ACCIONA Infrastructure going to focus on?
Our international development is based on a presence in the strategic regions of North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Southeast Asia and Australia.
We have identified strategic countries in each region that we call “platforms”, which act as a hub from which we develop our businesses in the surrounding countries.
What has been the biggest challenge for the division?
Probably the biggest challenge that we have faced is operating profitably in an increasingly competitive environment, without compromising our core values and maintaining our commitment to quality, sustainability and respect for individuals.
What trends do you think will define the infrastructure sector in the coming years?
Over the coming years we will undoubtedly see a very significant increase in investment in response to rapid population growth, especially in cities. They are going to need high-tech solutions that are, above all, highly sustainable.
Specifically, we will see major investments in the fields of mobility and urban connectivity for highways, railways, ports, public transport… especially in the largest cities, and in the area of social infrastructure, with smart city projects, urban services and healthcare infrastructures.
In the water sector, there will be progress in solutions to improve the supply, treatment and re-use of this natural resource, while in the energy field the emphasis will be on infrastructures that can guarantee energy supply, especially from renewable sources, waste-to-energy solutions and more transmission networks.
And all with an even greater need to efficiently operate and maintain these infrastructures and to search for public-private partnership (PPP) financing formats.
At ACCIONA we are ready to deliver solutions in all of these areas.