Businesses working their way out of the crisis


Most business groups with strong liquidity are optimistic they will manage to weather the financial crisis created by the coronavirus epidemic. With the pandemic having been raging for over three weeks in Greece, paralyzing economic activity and sectors such as tourism that depend on incoming demand, listed groups are trying to map out the deep waters they find themselves in at a time when the economy had appeared to be recovering from its decade-long crisis.

The public statements by the heads of various listed companies offer a sign of the strategies some of the country’s biggest groups are set to pursue.

For instance, in a recent message to his employees, the head of GEK Terna Georgios Peristeris noted that the company’s infrastructure and energy investment program exceeds 3 billion euros, assuring that the implementation of the projects under way will continue.

Titan Cement, another blue chip company, is strengthening its liquidity to 400 million euros though the combination of cash reserves and credit lines.

The Mytilineos group’s chairman and chief executive Evangelos Mytilineos has noted that the stability of the listed corporation is secured by its diverse activity and that it is in the process of bringing its borrowing down to zero by 2022, while its cash flow tops 1 billion euros.

Fellow listed group Ellaktor stands ready to invest, with chief executive Anastasios Kallitsantsis telling a recent conference call with analysts that the company is about to sign the concession contract for Alimos Marina in southern Athens, which will lead to the carrying out of upgrading work.

Fourlis, which as a retail corporation is facing significant revenue losses due to the closure of its bricks-and-mortar stores, is proceeding to the reduction of its monthly operating costs by 45 percent, to 7 million euros. The listed company’s head, Vassilis Fourlis, recently noted that it has secured cash flow of 70 million euros, as Fourlis has reached an agreement with its main suppliers for the settlement of payments.

Autohellas, a company which provides car rental services, estimates that the pandemic will affect demand for short-term rentals due to the dramatic drop in tourism arrivals. Nevertheless, the company’s management believes it enjoys the necessary flexibility thanks to the synergies and economies of scale its parallel involvement in short- as well as long-term leasings allows for.