BUSINESS

Firms hit by slow cash flow

By Leonidas Stergiou

Thousands of Greek businesses are facing the specter of bankruptcy, unable to service bank loans and liabilities to suppliers with increasingly meager turnover and profits.

According to Hellastat, which processed the balance sheets of 52,000 enterprises between 2002 and 2011, about 50 percent of operating profits today go to pay banks and suppliers, compared to about 30 percent before 2008.

In a sample of 15,000 firms of all sizes and activities, aggregate sales fell 4.66 billion euros in 2011. Within four years, businesses lost 25 percent of turnover and 50 percent of profits.

Exempting very large businesses and organizations, the figures show that total outstanding loan liabilities fell 18 percent to 35.8 billion euros in 2011. The number of companies in debt in 2011 was 36.6 percent, 15 percent lower than in 2010.

?It is important to stress that among small and mid-sized enterprises, the rate of those with access to bank funding does not exceed 20 percent,? said Hellastat CEO Panos Michalopoulos.

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