Business profits drop by half

  • 2010-03-10
  • From wire reports

TALLINN - According to preliminary data from Statistics Estonia, in 2009, the total profit of the business sector was 17.2 billion kroons (1.1 billion euros), less than half as much as in 2008, reports news agency LETA. Compared to 2008, profits decreased in most economic activities. Only mining, energy, real estate and human health activities showed an ability to increase profits. Agriculture and forestry, as well as accommodation and food service activities, had losses.

In 2009, companies sold goods and services worth 502 billion kroons, which was a fifth less than a year earlier. Although net sales decreased the most in construction and education, net sales of the entire business sector were mainly influenced by the wholesale and retail trade as well as manufacturing enterprises due to a bigger share of these economic activities in the gross net sales of the business sector. Compared to 2008, the net sales of these economic activities decreased by 23 percent, and by a fourth respectively.

Company costs decreased 19 percent, with personnel expenses down by 17 percent.
Investment activity slowed down as well. Last year, enterprises invested 26.6 billion kroons, which was a fourth less than in 2008. Investments were mainly made in the construction and alteration of buildings, and in equipment and machinery. Major investors were energy, manufacturing, and transportation and storage enterprises. The firms in these three economic sectors made half of the total investments by enterprises. Only the investments in the acquisition of buildings and structures (8 percent) and in land (6 percent) increased in comparison with 2008. Other investments decreased.

Net sales of the business sector decreased by nearly a fourth in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2009, compared with the respective quarters of 2008, but in the 4th quarter the decline in net sales slowed. In the 4th quarter, the enterprises’ net sales of goods and services totaled 125 billion kroons, which was 15 percent less than in the same period a year earlier.
In the 4th quarter, companies invested 6.7 billion kroons, i.e. a fourth less than in the 4th quarter of 2008.