16 MAY 2023

Evangelos Mytilineos, Chairman & CEO of MYTILINEOS Energy & Metals on Bloomberg Markets European Close with anchors: Guy Johnson and Alix Steel

  • You’re investing heavily in green energy in Europe. Would you also be doing the same in North America?

Αs a matter of fact we invest heavily on the green transition thing on a global scale. We are present in 32 countries, big time in Australia, big time in Chile and after the IRA and the new measures of the Canadian government we are looking very much into North America, that’s why I’m here, for a second time this month. 

  • Does that mean you are signing a deal or are you talking to investors? 

We are close. 

  • You are close to which one? A deal? 

To a deal. 

  • You are close to a deal, somewhere in North America. Is that because of the IRA? Can you tell us a little bit more about the areas of deal that’s interesting to you? How about that? 

Look, the IRA is a very good set of measures. Very pragmatic and very good for business. The Canadian measures that have been announced last month are also in the right direction and that is also very attractive for a European business. In Europe, unfortunately, things are moving slower, the system is more bureaucratic, its 27-28 countries that have to agree, 27-28 parliaments that have to agree, and that takes time. That’s why I think although Europe was at the forefront of the green transition in the end North America will catch up and move faster. 

  • I’m interested, you keep talking about North America, not just the United States of America, are we in a subsidy war? Is that what you are describing here? What the Americans are offering, what the Canadians are offering is a little bit better than what the Europeans are offering so therefore you go to where the subsidies are? Is that how we should be thinking about this? 

The Europeans are not putting any money on the table, that’s why a lot of companies in the green transition era in general are looking very much into the North American markets. Europeans encourage you to do things or they banish you If you don’t do things. North Americans, not just the US, they are actually pushing, they are actually subsidizing and therefore I think they will move much faster than Europe going forward. 

  • Cause North America can’t have a carrot and a stick, its hard for the carrots in Europe. Ok, so then to this point you are aluminum and you are also green energy, that’s what MYTILINEOS Holding does. Are you interested in opportunities where you decarbonise hard to decarbonise sectors, like aluminum plants or refiners or is it about new technology and new stuff, like green hydrogen or different types of infrastructure?

Both. Some people ask me why metals and energy? And clean energy for that matter. It’s a very simple answer, much more simple than one could think. Metals in the future, they have to be green, otherwise they will seize to exist. 

So in order to move forward to the metal business, we have to be very green on the energy. Our metal business in the energy is doing great because it has the support of the energy division. And when I say energy, let’s be clear, I don’t mean just solar or wind and that. It’s a whole series of measures that have to be taken for the green transition, including hydrogen, including many things and these are now more and more are being put on the table, the people tag a price on them, because we’ve been talking for years about the green transition, we aren’t telling the people what does that mean in terms of money, in terms of time, in terms of lost revenues sometimes and so on.

  • What Europe is looking like going forward? Europe has not protected in many cases the higher energy usage companies that previously lived there. All those companies are going to leave as a result and ultimately do you think we’ve now seen the worst of the energy crisis in Europe? I keep referencing this. We are looking winter gas prices for next winter that are much, much lower than even what we were thinking 2 or 3 weeks ago. Do you think next winter looks ok?

Europe is in the most difficult situation as far as energy is concerned for reasons that have been heavily analyzed and are very well known to you. On the global scale competition, the US, the north America they have a very, very cheap energy probably 20% or 30% the cost of the European energy now that is much cheaper than it was last year. China is using 70% or 80% of its energy from coal without paying any penalty, like we do in Europe. Very heavy penalties on the CO2 and therefore Europe has a great disadvantage on the energy. How can we make up for this? The problem is we don’t have to rely on one source, like we did so far, but we have to open up the whole of European scene for new suppliers, the US, Qatar, Norway and others. But it’s gonna take time and in the meantime, it can be again nasty and difficult on times.

  • Who is gonna win the Greek election?

It was back in 2016, when we spoke about elections last time. It’s a much, much different situation at the moment. Greece is a solid western democracy, it has a direction towards EU & NATO, it’s not Turkey. It’s a very different story. Changing power is normal when we have election in democracies, whoever wins, it’s a normal.

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