Telefónica’s shareholders’ general meeting, which took place electronically Friday, approved the re-election of José María Alvarez Palette as CEO of the company, with 84.6% support, up from 80.2% for 2017. The Board of Directors has approved and approved all the agreements proposed by the company’s Board of Directors, thus It gave the green light to manage the fiscal year 2020. It also supported the re-election of Carmen García de Andres, Ignacio Moreno and Francisco José Riberas as directors, and the shareholder remuneration through Dividends.
Alvarez Palette assessed Fiscal Year 2020 and highlighted the impact of the pandemic on Telefónica as a result of the decline in global economic activity. “Telefónica is not immune, but it is resistance,” he explained. We suffered, yes, but we responded and knew how to manage the situation. We do not give up. On the contrary, we redoubled our efforts and delivered our best. ”The CEO reminded the contributors how the crisis forced them to lose their fear of technology and digitization. During the initial incarceration period, digitalization progressed as much as it would have done in five years. Each month of incarceration, We were advancing a year in digitalization. “
The CEO of the company also confirmed that the leadership achieved in the field of fixed and mobile networks, where more than 135 million real estate units were passed along with optical fibers, is the result of a “deliberate and sustainable strategy over time”, which led to an investment of 95,000 million euros in all its markets.
Telefónica ended 2020 with cash generation close to 5,000 million euros, or up to 25,000 million euros, in the past five years. Over the past five years, too, the company has reduced its 17,000 million debt, and will soon reach a total of 26,000 million euros, less than half of what it was five years ago, once the pending operations are realized. Despite the crisis, Telefónica reported a net profit of around 1,600 million euros in 2020, 40% more than the previous year.
After Telefónica’s 97th anniversary, Alvarez Palette emphasized the importance of moving forward with the most sustainable and diverse standards, prioritizing values and a new social contract. Likewise, he has made a call to take advantage of the historic opportunity that Europe provides to promote Digital Spain. “It is a golden opportunity for Spain to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution, especially when Europe sets an ambitious agenda that places digitization and sustainability at the center,” he said. “Its potential will allow the GDP to increase between 1.5 and 2.5 percentage points annually until 2025 and increase the productivity of SMEs between 15% and 25%,” he added.
José María Alvarez Palette referred to the timing and validity of the strategic plan that was announced just a year and a half ago. When we designed and announced the plan, we did not realize that after a few months we would face such an exceptional situation. The pandemic surprised us with a recently released action plan. We don’t stop it, we don’t slow it down. On the contrary, we are accelerating it. “
Telefónica has made progress in recent months on each of the five points of the aforementioned strategic plan, focusing on its four main markets: Spain’s European leadership in spreading fiber and 5G technology, which now reaches 80% of the national territory; In the United Kingdom, in agreement with Liberty Global, the largest corporate operation in the history of the company; In Brazil, by purchasing Oi mobile assets; And in Germany, with the creation of the giant fiber company with Allianz. Regarding Latin America, it has refocused its presence in the region, focusing on profitability, efficiency and greater acquisition of asset value.
Telefónica Tech and Telefónica Infra, the group’s two strategic pieces, have also made progress in the past year. The company highlights that technology is truly a reality consisting of two digital communities, focused on cybersecurity and the cloud, on the one hand, and on Big data And the Internet of Things, on the other hand. For Infra, Telefónica confirms that it has achieved its goal of maximizing the deployment and strengthening of infrastructure, as evidenced by the sale of the Telxius Tower business for 7,700 million euros.
Finally, the goal of advancing the deployment of a new operating model promoting digitization has also paid off, with 80% of the company’s operations already digitized and the percentage of sales via digital channels reaching 35% of the total.
Telefónica also introduced a new slogan on Friday. The previous image has been in effect since 1998. The new image will be effective as of today in all countries in which Telefónica operates, and consists of five circles, as in the case of its predecessor, the letter “T.” The logo consists of five areas due to the special symbolism it carries. This number is for the group, according to the company.
First, because it is the fifth logo in the company’s history. Second, because there are five pillars on which the new Telefónica action plan will be based. And third, because each circle represents each of the “T” that is the company’s hallmarks: communication, technology, transformation, talent, and importance.