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Coface publishes CEE Top 500 companies: Do external risks overshadow long-lasting solid economic growth in Central and Eastern Europe?09/18/2019
The international credit insurance company presents its eleventh annual study on the biggest 500 companies in Central and Eastern Europe – the Coface CEE Top 500. It ranks businesses by their turnover and additionally analyses further facts such as the number of employees, the framework of the companies, sectors and markets as well as the new Coface company credit assessments. The economic development of the CEE Top 500 is representative of the market trend in the entire region.
As the COVID-19 epidemic hits the United States very hard, Coface forecasts in its baseline scenario that the country's GDP will contract by 5.6% in 2020, before rebounding by 3.3% in 2021. Nevertheless, this forecast is threatened by the resurgence of the outbreak in several states, which are already pausing or even reversing the resumption of activity after the extensive lockdown of April.
After a 2019 that was dominated by trade tensions between the United States and China, Coface has observed an incipent recovery in Asia (excluding China), supported by supply chain shifts and additional liquidity from the US Federal Reserve . Average payment terms improved in 2019, rising to 67 days compared to 69 days in 2018. And while 65% of companies reported experiencing payment delays in 2019 (63% in 2018), the average payment duration decreased to 85 days in 2019, down from 88 days in 2018.
Coface announces the closing of the acquisition of GIEK Kredittforsikring AS, a company created in 2001, and owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, that manages a short-term export credit insurance portfolio. Coface has acquired all GIEK Kredittforsikring AS shares, and the business will thus operate under the brand name Coface GK.
Although the second quarter of 2020 is shaping up to be the most challenging period of the year, there are now good reasons to think that the road to recovery will be long and arduous. Despite immediate tax deferrals, liquidity guarantees, it is likely that many firms will find themselves in difficulty.
According to Coface forecasts, Spain and Italy will be among the economies hardest hit by COVID-19, contracting by 12.8% and 13.6% respectively in 2020. Corporate insolvencies are expected to increase by 22% in Spain and 37% in Italy by 2021, relative to 2019 levels. For 2021, Coface forecasts that Spain and Italy’s GDP will rebound by 10.2% and 8.9%, leaving the economies 3.9% and 5.9% below 2019 levels.
The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are of an unprecedented scale in Europe. The twin supply-demand shock has resulted in the halting of production (at least partially) in many companies as employees cannot go to work and in a fall in consumption because of mobility restrictions. The decline in revenues has deteriorated companies’ cash positions, fostering an increase in payment delays – and, ultimately, payment defaults.
Many European countries have temporarily amended the legal framework of default procedures to deal with the crisis
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