Spain Crisis: Valencia's Inadvertent Rise to Fame
The Spanish region of Valencia inadvertently rose to fame last Friday when it was the first region to officially ask for aid from the newly created 18 billion euro Regional Liquidity Fund to help meet its debt repayments in the second half of the year.
Like its northern neighbor Cataloniaand a most other Spanish regions, Valencia lost access to capital markets months ago and is now relying on state fund to meet 2.9 billion euros in refinancing needs in the second half of this year.
Facilitated by easy credit and rampant corruption, Valencia saw an unprecedented property boom in the years leading up to the bust in 2008.
The city of Valencia stands out for its modern architecture,like a glitzy new marina and opera house.
The region's infrastructure vanity reached its peak with the construction of the airport in the province of Castillon. It cost 150 million euros to build but until today no single flight.
The times of careless spending are long over though. The property bust and the recession have led to the implosion of a number of small savings banks, which were either nationalized or acquired by stronger banks, like CAM by Banco Sabadell.
And small and medium sized companies are suffering no less.
Juan Melero is the Director General of Valencia-based security service firm JM Systems-com. In 2011, the company had a turnover of 5.3 million euros from supplying services like security storage, security cameras and smoke detectors.
He tells CNBC that demand for the company's services has fallen dramatically during the crisis. He was forced to reduce the headcount of the company by more than half.
Melero though is confident that Valencia's request for state funds will have a positive long term impact on the region:"These funds are absolutely necessary. Banks will begin to give loans again and consolidate their debt."