Recession hits listed firms

Recession is showing its ugly face in the third-quarter results of listed companies, since, for the first time, some traditionally profit-making firms are showing quarterly losses, profit margins evaporate and the year is not over yet. Latest estimates by analysts suggest total profits for the whole of the year will shrink to 7.5 billion euros, down from 11.1 billion euros in 2007. Worse, the last quarter of the year, which has always seen turnover grow due to the Christmas period, is likely to see a near-zero profit margin for a huge number of listed firms for the first time since Q4 of 2002. The first 10 percent of companies who have issued their Q3 results show a significant decline in profits, such as the case of Hellenic Petroleum. Public Power Corporation (PPC) is expected to post losses of 300 million euros for the whole of 2008. Banks will once again keep total profits to a decent level, although estimates for 2009 suggest a further drop in profits by 1.5 billion euros from this year.