Top Spanish Companies Back Research and Development

Top Spanish Companies Back Research and Development

Top Spanish Companies Back Research and Development

Research and development (R&D) is vital for any firm aiming to reach the top and stay there. A company’s reputation for innovation is a big attraction for any potential investor.

R&D investment has always been a priority for Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica and leading bank Santander. It’s not surprising, then, that they both ranked in the top 50 European companies that most invested in this area of their business in 2012, according to a recent report released by the European Commission.

Telefonica created a separate R&D company in 1988 to boost the group’s competitiveness through technical innovation. In 2012, it invested 1.113 billion euros in R&D, up 2.2 per cent from a year earlier.

Santander claimed 29th place in the rankings, just behind Telefonica in 27th place. But its overall investment in R&D last year declined 22.7 per cent. While amongst the most highly capitalised lenders in Europe, Santander has not escaped the banking crisis at home. It is still grappling with its share of bad loans and trying to offset the impact of falling margins on its balance sheet, so R&D investment was a lower priority last year.

But other Spanish firms like Indra Sistemas and Grifols increased their R&D investment budget, according to the EC report. While lower down in the overall European rankings, these firms continue to bet on innovation to lure investors.


At the forefront of R&D and innovation, technology multinational Indra Sistemas has invested over 550 million euros in the last three years. It leads the field in providing international solutions for air and road traffic control.

Barcelona-based pharmaceutical company Grifols is also committed to R&D investment. In 2012, it earmarked 124.4 million euros for this area, equivalent to 5 per cent of sales revenue. Its R&D spending has helped Grifols become the world’s third-largest blood products maker, providing a key strategic support for a slew of M&A deals.


Spain’s corporate tax regulations include tax credits for companies investing in Internet and information technology to boost their innovative capacity. The government is also working on implementing tax breaks for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have struggled to obtain credit from local banks weakened by the Eurozone debt crisis.

SMEs account for around 70 per cent of Spain’s economy, and so it is vital that they continue to focus on R&D to expand and attract foreign investors.

The Entrepreneurs Law offers SMEs incentives for reinvesting profits and provides tax credits for R&D and technical innovation. The new law also envisages tax benefits for angel investors who finance Spanish start-ups.

For information on research and development tax credits in Spain, contact corporate law firm Argali Abogados.

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