For­eign and do­mes­tic en­ter­prises plan­ning to leave the coun­try

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY DIM­I­TRA MANIFAVA

For­eign com­pa­niesare re­vis­it­ing their plans drafted in 2011 and 2012 for re­duc­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties in the Greek mar­ket or even de­part­ing al­to­gether, with a num­ber of Greek-owned busi­nesses fol­low­ing their ex­am­ple.

Turnover, which had started to de­cline in spring, re­ceived a fa­tal blow with the in­tro­duc­tion of cap­i­tal con­trols, com­bined with the ab­sence of re­forms that would have as­sisted entrepreneurship. All this is lead­ing many firms to re­vise their in­vest­ment plans and strate­gies re­gard­ing Greece. The strong pos­si­bil­ity of a gen­eral elec­tion in the fall con­sti­tutes another in­cen­tive for com­pa­nies to leave the coun­try.

At the same time, any merger and ac­qui­si­tion deals be­ing pre­pared be­fore the cap­i­tal con­trols came into force have now been frozen and talks will not re­sume be­fore the re­cap­i­tal­iza­tion of banks is com­plete or be­fore the sign­ing of the new bailout agree­ment at the ear­li­est.

US-owned phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and med­i­cal equip­ment firms are mov­ing closer to leav­ing the do­mes­tic mar­ket. These are com­pa­nies to which the Greek state (es­pe­cially the so­cial se­cu­rity funds) owes sig­nif­i­cant amounts of money, run­ning up to many mil­lions of eu­ros. They started con­sid­er­ing their de­par­tures in the spring, when the un­cer­tainty in­creased, and they are now closer to a fi­nal de­ci­sion.

A ma­jor multi­na­tional group ac­tive in food pro­duc­tion with four plants in the coun­try is ex­am­in­ing the re­duc­tion of its pres­ence in Greece. Its plans in­clude the trans­fer of its ad­min­is­tra­tive arm to another coun­try or even the sale of an ac­tiv­ity that has been loss-mak­ing for years. Another multi­na­tional that has been in de­cline for years in the food and drink do­main in Greece is seek­ing to dis­en­gage it­self from its non-al­co­holic bev­er­age ac­tiv­ity.

More and more Greek en­ter­prises are also con­tem­plat­ing head­ing abroad. A re­cent sur­vey by En­deavor Greece showed that 23 per­cent of lo­cal firms have im­me­di­ate plans to leave the coun­try to en­joy greater se­cu­rity, sta­bil­ity and liq­uid­ity. Busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions are re­port­ing that there has been an in­crease in calls to law firms and cham­bers in the last few weeks in­quir­ing about re­quire­ments for the em­i­gra­tion process. Some es­ti­mates say one in ev­ery 10 firms in north­ern Greece will move be­yond the coun­try’s borders in the next few months.

Cap­i­tal con­trols rep­re­sented a fa­tal blow for turnover.

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