ASCRI, the Spanish venture capital association, was founded in 1986 as a non-profit organisation in order to promote and develop the venture capital and private equity activity in Spain. Since its inception, the association has helped increase the information made available from the venture capital and private equity sector in Spain, and has become a point of reference for investors, professional advisers, business schools and other relevant institutions. Angela Sormani reports.

ASCRI was set up by three leading Spanish venture capital firms: Sefinnova, Sociedad Bancaya de Promocion Empresarial (SBPE) and Sodicaman. The board of original directors included chairman, Victoriano Lopez Pinto Ruiz (Sefinnova), first vice-chairman, Santiago Bergareche (SBPE), and second vice-chairman José Ramirez Gambin (Sodicaman).

Today the board includes;

l José María Aracama (Sodena)

l Nicolás Bonilla (Apax Partners)

l Joan Carbonell (Catalana de Iniciatives)

l Juan Luis Galán (M-Capital)

l José María López de Letona

l José María Losada (Gestión de Capital Riesgo del País Vasco)

l Javier Loizaga (Mercapital Servicios Financieros)

l Jorge Mataix (Nmas 1 Electra)

l Felipe Oriol (Corpfin Capital)

l Carlos Rodríguez de Tembleque (Vista Capital de Expansión)

l Miguel Angel Trigo (SPPE – Caja de Madrid)

l Juan Vela (Instituto de Fomento de Andalucía)

ASCRI has been collaborating on an informal basis with José Martí’ Pellón, professor of financial management at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, on data since 1988 and he has recently signed a contract to provide ASCRI with reports, statistics and a database – see EVCJ February 2003, page 51. Copyright will belong to ASCRI. The association also organises conferences, seminars, symposiums and meetings related to the Spanish private equity market.

ASCRI has lobbied actively over the years for an appropriate legal, financial and tax frame for investors and entrepreneurs. The association has been particularly keen to facilitate the possibility of syndicating investments between ASCRI members in the venture capital market and to maintain a high standard in the management of all memberships.

Legal and regulatory

ASCRI’s most recent achievement is the existing regulation (Ley 1/1999), which was approved in January 1999. Although there are some points that require development,

the law is fully operational. The main incentives offered are:

l Dividends received from investee companies are 100 per cent tax exempt for corporate investors

l As long as divestments takes place between years 2 and 12, taxes on capital gains earned from investee companies are reduced by 99 per cent

Dominique Barthel, an ASCRI director, says a lot more improvements in Spain would be welcomed. Among these she cites further development of the Spanish buyout market and a better understanding of venture capital and private equity by Spanish entrepreneurs and the government. Further aims of the association are to attract more funds from national pension funds and insurance companies and to obtain a better legal and fiscal framework for venture capital and private equity in Spain.