Chief Executive
Officer’s overview


JOSEP MARTÍNEZ VILA. Consejero Delegado de SABA

“Saba’s EBITDA reached 100 million euros for the first time since the company’s inception”

If 2016 saw the beginnings of a recovery in the car park business, 2017 confirmed the positive growth of the business, with an overall increase of 4% in our activity in Europe, with Portugal in particular standing out. Growth stood at 2%, if Chile is included, where a new rate per minute system has been implemented. Saba likewise maintained the recovery in subscribers, around 4%, thanks to marketing efforts and improving macroeconomic and consumption variables.

In 2017, operating income from Saba’s assets under management stood at 213 million euros, 4% more than in the previous year, while EBITDA reached 100 million euros for the first time since the company’s inception and 6% more than in 2016, a goal that should be the starting point for a new period in which growth will continue to be a top priority, as will be the continued optimisation of the recurrent management of our consolidated assets. Both objectives are inexorably linked.

Saba’s main scopes reflect, on the one hand, good business performance and, on the other hand, the efforts made by the organisation as a whole to increase the operational efficiency of the business, to implement initiatives that allow the company to become a leader in the sector—putting special emphasis on new support systems, new technologies and digitalisation, as well as new formulas and commercial initiatives—and to actively manage contracts, focusing on growth.

“We have raised our standards of excellence to the highest level in the commercial, technological and added value services fields”

In terms of operational efficiency and service quality, 2017 was the year Saba internationalised its Customer service and Control Centre (CCC), with almost 170 connected car parks in Spain, Italy and Portugal. Likewise, Saba continued its actions in energy efficiency (LED technology) in search of savings, but also management optimization through the implementation of management software in 90% of the network that allows the monitoring and control of consumption and billing in real time.

During 2017, new technology and customer service lines were introduced, with the extension of the new control systems (QR in substitution of magnetic strips) in all Saba countries, as well as a complete remodelling of the facilities, in which the company has invested heavily, aimed at improving the comfort of customers. The remodelling of almost 40 car parks is planned for 2018, reaching a total of 15,000 car park spaces. In addition, the year ended with more than 9 million movements carried out using the VIA T access and electronic payment device in 74 car parks in Spain, a record number that is accompanied by the deployment in all Saba countries of similar systems, with the implementation of the Telepass system in almost 20 car parks in Italy worthy of note.

In 2017 we raised our standards of excellence to the highest level in the commercial, technological and added value services fields. Examples of this include our business website, the only one in the sector that features an online store, which received more than 800,000 visits last year, or the launching of new customer support and institutional positioning channels on social media.

Moreover, in this area we can include the installation of a total of 115 digital advertising screens in our car park networks, combining innovation and customer service, and also the implementation of car park areas set aside for e-commerce, which we aim to do in 40 car parks in 2018 thanks to an agreement signed with the multinational PUDO. We have launched a microdistribution pilot project in Barcelona and we are now more than ever committed to the electric car, with Saba offering its customers 154 electric charging stations in Spain, Italy and Portugal and aiming to install around 150 more in 14 cities in Spain thanks, in part, to subsidies from the Alternative Mobility Support Plan of the Ministry of Energy.

Last year marked a turning point in the search for agreements to boost innovation and, in this regard, the one signed with SEAT is worthy of mention. The agreement incorporates us into the car company’s digital ecosystem with the aim of developing new services with new functionalities related to car parks such as offering a mobile booking and payment system, providing information in real time about available car park spaces, recommending a car park according to the needs of each customer—through the Parkfinder App—or other services associated to the time when the car is parked, such as the delivery of online purchases to the car—through the Droppit App—or refuelling.

In terms of growth, in 2017 and early 2018 we have carried out operations in all the countries where we are present, including the purchase of a car park in the Plaza de los Sitios in Zaragoza, the inauguration of a concession car park in Verona and lease contracts in Gaia (Oporto) and in Nos Campo Grande (Lisbon). Finally, in Chile the company was awarded the management of three Cenocosud shopping centres in the capital Santiago, which represents 12,300 new car park spaces, doubling its previous volume. The company now manages 30,000 spaces and is established as the leading operator.

With all this, we should always bear in mind the following premise: that of corporate responsibility and permanent interaction and commitment with the territory in which we operate. And another factor to take into account: the new environment, the new needs of consumers and the reaction capacity and adaptation without which we will not be able to reach that desired level of excellence that has led us and will lead us to position ourselves at the top, providing quality and added value services to our customers. And the cornerstone of the whole structure is Saba’s team, essential for the development and growth of the company, the culture of customer service and commitment to society, and to whom I want to thank for its effort and commitment throughout the entire exercise.