The success of Mercadona: exploitation, business piracy and business in dictatorships

With a fortune that amounts to 3,400 million euros, Juan Roig He is the fourth richest person in Spain. Ahead, only Amancio and Sandra Ortega, from Inditex and Rafael del Pino, president of railway. A good part of Roig’s fortune comes from his business activity at the head of Mercadona, which, with a 25% market share, is the main supermarket chain in our country. Specifically, 10.65 million euros come from his duties at the head of the supermarket chain, to which must be added the 80 million he obtained in dividends.

Another of Roig’s million-dollar businesses is the investment company Angels, through which it has invested a not inconsiderable amount of 32 million euros in a total of 38 companies. In addition, Juan Roig is the main shareholder of the Valencia Basketballa team that wears on its shirts the slogan that the Valencian businessman has popularized in his stores: “the culture of effort”.

Well, actually to understand Roig’s “success” you have to dive a bit into his family tree. His great-grandparents Vicente Roig and Desamparados Guillén dedicated themselves to the business of buying and selling grain and livestock, his grandfather, Francisco Roig Guillenspecialized in livestock, and his father Francisco Roig Bataller would launch the company Cárnicas Roig in the dark years of the autarky. The meat factory, located in La Pobla de Farnals, covered the entire production process and grew under the new regulations on slaughterhouses.

With the oil crisis At the end of the 1970s, demand fell, and the Roigs opted to overcome the crisis by opening direct sales counters in the slaughterhouse itself. From there they went on to open stores, in which they expanded the offer to other food products, uniting the profile of butcher shops and groceries. Had been born Mercadonaa network of stores that took the name of “Mercat” and “Dona”, market and woman in Valencian.

The patriarch of the family Francisco Roig BatallerHe had a reputation for being tough. As his eldest son tells, Paco RoigWhen the family started with Mercadona, his father used to tell him: “Faggot, faggot, you have to be a swineherd”, in reference to the family’s meat business. In 1981, and with the help of his brothers, Juan Roig buys the company from his parents, which at that time had eight grocery stores in Valencia.

There is a little-known episode in the origin of the Juan Roig supermarket chain and in the fortune of the family clan: they are the businesses that his brother Paco did, during the dictatorship of Teodoro Obiang in Equatorial Guinea. As reported by the journalist Xavier Montana in The Spanish plot of corruption in Guineain 1979 Paco Roig arrived in Malabo to do business with another Valencian, the Spanish ambassador Jose Luis Graullerapersonal friend of Adolfo Suarez. Thanks to this contact, Paco Roig gained a monopoly on food imports.

“The island is mine,” they say he warned his competitors. He didn’t pay taxes, the profit margin was huge and, furthermore, as Montanya tells it, he didn’t repay the credits: it was a perfect multimillion-dollar scam. This he himself admits in an interview in The confidential: the Guinean dictatorship became his biggest business, livestock, timber, cocoa, coffee, supermarkets, he did everything. And Paco Roig shared the benefits with Obiang. Such was his good relationship that the Guinean dictator hand-picked him the management of the Bahia Hotelwhich had been requisitioned from a Spanish businessman.

However, there was a moment when everything went wrong. This is recounted in an opinion article published in the point avui on March 1, 2016, the one who was the founder of the Catalan BankFrancesc Cabana, who met Paco Roig when he was a consultant to the World Bank in Equatorial Guinea. “Paco Roig chose to deceive Obiang and go into debt up to his eyebrows with the banks that existed. One of them was Spanish, a subsidiary of the Banco Exterior de España, chaired by the politician (from the PSOE) Michael Boyer. Obiang realized the deception and gave orders to arrest Paco Roig, but he managed to flee on the last plane from Iberia towards Madrid and Valencia.”

As a consequence of this, the Guinean government suspended payments to Meats SA, the Roig family business. Cabana, as a World Bank consultant, had to settle the accounts of Roig’s Guinean supermarket chain, and he assures that they were from the duty court.

Today Mercadona has become, as we said, the main supermarket chain of our country and employs almost 100,000 workers, obtaining close to 700 million euros of net benefits per year.

This is something that several former employees and integrated suppliers of Mercadona denounced in the saved What did Jordi Evole about Juan Roig’s company in 2017.

Mercadona not only put up obstacles for its workers to take advantage of their labor rights, but, according to their own workers, it also took retaliation against those who chose to organize to defend your rights.

Mercadona has been able to offer low prices on its products at the expense of absorb factories that became, in practice, companies owned by them.

In February 2014, he had to testify before the judge of the National audience Pablo Ruz, in the framework of the case that investigated the accounting B of the Popular Party. The name of Mercadona appeared in the Bárcenas notebooks and donations of 90,000 and 150,000 euros were associated with it in the years 2004 and 2008, respectively to the People’s Party. The president of Mercadona denied having made those payments and they were finally discarded.

What Roig has recognized is having made two donations of 50,000 euros in 2005 and 2012 to the FAES foundationthe think tank of Jose Maria Aznar. And also have donated money to the foundation Women for Africaby María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, former minister with Rodriguez Zapatero.

Related articles

The United Kingdom recognized the cover-up of blood contaminated with HIV and hepatitis

An investigation revealed the biggest public health scandal in the UK: the deliberate cover-up by the British authorities between 1970 and 1991 of blood...

Massacre in Manta: At least four dead after an armed attack on a volleyball...

Manabí bleeds to death. A new massacre was recorded on a volleyball court in Manta during the night of this May 20. Videos...

Orense lost 1-0 against Técnico Universitario

Only a goal from Técnico Univ. at the Bellavista stadium made the difference in the duel against Orense on date 13 of the Ecuador...

Tesla Shareholders Urge to Reject Musk’s $56 Billion Pay Package

A coalition of shareholders Tesla Inc. is urging other investors to reject $56 billion pay package for CEO Elon Muskat the company's annual meeting...