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Fast devaluation of public companies listed on the Athens Stock Exchange

19 September 2011 / 16:09:58  GRReporter
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The wind of change that began to blow at the end of 2009 in Greece with the Socialists taking the power proved to be the whirlwind that will sweep away everything around. This is the conclusion based on the data on the devaluation of the shares of many of the Greek public companies, which until recently were considered a strong asset in the country's privatization process and restoring the economic growth. Only in four months, nine companies in which the state has a stake and which are listed on the Athens Stock Exchange have lost € 4 billion of their market value.

In May this year, the state had a stake in different companies worth € 11.4 billion. State-owned enterprises listed on the Stock Exchange are the Agricultural Bank ATEbank, the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, water supplying companies in the two largest cities in the country, the national electricity company DEI, the national lottery OPAP, Hellenic Petroleum and Post Bank (TT). After months of inaction and political coma, their value decreased to € 7.49 billion in September 2011. The slap in the face is even stronger if we go back three years ago, when the turnover of the Greek Stock Exchange and the state of the local economy were in much better condition than today and the state stake in the Greek key economic welfare enterprises was estimated at around € 17 billion.
 
At the same time, the bitter statistics in Greece show that over 400,000 people have lost their jobs since the beginning of the global financial crisis, from 2008 to mid 2011. This does not mean that all these people have remained outside the labour market, but have moved to another sector, which certainly was not the main choice for their career. The turnover drop affects all companies, not just those with state participation. The collapse in public consumption in all sectors of the economy coupled with the drop of the purchasing power of Greek households has hampered the survival of many local companies. The change in market conditions resulted in the need to regroup forces.

Aon Hewitt survey shows that 45% of the existing companies have reduced their staff in the last year due to reduced turnover and significantly increased costs. The new tax burden hailing down in the last two years and the sharp decline in consumption appear to be crucial to the new conditions in the Greek economy. By the end of the first half of the year, the unemployed in the country reached nearly 800,000, which is 16% of the workforce in Greece. For comparison, the percentage for the same period in 2010 was only 11.6%. Short-term trends remain negative and this is illustrated by the analysis of Aon Hewitt too. It shows that 25% of the companies that have not made cuts in previous months, plan staff reduction soon.
 
Companies, which are involved in the stock market and which are crucial for the Greek economy, have lost about 50 thousand people for two years and a half. In 2008, 213 companies on the average that have a permanent presence on the Athens Stock Exchange employed around 417,000 people. Today, these companies have about 370,000 jobs. The biggest losses suffered the construction industry, in which a significant number of jobs could not be recovered. The media and companies in this sector also have a serious loss of human resources due to the collapse of advertising revenue.

Other firms in difficulty are those of the furniture and food industries. Creta Farm, Nikas SA, Europharma, Kri-Kri and other major manufacturers are faced with the need for layoffs, because the market is not able to absorb the old volumes of production. The production companies were the first to resort to wage costs reduction, focusing on countries in the region with lower labour costs long before the crisis deepens. These are Alumil, Coca-Cola 3E, S & B, Titan SA, Alapis, Thrace Plastics and others. They are the first companies that not only do not cut staff, but also appoint quality human resources at better prices.

 

Tags: EconomyMarketsCompaniesPrivatizationAthens Stock ExchangePublic companiesDevaluation
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