Electra del Lima and the Hydroelectric Group (1908-1944)
Keywords:Electricity, International Investment, Portugal, Spain.
AbstractAt the end of the 19th century, a first wave of electro- echnical companies was responsible for the expansion of the use of electricity in Europe and the U.S. During the early 20th century, a new wave of transatlantic conglomerates was involved in the electrification of the most promising markets in both the American and the European peripheries. They offered financial power and building expertise and both capacities were the essential requirements for the setting up new electrical systems in Brazil, Mexico and Catalonia. The Spanish Hydroelectric Group, led by the Bank of Vizcaya, accomplished a similar role in Portugal. Since 1916, the Group acquired Electra del Lima and built up a utility in the Lindoso fall, having at its disposal plenty of capital and some construction experience. In addition, the Spanish Group was able to involve the Portuguese Bank Pinto e Sotto-Mayor, which actively participated in the promotion of UEP, the distributing company for the region of Porto. In this paper, I focus, firstly, on the success of the Hydroelectric Group in promoting this company. Secondly, specific attention is devoted to the financial flows and the changing role played by Electra del Lima as part of the Spanish Group, considering the state of affairs in the Peninsula during the inter-war period.
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