The Business Year

Carmen Sampol

SPAIN - Economy

Carmen Sampol

CEO, Grupo SAMPOL

Bio

Carmen Sampol was selected as one of the Top-100 Women Leaders of Spain in 2021 as well as CaixaBank Woman Entrepreneur Award 2021 in the Balearic Islands. She started her professional career in SAMPOL Group 26 years ago with the responsibility of the international growth of the company in the Caribbean. In the year 2000 she was named CEO and leads since than the Mallorcan multinational.

“Our priorities in 2022 are to continue accompanying Mallorcan society in the energy transition and on the road to digitalization.“

Founded in 1934, SAMPOL has grown from a small Mallorcan family business to an international group with a strong presence. What milestones have marked the company’s growth during these years?

In 1934, my grandfather, José Sampol Narbona, founded a small workshop known as Casa SAMPOL, which was the germ of the multinational that is today Grupo SAMPOL. After betting on electricity and taking advantage of the tourist boom in the 1960s, SAMPOL settled into the Mallorcan market mainly serving the hotel sector. The geographical diversification of the group has not only focused on the national territory, but also outside of Spain. SAMPOL entered the Dominican Republic in 1990, where it built the first power generation plant on the island. Today, the company has a strong presence in the Caribbean region, where we are a reference, and it continues to open delegations. Since then, SAMPOL has diversified into sectors such as transport infrastructure, energy generation and distribution, industrial facilities, hotels, buildings and telecommunications infrastructure, digitalization, the implementation of telecommunications systems, the development and implementation of automation systems, and the integration of SCADAS, hardware and software adapted to the needs of users. In 2005, we put into operation the T4 cogeneration plant of Adolfo Suárez Madrid Airport, which offers terminal cooling, heat, and electricity. The liberalization of the energy market in Spain opened new business opportunities that include generation, distribution, and marketing. SAMPOL once again adapted to the new times and evolved in this direction with the creation of new high-energy efficiency plants in Spain (Palma and Burgos) and abroad (Italy, Mexico, Jamaica, and recently Puerto Rico). Another important milestone for our group was the issuance of a bond in the alternative fixed income market (MARF) in 2019 and the registration of a promissory note program also in the MARF in 2020. Thanks to the desire for innovation of all SAMPOL Group’s employees, our family business has become the conglomerate that we are today, a benchmark in innovation and applied engineering.

How would you describe SAMPOL’s relationship to the tourism sector on Mallorca?

SAMPOL Group has accompanied the growth of Mallorca’s tourism sector since the beginning of the tourist boom of the 1960s, serving Mallorcan hoteliers. Since then, SAMPOL has grown and evolved hand-in-hand with hoteliers. In 1990, it made the leap to the Caribbean to provide Mallorcan hoteliers with high-energy efficiency plants. In addition, SAMPOL currently accompanies the tourism sector in the transition toward clean energy generation, which integrates renewable energies with cogeneration, biogas, hydrogen, biomass, or batteries. SAMPOL invests in innovation, and we have consolidated our know-how in the energy sector. SAMPOL is a pioneer in the introduction of fiber optics to hotel rooms. Huawei has recognized us as a Solution Partner of the Year for our GPON solution for hotels. We have also launched innovative innovations for hoteliers, such as the Icosaedro hotel management platform, a pioneering and innovative platform that unifies and integrates the management, control, and entertainment of the hotel. The platform allows simplifying system operations from a single interface, whether hotspot, Wi-Fi, IPTV, GPON network monitoring, energy efficiency, or the room of the future, the SmartRoom.

What does SAMPOL mean today for Mallorca’s economy, and how has the company become involved in the island’s strategic sectors to make them more dynamic and competitive?

SAMPOL is extremely proud to be part of the business fabric of the Mallorcan economy. Our goal is to contribute to the decarbonization of the islands by innovating with our proposals for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and digitalization. At the sectorial level, we are fully involved with tourism, with hoteliers, and also with infrastructures, both airports, railways or ports. In addition, we also serve the administration, hospitals, industrial facilities, and telecommunications infrastructures. We are fully involved with the energy transition of the islands, companies, administration, and society in general. SAMPOL is the partner par excellence for administration and companies to embark on the energy transition. We operate the high-efficiency power generation plant in Parc Bit, from where we supply electricity, heat, and air conditioning to Parc Bit and part of the university. We also operate the highly efficient power generation plant of Son Llí tzer hospital, and we have several projects underway in Mallorca for the generation of renewable energy with photovoltaic panels. With our energy marketer SAMPOL Energí­a, we commercialize 100% renewable energy and install photovoltaic panels for self-consumption to SMEs and to end consumer.

What is your assessment of SAMPOL’s current international presence, and which countries are best positioned to establish or expand the company’s operations?

SAMPOL is present in 12 countries—Spain, Italy, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Peru, Canada, and Cape Verde—and we have developed projects in 21 countries. Apart from our unconditional support to the hotel industry in the Caribbean area, in Puerto Rico we are currently working on several power generation projects for various industries: for the GFR media group; for Coopervision or Janssen in the pharmaceutical industry; and a biogas power generation project for the Bacardi rum distillery. In Canada, we are immersed in a major power generation project for the Canadian corporation KRC, where SAMPOL is carrying out the engineering of a 100-MWe power production plant. In the airport sector, we have projects in Honduras, Mexico, and Peru. We are involved in the construction of the new Palmerola International Airport in Honduras, working on the expansion of the Jorge Chávez International Airport airfield in Lima, Peru, and working on maintenance of the control and monitoring system of the Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City. Approximately 43% of SAMPOL’s turnover comes from our activity outside Spain, and our forecasts indicate that this figure will increase in the future.

The island of Mallorca is currently betting even more on sustainability and circularity. How is SAMPOL supporting this trend?

SAMPOL, as experts in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainability, and digitalization, has presented to the Balearic administration projects in energy transition and digitalization for an investment of EUR 3 billion. We commercialize electricity from 100% renewable sources and the installation of photovoltaic panels for self-consumption to help end consumers and SMEs enjoy clean and renewable energy, thus contributing to building a decarbonized future. We work to build a sustainable future, free of CO2 and based on circular economy principles. Our services focus on offering highly efficient energy generation with renewable energies as well as the management, recycling and reuse of water in the case of hotels. We are committed to innovation, technology, and digitalization as key tools to develop solutions that contribute to controlling and improving the efficiency of our customers’ processes, thus also contributing to their energy efficiency and sustainability.

What will be the priorities for SAMPOL in 2022?

Our priorities in 2022 are to continue accompanying Mallorcan society in the energy transition and on the road to digitalization, as a reference and as experts in the field. We will continue to grow in the countries in which we are present; innovate with the hotel, airport and infrastructure, and industrial sectors; and accompany these industries on their energy transition and digitalization journeys. We will continue to lead the generation and distribution of energy and telecommunications facilities and infrastructures. We will also actively contribute to sustainable development and the generation of value for our customers and our stakeholders and continue to promote our commitment to the UN Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

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