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12 multinational companies are planning new investments in Greece

16 June 2014 / 17:06:25  GRReporter
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The multinational companies operating in Greece demonstrate greater resistance to the economic crisis in comparison with the local Greek companies, as shown by the analysis of last year's financial results of the Greek subsidiaries of 12 leading multinational groups.

In particular, more than half of them were able to increase their sales and profits, and many others to retain their satisfactory performance. These include JTI and BAT tobacco companies, Mythos brewery that is part of the Danish Carlsberg group, and Toyota carmaker which, after a disastrous 2012, significantly improved its results. A typical example is the subsidiary of the French giant Bic which in 2013 was able to increase its sales by 10% and its profits by 79.5% due to its export orientation. Moreover, last year its razors ranked first in Greek exports to the United States, leaving behind olives, which are one of the iconic Greek products. Vivechrom company, part of Akzonobel, the largest paints company in the world, benefited from its export orientation as well. Its decision to resume its business activities on the Cyprus market played a key role in its financial performance in a year when construction activity was literally frozen.

However, there are subsidiaries of multinational companies the sales and earnings of which shrank or were even negative, such as Heineken and PepsiCo, which once again reported huge losses (in the range of 16.8 million euro). Colgate-Palmolive reported a downward trend too, both in terms of sales (-13.25%) and profits (a 9.89% decline in the profit before taxes).

In any case, multinational companies generally show significantly higher resistance to the decline in consumption compared to the Greek companies which, for the most part, are continuing to experience difficulties due to the lack of liquidity and the high cost of financing.

This does not mean that multinational companies are weakening or suspending their actions to reduce operating costs. Cost reduction and the availability of a sufficient cash amount have been among the first tasks on their agenda since the start of the crisis, and they are still the basis of every business plan prepared. Senior officials of multinational companies often repeat that the conditions are still difficult, emphasizing that there is no place for easing off and relaxing their efforts.

Bad loans

Particular attention is paid to the bad loans that are continuing to pose a serious problem on the market, although almost all credit insurance companies have recovered dynamically. The management of bad loans is the cause of daily "headaches", as the loans granted to customers amount to tens of millions of euro, whereas the delays of payments between companies have further increased in 2014 instead of decreasing. In particular, the recent "Barometer of commercial behaviour" carried out by the Atradius credit insurance company shows that the delay in the repayment of loans in Greece has increased from 63.2 days previously to 66 days at present, which is more than the average value in other EU countries, namely 52 days.

Sources from the market stress that all without exception tremble at the possibility of a large company collapsing, as was the case of the Atlantic chain a few years ago or of Nutriart and Sprider Stores recently, as the result would be loans that it would hard to repay. Of course, the multinational companies, or at least supermarkets, have secured better repayment conditions in comparison with the Greek suppliers, due to the generous compensation they offer, but also because of the conditions that they offer to their customers in order for them to buy their products. The Greek small and medium-sized retailers and manufacturers however have major concerns, as they are not strong enough to cope with the new "rules".

Renewed interest

A large number of multinational companies seem ready to spend more and proceed to new investments in order to strengthen their positions in Greece. According to sources, the majority of the foreign companies believe that the worst is past, and now rely on the recovery scenario. Experts stress, "None of them wants to lag behind the competition when the Greek economy begins to return to growth. They want to strengthen their positions and shares in the domestic market, taking advantage both of the excess funds available and of the problems of local players too."

The multinational companies doing business in the field of consumer goods are in the first lines, such as ΑΒ Vassilopoulos of the Belgian Delhaize group that is planning to invest 75 million euro in 2014 for the creation of 32 new sites and Bic Violeks of the French giant Bic, which is going to allocate 32 million euro to improve the production lines for razors. Finally, Athens Brewery (Heineken) has launched an investment programme amounting to 19 million euro for the supply of new equipment and new products that will meet the modern customer requirements.

Tags: Multinational companiesInvestmentsJTIBAT Toyota Carlsberg Heineken
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