ECONOMY

Small industries feel strangled

Over 10,000 small industrial firms in Athens alone have been forced to shut down since 2009, as according to the Athens Chamber of Small and Medium Industries (ACSMI), the number of such enterprises in the capital that closed between 2009 and 2012 came to 7,747, plus another 2,500 if one factors in those which are expected to have shut down by the end of this year.

The data from the ACSMI register showed that its members numbered 49,180 in 2009 and just 41,433 three years on.

The biggest losses have been recorded in the clothing and shoes sector: In 2009 there were 6,093 apparel makers operating in Athens, which were reduced to just 4,863 in 2012. Textile manufacturers went down from 627 in 2009 to 473 last year. Another sector that has suffered a major blow is construction, with the 8,764 small businesses in the sector in 2009 shrinking to just 7,189 in 2012, according to the ACSMI figures.

Sector professionals remain pessimistic for 2014, too, as according to a survey conducted by the chamber, 41 percent of entrepreneurs consider it very likely that they will not manage to meet their obligations next year and will be forced to close.

The survey further found that about two-thirds of entrepreneurs (66 percent) have been affected by the crisis due to a drastic decline in turnover and a considerable reduction in cash flow resulting from major delays in the repayment of their clients’ debts.

In their effort to ensure sustainability, the majority of small and medium-sized enterprises are expected in the next few months to resort to a reduction in their general expenses, with another solution being staff cuts.

Separately, the Labor Ministry’s Ergani register for the private sector showed yesterday that the number of private employees (1,371,450) is now very close to that of the unemployed (1,365,406) in Greece.