A family business with shipyards in the Canary Islands and the Basque Country, Zamakona Yards, is leading one of the four consortia seeking European Funds through the Shipbuilding PERTE (Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation). A success story highlighting the ambition and strength of Spanish SMEs.
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Experts and knowledge

Zamakona Yards: a shipbuilding consortium for European funds.

A success story highlighting the ambition and strength of Spanish SMEs.
Zamakona caso de éxito Fondos NGEU
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Experts and knowledge
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Published
23 Jun 2023
A family business with shipyards in the Canary Islands and the Basque Country, Zamakona Yards, is leading one of the four consortia seeking European Funds through the Shipbuilding PERTE (Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation). A success story highlighting the ambition and strength of Spanish SMEs.
The Shipbuilding PERTE was approved by the Council of Ministers on 15 March 2022

Octavio Llinás, International Senior Advisor at Zamakona Yards, discusses the details of this innovative industrial project in a conversation at the CFO Forum with Emma Montserrat, Head of European Funds and Director of Corporate Banking at Bankinter.

The Shipbuilding PERTE was approved by the Council of Ministers on 15 March 2022. This was a challenge for the modernisation of the Spanish shipbuilding sector to which companies such as Zamakona Yards were quick to respond. This family group, which comprises three shipyards and several complementary companies, is dedicated to building and repairing naval vessels, including ferries, fishing boats, rescue vessels, dredgers and oil tankers

A year ago, it took the lead in a consortium to apply for aid under this PERTE. It was helped in this by advice from FI Group, consultants specialising in European funds who work with Bankinter to facilitate access to aid for Spanish companies.

“This project has a unique feature: it is being led by an SME - Zamakona. This is very unusual”, as Octavio Llinás explains in his conversation with Emma Montserrat.

The primary projects considered in PERTEs have traditionally been headed by large companies leading a group of SMEs and, often, technology providers.

“This consortium features a set of primary projects that are very different and complementary to each other. These projects are driving, and will drive, significant progress in the sector”, according to the head of Zamakona's international projects. A total of 14 companies from 8 autonomous communities.

Aid of around 10 million euros

“We have budgeted a little over 15 million euros and expect about 10 million euros in aid. The project has a large innovation and research component, opening up access to the highest levels of financing”, Octavio Llinás says.

Some might think an R&D&i project at a high technological level is beyond the reach of a family business. But in this case, as with most projects benefiting from Next Generation funds, complexity has been an incentive rather than a barrier. Zamakona is supported by more than 50 years' experience in the shipbuilding sector. As Octavio Llinás says, the important thing in this type of challenge is always to stick with what you know.

“Given the size of these companies, it is more difficult for us to take advantage of these actions and to base our business on research and development. In this case, working with Bankinter and FI Group has fortunately made it possible. Why are we leading it? Because we are brave and we have had the support we need”, says Zamakona's representative.

Aid of around 10 million euros

10,000 tonnes of glass converted into a protective layer for ships

The project submitted for the PERTE will make it possible to reuse glass that goes to landfill, giving it a second life in shipbuilding. Using this recycled material requires the involvement of the various industries of the consortium. The glass will be used for what is known in shipbuilding as “blasting” the ships, which is part of the process of creating a protective layer again rust and the harsh conditions at sea.

“We are replacing metallic shot - the product we use in blasting in shipbuilding - with 100% recycled glass”, explains Octavio Llinás. “Our objective, he says, is to rescue 10,000 tonnes of glass that currently goes to landfill and turn it into something we can use it in our company. This is not only important from the perspective of the company's activity, but also because it is more environmentally friendly”.

The countdown: under consideration

The most difficult part is over: design of the proposal, formation of the consortium and drafting the project. Having completed the most strategic part, It is time for the official assessment, the award and, of course, implementation of the project and the consequent economic justification. The FI Group will be helping in this too.

“We are at the critical moment. The project is currently under evaluation. Four proposals have been submitted for the Shipbuilding PERTE, including us. But we are convinced we have a good proposal, and that good proposals end up winning. We're on it” says Octavio Llinás proudly.

Emma Montserrat, a manager at the bank backing the project financially, says Zamakona Yards is setting an example that can encourage a lot of companies to apply for European funds. FI Group's calculations show we can expect the publication of up to 5,000 calls for projects linked to NextGen Funds in 2023.

“Companies have their own dynamics, which are dedicated to their business, but you also have to try to think about the business of tomorrow, and that's not easy. All of the assistance we have received [from Bankinter and FI Group] has been very suitable, and this should encourage other companies”,

Octavio Llinás, International Senior Advisor at Zamakona Yards