ECONOMY

Most listed firms see profit drop

Listed companies have seen their profits crash under the weight of the international financial crisis. The first batch of firms to have published their annual results for 2008 show a decline of net profit reaching 30.5 percent relative to 2007. Group net profits for 52 listed comanies out of a total 300 came to just 4.587 billion euros in 2008, down from 6.598 billion in 2007. About a third of the 4.587 billion euros came from National Bank’s 1.5-billion-euro profits. The deadline for the publication of data for last year is March 31. The main points of the 2008 reports highlight several significant developments: First, pressure from loans is threatening the viability of several companies as many are now reporting losses. Second, the rise in borrowing costs has forced firms to work harder to pay off their loans and to cut back on growth strategies. Third, the decline in construction activity, especially in the third quarter of 2008, has had a knock-on effect in most sectors of the domestic economy. And fourth, delays in payments have soared to unprecedented levels in commerce, with net profit margin dropping below 5 percent.