ECONOMY

Industry upbeat about growth

Greek industry has prospects for dynamic growth in the post-2004 environment, mainly due to extensive restructuring which has enabled it to overcome the crisis of recent years, the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) said in a survey covering the 1990-2002 period. The five biggest sectors of Greek industry, which account for 62 percent of total sales today, are food and beverages, petroleum products and coal, chemicals, basic metals and non-metallic minerals. The big loser has been textiles, whose share of sales shrank from 11 percent in 1990 to just 4 percent in 2002. In the next 10 years, international competition is likely to intensify, SEV notes. This is projected to come both from low production cost countries and those with high productivity and innovation. Greek industry is seen as needing to strengthen its competitiveness through cost cuts, innovation and quality improvements. Under such conditions, marginal gains in competitiveness are of equal significance to the utilization of business opportunities. Frequently, success or failure will depend on marginal differences in performance. A fast-growing enterprise during the surveyed period tended to have the following characteristics: Though found in all branches of activity, it is more common in growing or restructured ones; it tends to be small in size and forms partnerships with other firms; it carries out a satisfactory management of assets and clients’ accounts, minimizing working capital requirements. Finally, it has a competitive pricing policy, but without sacrificing price for market share gains, it pays particular attention to sales promotion and achieves satisfactory but not impressive production costs.