Víctor Chávarri y Anduiza (1888–1970)

Like his father, Victor Chávarri senior (1854-1900), Victor José Luis Paulino de Chávarri y Anduiza became a major figure in the Basque steel industry while at the same time diversifying his business interests.

He grew up in Portugalete, on the navigable estuary of the city of Bilbao, where his father and grandparents had made the family fortunes in iron-ore dealing and the steel industry. His father established the joint-stock company Sociedad Anónima de Metalurgia y Construcciones Vizcaya (known as La Vizcaya) and built a steelmaking operation that integrated every process from mine to shipment. However, he died in 1900, when Victor junior was only twelve.

Victor studied engineering in Madrid. On his return to the Bilbao area in 1914 he took up his late father’s business interests. By this time, La Vizcaya had merged with two other companies to create Altos Hornos de Vizcaya, which dominated the Spanish steel industry and was for a time the largest company of any kind in Spain. Victor junior led the new company as its president. In 1918, he also became chairman of the steam boiler manufacturer Babcock & Wilcox Ltd. This was set up in 1891 in Britain as the global arm of the American firm of the same name. It opened subsidiaries and manufacturing bases around the world and became the leading supplier of boilers internationally and later an important maker of defence equipment such as tanks and munitions.

In 1923, Chávarri was a leading promoter with José Ortiz Echagüe of the Spanish aeroplane manufacturer Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA). His many other business interests included the bank of Bilbao, the Basque-Asturias railway begun by his father, coal mines, foundries and construction. In 1920, he was ennobled as the Marquis of Triano, taking the name of the Basque village where his ancestors had developed iron-ore mines.

The RIALIA museum at Portugalete shows material related to Altos Hornos de Vizcaya and Babcock & Wilcox.