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7,000 private companies have gone to the wall over 8 months

07 June 2015 / 20:06:40  GRReporter
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The relentless political and financial uncertainty over the last 8 months has resulted in a gruesome fallout in the market.

Representatives of organisations of producers, traders, exporters, SMEs, freelancers, etc. describe to Imerisia the ravages inflicted on these sectors, and provide a few figures to quantify their claims. The situation has been particularly exacerbated by the inconclusive talks with the creditors.

From October 2014 (when negotiations ground to a halt) until today (when there is still no agreement) market performance has suffered enormously, with yet another ‘generation’ of padlocks and redundant workers added to the already gruesome statistics.

Exports

The chairwoman of the Panhellenic Exporters Association, Christina Sakellaridis, paints a different picture: the period October 2014 - March 2015 has seen a consistent rise in exports up to 10.77%, barring petroleum products.

If petroleum products are thrown in as well, the increase compared to the same period in 2013-2014 adds up to 3.4%, despite the slump in international fuel prices, says Sakellaridis and goes on to explain the underlying factors: "It can be safely concluded that in general the retreat of the euro before the US dollar has given a boost to Greek exports. In the last two fiscal quarters goods totalling €13.42 billion (against 12.9 billion for October 2013 - March 2014) were exported from Greece. It is of crucial importance that the driving force of the hike in exports is the demand from EU countries, with the value of EU exports standing at 66.2% of total Greek exports (excluding petroleum products).

Padlocks

Businesses have again started to board up their windows, with many entrepreneurs failing to negotiate the curve: "During this period, more than 3,500 companies were deleted from the registers of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry," said its chairman Konstantinos Michalos. He also added: "But a similar number of companies were deregistered across the other chambers in the country. A new generation of unemployed is being created this way, which will further grow unless the liquidity problem is addressed."

Giorgos Kavatas, president of the General Confederation of Entrepreneurs, Craftsmen and Tradesmen spoke about the dramatic confirmation of the Confederation's projections: "Unfortunately, the evaluation of our Confederation is confirmed yet again: the recovery achieved last year has proven fragile and largely represents a symptom of checking the downward trend of the economy, yet without evidence of growth. Developments have failed to prove this assessment wrong," Kavatas said. "An analysis of our federation, made in February 2015 expected around 8,500 business closures in 2015, which would translate into 20,000 redundant employees. But in the light of recent developments we believe these estimates are too conservative and must be revisited negatively," Kavatas added and portended further gloom.

Giorgos Kavatas

"In the first quarter of 2015, 5,341 companies were closed, according to data of the  Greek Commerce Confederation , and the contraction of the domestic market this year is evidenced by the 59 company closures each passing day," pointed out the Confederation’s president, Vassilis Korkidis. He presented the situation in gruesome detail: "By the end of June, the number of closed companies will allegedly surpass 8,500. Accordingly, 613 jobs per day will be lost."

Vassilis Korkidis

In such circumstances, entrepreneurs are unable to pursue their plans.

"A new generation of companies has gone bust," said Korkidis, while Christina Sakellaridis argued that companies tend to freeze their investment activities: "For example, in anticipation of the outcome of negotiations, entrepreneurs have frozen their marketing of new products, domestic investment in manufacturing facilities as well as the imports of sufficient quantities of inputs they need to live up to their orders." Giorgos Kavatas went along with this: "It is evident that companies, which have shown some dynamism and are outward-looking, tend to delay their development programmes, to abstain from penetrating new areas and making fresh investments. On the other hand, businesses, which are struggling to survive, have stopped their restructuring processes and the exploration of new markets. All this fosters the vicious circle of stagnation."

Tags: companies bankruptcy jobs exports
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