Country Listing

Spain Table of Contents



The public sector of the postwar Spanish economy was not conspicuously large, compared with the corresponding sectors of most other West European countries. Much of it came into existence under the Franco regime. Spain's communication and transportation facilities were publicly operated, as was the case on most of the rest of the continent. State trading monopolies were maintained for petroleum products, tobacco, and some agricultural products, but most industry other than coal mining, iron and steel making, shipbuilding, and aircraft assembly, was privately owned. Most of the major financial institutions were also privately owned. Yet agriculture, which was largely in private hands, was affected by a panoply of subsidies and marketing controls. Irrigation projects and reforestation and land reform programs were also important official concerns.

The single largest component of the public sector was the National Industrial Institute (Instituto Nacional de Industria-- INI), a government holding company that was primarily, though not exclusively, involved in industry (see National Industrial Institute , this ch.). In addition to INI, the public sector included the Grupo Patrimonio, founded in the late nineteenth century. Formally referred to as the Directorate General for State Assets (Direccion General del Patrimonio del Estado--DGPE), it functioned under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Commerce. In the mid-1980s, there were about two dozen companies in the DGPE, operating in a variety of sectors, such as communications, finance, transportation, agriculture, and textiles. Three companies dominated the group: the National Telephone Company of Spain (Compania Telefonica Nacional de Espana--CTNE), the tobacco distributor (Tabacalera), and the Overseas Trade Bank (Banco Exterior de Espana). Together they accounted for the bulk of the employment and the financial holdings of the group's members. The shares of these companies were held directly by the state, rather than indirectly through a holding company, as was the case with INI. One of the main purposes of the DGPE was to channel to the government the revenues from the sale of certain commodities placed in the hands of monopoly distributors, though such monopolies were coming to an end as a result of Spain's entry into the EC. The DGPE had also taken an active role in restructuring the textile industry.

Data as of December 1988