Everything started in June 2022. That is when the first contact between Lácteas García Baquero and the consulting firm FI Group and Bankinter took place. On the agenda was the Agri-food PERTE that the Council of Ministers had approved months before as a vehicle to distribute Next Generation EU funds to the Spanish primary sector.
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Experts and knowledge

Lácteas García Baquero: A European Funds success story.

Lácteas García Baquero leads the PERTE (Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation) dairy consortium. In this article, we take a closer look at all the details of this success story.
Historia de éxito Lácteas García Vaquero Fondos NGEU
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Experts and knowledge
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Published
02 Jun 2023
Everything started in June 2022. That is when the first contact between Lácteas García Baquero and the consulting firm FI Group and Bankinter took place. On the agenda was the Agri-food PERTE that the Council of Ministers had approved months before as a vehicle to distribute Next Generation EU funds to the Spanish primary sector.
The CheeseBoost consortium combines sustainability and technological innovation

One year later, Miguel Ángel García Baquero, the CEO of this dairy company established in Alcázar de San Juan, Ciudad Real, in 1962, takes stock of the project ultimately presented, in a conversation with Emma Montserrat, Head of European Funds and Deputy Assistant Managing Director at Bankinter.

The case currently being analysed by the PERTE commissioner involves not only García Baquero but a total of 20 companies, led by this historic Spanish brand, which expressly constituted a business consortium to apply for the European funds.

It is comprised of both SMEs and large companies that represent the richness and complementary nature of the Spanish cheese-making ecosystem. Organisations that bring together talent, investment and vision for the future to build an eligible project, as the chief executive of García Baquero explains. “The fruit of intense work,” says Emma Montserrat.

The CheeseBoost consortium combines sustainability and technological innovation

CheeseBoost. Such is the name given to the project that was presented before the public administration four months ago, spearheaded by this group from Castile-La Mancha. It could be translated to Spanish as “Impulso del Queso”. And that is what the proposed investment aims to do: it covers everything from sustainability – with environmental protection projects – to energy savings, and most notably, efforts as disruptive as the application of AI to manufacturing processes.

Technological innovation will make it possible to advance in one of the PERTE's strategic goals: traceability in the agri-food sector. This is like embedding in the product's DNA sequence the path the product follows, from its origin at the farm until it reaches the end consumer.

“I think that the key was to identify those investment possibilities that would not have been realised without the European funds and the agri-food PERTE," said Miguel Ángel García Baquero, "and to unite them in a group where small, medium and large companies are equally represented.”

Among them are auxiliary technology companies in the cheese-making sector. The pledged investment amounts to 4.5 million euros, says the CEO of Lácteas García Baquero.

How to submit an eligible project in record time

The case of the cheese consortium helps to exemplify and transpose the modus operandi of European funds to other sectors and future applications. These were the steps followed:

1. PERTE announcement: anticipation

The Council of Ministers approved the Agri-Food PERTE on 8 February 2022. “We all started to hear at the beginning of the pandemic that the European Union was going to put funds on the table to stimulate the economy and get things back to normal”, explains Miguel Ángel García Baquero. "At that terrible time, in 2020, we had to wait for this intervention from Brussels to materialise, but the sector was already identifying the needs and contacts were beginning to form.

When a PERTE is announced, you still have to wait a few months for the regulatory bases to be published first and then the calls. This is what happened in June 2022, when the companies in the sector found that it is better to go well-accompanied into a complex and unprecedented process, due to the nature of the calls for applications, so different in form and content from other European grants.

“The grant has been decisive. It was with you, Emma, and with FI Group that we accessed the funds, and you helped us to channel our investment capacity. Bankinter's support was the catalyst that enabled this to go ahead as a driving force,” highlights the CEO of García Baquero.

Without this support from Bankinter, FI Group and the PERTE, we would not exist today. From a personal and business perspective, and from the point of view of the entire consortium, we thank you for the enthusiasm you had for developing this project,” adds the director of the company leading the consortium.

PERTE announcement: anticipation.

2. Birth of the consortium: overcoming difficulties

After the publication of the PERTE, “the investment projects had to be presented quickly. FI Group did its job there by bringing all the companies together. We are more than 20 companies, with all the administrative and technical requirements that this type of call for applications entails,” says Miguel Ángel García Baquero.

“García Baquero, as a leading company, ultimately has the responsibility of developing the consortium, not only for the good of the company, but for the good of all. A more sustainable, technological and intelligent sector in terms of traceability and processes,” explains the CEO. “We are going to have a stronger product with much more added value. And with greater scope, not only national but international,” he adds.

“Together, with the support and tenacity of FI Group, we were able to present the project in a timely manner.” One of the challenges of a project of this nature is to unite different types of companies, with different organisational cultures and in different locations. The consortium is made up of companies from seven autonomous communities: Castile-La Mancha, Castile and Leon, Andalusia, Valencia, the Basque Country, Galicia and Catalonia.

3. Project presentation: in the hands of the commissioner

"The dossier has been under consideration by the administration since 15 March. A double-check that the NextGen funds involve the Spanish and autonomous community authorities. Specifically, the agri-food PERTE has a commissioner, Jordi Carbonell, who is in charge of providing initial backing for the projects. From there, things will get rolling.

“Days ago, the commissioner was in Alcázar de San Juan together with the local authorities of Castile-La Mancha, getting to know the group and seeing that interconnection between the companies and how this group comes together faced with the possibility of being selected. This is going to be a lot of work for the commissioner”, says Miguel Ángel García Baquero. The decision will come after the summer.

According to Emma Montserrat, a great deal of progress has been made in record time. “This is an example for many other companies that are thinking about whether their projects are eligible or not, and who even hesitate at the possibility of leading a consortium. I am sure your example is useful to many companies,” says Bankinter's head of European Funds.



Why FI Group and Bankinter?

Why FI Group and Bankinter?

Bankinter chose FI Group as a partner to promote the use of Next Generation EU funds among its business clients. This consultancy has been advising Spanish companies for 25 years in gaining access to public funding, in particular European grants.

FI Group's work alongside Bankinter covers everything from the initial analysis to the investment strategy, the drafting and documents of the application dossier, the monitoring of the assessment process and the allocation of funds and, finally, the management and justification of the project throughout its execution.