In last year’s edition of the now well-established annual sectoral assessment of small and medium sized (SME) entrepreneurship, we had wondered whether the improvement in the financial statements of SMEs that we had observed would be temporary or would be the beginning of a new recovery. The data we present in this study (based on a sample of over 19.5 thousand companies with financial statements in 2014) leaves room for optimism, since signs of stabilisation and a build-up of strength are recorded after the improvement observed in last year’s edition. This conclusion stems from the fact that the index of sectoral performance assessment (BIC Index) shows a marginal improvement to 38.8 points compared to 38.1 points last year, as a result of the improvement in profitability and capital structure and the stabilisation of liquidity.
At the same time, the average rating of the sectors remains at “b”, reflecting a balance of 20 upgrades versus 8 downgrades of sectors compared to last year’s assessment. With regard to the ranking of the sectors, the improvement in the food and beverage services (due to improved tourism figures) and, to an even greater extent, in the sector of water transport (also as a result of tourism, but mainly of the drop in fuel prices) is impressive. On the other hand, the last positions are occupied by sectors associated with household consumption and entertainment, and also by the sectors of energy and of manufacturing basic metals.
Despite the optimistic messages of our study, the Greek economy still faces increasing challenges. Therefore, it will be very interesting to see in our next study (incorporating the financial statements of 2015) the degree and the extent of the impact of capital controls on Greek SMEs.
Group Chief Economist