Spanish energy giant Abengoa is currently trying to avoid chalking up Spain’s biggest ever bankruptcy, but it has emerged the company's downfall was predicted over 12 months ago by a teenage economics student in Barcelona.
Pepe Baltá, a 17-year-old secondary school student, discovered Abengoa had some serious accounting discrepancies and predicted it would end in bankruptcy while doing his economics coursework.
He has now seen that predication come true after the group filed for protection from its creditors on November 27th. The firm now has four months to find a solution to its astronomical debt or go bankrupt and become Spain's biggest-ever corporate failure.
Thousands of jobs are at risk, as well as Abengoa’s numerous projects around the world.
Baltá, who is now 18 and in his first year of medical studies at university is modest about his surprising discovery.
“I only have basic secondary school knowledge of economics,” he told Spanish daily El Mundo. “I’m no financial whiz.”
Despite his “basic knowledge” he predicted the financial troubles of the energy giant in his coursework, titled, Analytical report on Abengoa, 2012 and 2013, which was awarded top marks.
— Diego Gª Cabello (@diegogarciacab) December 14, 2015
Pepe Baltá, who predicted Abengoa's financial troubles.
“If it does not act soon, there is a strong risk Abengoa will go into bankruptcy,” Baltá wrote in the report.
The first surprise when studying the accounts was that an apparently negative profit was converted to positive.
“Talk with suppliers to renegotiate debt or seek some other type of funding to avoid the problem of suspended payments,” he advised the company.
“As soon as I saw what was happening with Abengoa I remembered Pepe’s coursework,” Baltá’s economics teacher told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.
“I was very surprised that what I wrote actually happened,” Baltá told the radio station.
Abengoa, the world leader in solar and wind power said it had a gross debt of nearly €9 billion at the end of September.
It has already begun redundancies in Spain, where it employs 7,000 people, laying off 500 workers in Seville, where its headquarters is located.
Workers of Seville have spoken to Spanish newspaper ABC of the so-called 'black Fridays' when the latest rounds of job losses are announced.
It employs 27,000 people globally, whose jobs are now all at risk if the energy giant crumbles.