The number of companies that reported a loss for the first half of the year outnumbered those in the black for the first time in the history of the Athens bourse, according to data prepared by a brokerage and released yesterday. Final figures show that collective data from 265 balance sheets combine for losses of 1.37 billion euros versus a profit of 2.99 billion euros in the same period year earlier. Data from brokerage Pegasus showed that of the 265 companies, 144 posted a loss, with 50 of them sinking deeper into the red, while 57 of them had made a profit in the first half of last year. Of the 121 that showed a profit this year, 24 reported earnings growth, while 79 of them saw earnings fall from last year’s levels. The calculations indicate that if the companies had not had to pay a one-off tax levy imposed on corporate profits by the government to boost state revenues, they would have added 581 million euros to their profits. «This is not the first time that companies are showing losses. Losses which reached more than 1 billion euros also appeared in the last quarter of 2008 and 2009. What changed dramatically this time is the large number of loss-making companies,» said analyst Manos Hatzidakis, in charge of strategic investments at Pegasus Securities. «For the first time in the history of earnings numbers being published, the number of companies with a negative bottom line exceeded those with a profit – at a ratio of 54:46 – confirming a trend seen in the last quarter of last year. The significance of this development has multiple messages for investors, bankers and tax collectors,» Hatzidakis added.