Bleak picture for SMEs as more enterprises shut down than start


Corporate shutdowns continue to outnumber new enterprises, as the trend that started in the first quarter of 2016 has just been confirmed for the second and is seen to have continued in the third quarter too. The figures for businesses that folded are particularly disappointing, as recorded by the country’s chambers, while even in the case of new companies, a great deal of them only last for a short time.

Data reported on Monday from the General Commercial Register (GEMI) showed that the exit of companies from the list in the first nine months of the year outnumbered new entries by more than 2,600 enterprises: GEMI logged 21,654 new entrants, but also registered 24,330 departures in the year to end-September. This compares with last year’s 24,174 new entrants and 18,245 departures.

This trend has been evident since March, the first time the number of recently shut companies exceeded that of new ones. By end-June, the deficit had come to 2,280, rising to 2,676 at end-September.

The gap is even greater in northern Greece, as data officially released yesterday by the Thessaloniki Chamber of Small and Medium-Sized Industries (VETH) showed that from January 1 to September 30, 595 of its members left its register against just 251 which joined. This compares with last year’s 916 departures and 208 new entries. The fact that the number of companies shutting down this year is smaller than in 2015 is, according to market professionals, because there are simply fewer enterprises around that might shut down.

“The negative conditions among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is reflected in the Thessaloniki register’s entrants and departures. The bleeding is continuing in the business world, private initiative is sinking and those in power are deflecting public attention, acting indifferently and shifting the public dialogue to other matters of smaller significance,” said VETH president Panayiotis Papadopoulos.

He added that “the government’s tax policy with the merciless avalanche of taxes and the lack of any planning for the productive restructuring of the country are destroying entrepreneurship, have negative consequences on every employee, create distortions in the market and lead healthy firms to a dead end.”