A Spanish power struggle

A takeover bid by gas distributor Gas Natural for power utility Iberdrola may provide the impetus for much-needed competition in the Spanish energy market. But the bid has upset many traditional links in politics, finance and business. By Maria Kielmas

Change has never come easily to Spain’s energy industry, despite successive governments’ optimistic statements about planned deregulation and the proposed creation of a joint energy market with Portugal.

Two factors have dominated corporate strategic thinking: the relationships between energy firms and their principal shareholders at Spain’s financial institutions; and the maintenance of a political power balance between central and regional governments.

So when Barcelona-based

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