The 26,296 companies and freelancers in Catalonia to whom the Generalitat distributes covid aid | Seeker

A total of 843 companies concentrate one in every four euros of covid solvency aid distributed by the Generalitat. Hotels, real estate groups, construction companies, industrial manufacturers or consulting firms are the main recipients of the highest amounts of these transfers, which have been between 3,000 and 200,000 euros. These funds have been authorized by the central government and distributed by the autonomies to cushion part of the effects of the pandemic on the business fabric. Among the names of the beneficiaries, renowned hotels such as the Palace from Barcelona. Also manufacturers of automotive components such as Gestamp, which is currently negotiating an ere that affects 90 workers. Or historic hostess clubs and nightclubs affected by restrictions on nightlife, such as the Baghdad from Barcelona; among others.

In total the Government of the Generalitat has distributed direct aid to 26,296 companies and freelancers, worth of 661 million euros. This figure is the sum of the two calls that the ‘Ministry’ of Empresa i Treball published between the months of June and July. Of this total number of beneficiaries, there are 843 applicants who have received the maximum amounts set by the royal decree of the State Government: a total of 200,000 euros, as EL PERIÓDICO of the official resolutions of the Generalitat has been able to review, which together represent the 25% of the 661 million euros already distributed.

The distribution of covid aid is still underway and another 190 million euros are pending allocation in Catalonia, for which the Catalan administration is managing a third round of transfers. On November 19, the application deadlines were closed and the ‘conselleria’ directed by Roger Torrent It has received more than 31,000 applications, of which the Tax Agency must now screen to verify which ones comply with the legal requirements. The deadline for distributing these remnants is December 31, since what remains unassigned after that date must be returned to the State.

The sectors most affected by the pandemic are widely represented in the list of beneficiaries, where there are a number of hospitality firms or companies that supply large stores. This is the case, for example, of Grouping of Vending Companies, a firm dedicated to managing vending machines and that with the pandemic, especially the first months, have seen how offices and other facilities have stopped consuming their products due to lack of staff. The entire value chain that begins or ends in the hotel is shown in the photo: Firms dedicated to frozen foods for catering and large events; Parapharmacies specialized in soaps, toothpastes and other small bottles in the bathrooms of large hotel chains or manufacturers of infrastructures for said complexes. It is the case of Alt Bath, a firm that offers bathroom assemblies without works and that has one of its main clients in the hotel sector. From Alt Bath they have declined to assess the distribution of the aid and the 200,000 euros received.

The stoppage in schools and public events has been noticed in Catering Vilanova, SME with 40 years of history, dedicated to school canteens and social and health care and that had to stop its activity during the first stages of the pandemic. “We were able to request the aid, despite the fact that the required documentation was not very clear. Everything contributes, but it has not covered much less all the losses,” they explain from the company. There are several names of organizations related to the world of events: companies involved in the management of rooms, responsible for lighting or audiovisual installations and stand assemblers, among others.

Injection to the real estate sector

The other main protagonists are the real estate activity companies: among the organizations that have requested the maximum amount there are from investment agencies, to tourist apartment managers, construction companies and even hóldings (companies that group other companies) in charge of large projects. There are quite a few of this style: companies or groups of companies that stand out from the rest because of their size, popularity or their connections.

One of these cases is, for example, the company that owns the chain of H10 Hotels, which has accommodations in fifteen tourist spots in Spain, in five European cities and in the Caribbean. Two others are Servitravel, a travel agency only for CaixaBank clients, and Advanced Medical Surgical Unit, which offers its body shaping service in several Quirón hospitals in Spain. And a fourth, a Madrid conglomerate dedicated to real estate development, Nogarent, which has had among its ranks one of the 200 richest men in Spain and whose administrator is related to companies and hotels in both Madrid and Extremadura.

Beneficiaries with no apparent business activity

These examples are mixed with others that stand out instead for the lack of information in this regard. There are several companies without a website or without clear information about the orientation of their business, but that have managed to prove sufficient requirements to be able to access these aids. From a marketing consultancy with nine followers on her Twitter account and an unfinished website; to an intermediary in the consumer sector who works in a garage, through an agricultural cooperative that does wholesale without a website. Or a company that claims to sell medical instruments but whose official corporate purpose is to provide accounting and advertising services; and another of whose activity there is no trace on Google.

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The aid to business solvency designed by the State Government but distributed by the autonomies require prior accreditation of a series of requirements. The main one is a 30% drop in billing in 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year, as well as tax residence in Catalonia. Applicants cannot request aid for the maximum amount without further ado, but must be able to accredit a series of expenses such as unattended debts with suppliers, financial debts, rents of premises or pending payroll of workers, among others. The Generalitat de Catalunya has enabled a double filter to make sure. On the one hand, the Catalan administration’s own technicians check that the VAT, personal income tax or corporation tax data agrees with what has been declared. And, on the other hand, they send all requests to the Tax agency, which checks with its own data that companies meet all the requirements. And in case of data divergence, the authorization or denial of the Tax Agency prevails.

These grants of up to 200,000 euros entail a series of obligations for the recipients, such as the requirement to maintain business activity until July 2022, the impossibility of distributing dividends during the next financial year or raising the remuneration of the company’s senior management; among others.

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