Founded in 1962 by David Álvarez, the Eulen group makes its way with its particular army of operators in new businesses and countries, determined to increase its income by 20% in three years. Dedicated to services for companies, it employs 76,449 people worldwide and is listed as one of the largest employers in Spain, with a workforce of 48,749 workers, along with companies such as Mercadona, El Corte Inglés, ONCE or Correos. It is an unknown giant that avoids noise, even in the shareholding schism suffered a few years ago by the founding family.
If Eulen goes unnoticed, it is because he is in charge of tasks that are as necessary as they are far from marketing. 59% of the income comes from facility services for companies and administrations, ranging from maintenance to office cleaning. Another 20.5% corresponds to the security business; 8.5%, to socio-sanitary care, and 11.4%, to temporary work. The company also distinguishes between conventional and special services, which are made to measure and include solutions of all kinds: from the rehabilitation of a mining space to air purification.
The result is a highly labor-intensive group of services, the kind that operate on tight margins and battle inflation. Its latest accounts, those for 2022, show growth higher than the strong price increases of the year. Revenues were 1,674 million euros, 9% more than in the previous year, while profit stood at 12 million euros, barely a quarter of the 44 million in 2021.
Its income forecasts, according to group sources, go through reaching 1,850 million euros in 2024 and around 2,000 million a year later.
The company wants to grow organically in the twelve European and American markets in which it operates, without giving up strategic acquisitions. One of the most recent is the purchase in the United States of United States Services Industries to strengthen itself in one of the markets with the most opportunities. Of Eulen's income, 345 million, just over 20%, already come from abroad.
His international deployment has also taken him to Portugal, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic and the United Arab Emirates. He has done it while making commercial efforts to convince his clients of his high degree of specialization in services ranging from telephone attention to energy efficiency.
"In Spain, we also expect to grow with purchases, but in this case of very specialized startups in specific business niches," they say from the company. The first purchase of a start-up company has been that of G2G Algae, a scientific start-up that uses microalgae crops for the recovery of agricultural soils, among other applications.
The new commitment to startups aims to improve profitability in the coming years. "They will be very specialized small companies that support the company's current portfolio," says the company. A cybersecurity division has also been created to boost revenue in the future.
The executive general director of the group, Juan Ramón Pérez Sancho, alludes in Eulen's latest annual report to the importance of "balancing results and people" and is confident that during this year the group will continue to grow both in turnover and creation of employment. One of the objectives is to strengthen supply chains and the network of suppliers.
Business plans are mixed with a particular shareholding structure. After the death of the founder in 2015, at the age of 88, the conflict intensified between the eldest daughter, María José Álvarez, and the five wayward brothers who faced the will of her father. David Álvarez had created a company to control 60% of Eulen together with his daughter, who is now president and sole administrator. They did it at the cost of a judicial confrontation in which María José Álvarez has emerged victorious.
In parallel, the brothers have control over the Vega Sicilia winery, one of whose shareholders' meetings was challenged by Álvarez in court for an alleged abuse of rights against the founder. The Supreme Court ended up agreeing with the president of Eulen.