Monday, May 23

Mutua contributes 1,105 million to El Corte Inglés and assumes 8% of the capital

The shareholders of El Corte Inglés, meeting today in an extraordinary general meeting held in Madrid, have approved the entry of the Mutual Group in the capital of the company. The operation will involve a disbursement by the Mutua Group of 1,105 million euros. Ignacio Garralda, Chairman and CEO of Grupo Mutua, will join the Board of The English Court. The Mutua Group, once the necessary administrative authorizations are obtained, will take an 8% stake in the capital, from treasury stock, for 555 million euros. In addition, it will acquire 50.01% of each of the two companies that carry out the insurance activity of El Corte Inglés: SECI (Life and Accident Insurance) and CESS (Insurance Brokerage), for an amount of 550 million euros.

The agreement provides for the maintenance of the Seguros El Corte Inglés brand, international projection and the creation of new insurance products that adapt to the needs of customers. The agreement reached also implies a commitment to maintain 100% employment.

The shareholders of El Corte Inglés have approved the re-election of Víctor del Pozo as director and CEO of El Corte Inglés for the next five years, until 2027.

El Corte Inglés has approved a 6% capital reduction through the redemption of treasury shares, which seeks to increase the percentage weight of the historical shareholders of El Corte Inglés. After the capital reduction operation and the incorporation of the Mutua Group, the shareholders of El Corte Inglés will be as follows: Fundación Ramón Areces, 40.04%; IASA, 18.4%; Cesar Corporation, 9.64%; Mancor Portfolio, 8.04%; Mutual Group, 8%; Primefin, 11.07%; and minorities, 4.81%.

The Extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting has also given free rein to a change of statutes in order to promote the company’s sustainability strategy. In this sense, it has decided to create a sustainability commission that will be chaired by Manuel Pizarro and that will also be made up of three directors: Cristina Álvarez, Paloma García Peña and Carlota Areces. This Commission will take over from the Corporate Responsibility Commission (CSR) until today. El Corte Inglés is currently in a process of internal reform of processes that wants to modernize decision-making and adapt it to an eventual IPO of the group, initially scheduled for 2028.

Along the same lines of improving Corporate Governance and to enhance the Compliance function, the Board of Directors of El Corte Inglés, also held today, ECI has incorporated Lara Vilachá, a State attorney, into its management and who, until joining El Corte Inglés has performed its functions in the public sector. Vilachá has participated in the coordination of legal assistance for the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and the National Commission for Competition Markets (CNMC), among other entities.

latest measurements

El Corte Inglés has been reorganizing its structures for months, strengthening its subsidiaries and seeking new business channels. In this line, it has announced these days the transfer of staff to its logistics subsidiary (about 3,500 employees) and the creation of a new subsidiary specialized in luxury travel (Utópica), among other measures. El Corte Inglés Advanced Logistics is an example of this diversification strategy that aims to take advantage of the boom in electronic commerce and the foreseeable decline in importance of the department store division in the future.

The IPO of El Corte Inglés has always been present in the company’s internal gossip, since a good part of the remuneration to managers has been made in the past through actions and there are many favorable voices for it and the arrival of new shareholders strengthen support. It has always been believed within the company that going public would be profitable for both the workforce and the company in search of cheap financing for omnichannel expansion.

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multiple commissions

The structure of the El Corte Inglés group has been reinvented in recent months in terms of internal organization, with the creation of commissions and working groups in all divisions. The deadline to go public basically coincides with the plans presented by the CEO, Víctor del Pozo, although there is pressure to make it even before 2028 to give shareholders liquidity. Del Pozo is an insider, he started working at El Corte Inglés at the age of 18, with experience in multiple areas of the business and special sensitivity to online sales and digital transformation. What he explains to his directors is that ECI will go public when more than half of the income is not directly related to the division of department stores and the ‘retail’. It is a new El Corte Inglés based on an “ecosystem” of services: logistics, energy, security, tourism…