A small company becomes a big one: The Sociedad General Gallega de Electricidad and the beginnings of Fenosa


  • Xoán Carmona Badía




Electric Utilities, Business Strategies, Spain, Economic History


Business groups that dominated the Spanish electricity market during the Francoist period had been born linked to large international electrotechnical conglomerates or major Spanish banks. Only Fuerzas Eléctricas del Noroeste (Fenosa) had had its origin in a small and local company, the Sociedad General Gallega de Electricidad. This firm achieved significant growth by means of mergers and acquisitions in the 1920s and had managed in the 1940s, through the creation of a new company called Fenosa, to avoid the ban on generating capacity increases established by the electrical agreements signed in the 1930s. Under this new name, but with the same managers, technicians and majority shareholders, the company was granted the concessions to exploit a major part of a new hydraulic basin, that of the Miño river. By building up new hydroelectric facilities there, Fenosa was able to join the Spanish electricity oligopoly. In this paper we analyse the evolution of the company and the strategies that allowed it to obtain that result.