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Thirty-three Portuguese public companies were in “technical bankruptcy” at the end of 2020, reflecting the “very negative impact” of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses, particularly in the health and transport and warehousing sectors.

According to Lusa, these are the findings of a report published by the Public Finance Council (PFC), the country’s main independent watchdog on the ground.

Titled ‘State Business Sector 2019-2020’, the report published today states that the financial results of 88 non-financial public companies in the country “made significant progress during the two years 2019-2020 due to the negative effects of Covid -19″. denotes. .-19”. His financial situation and assets were also “severely affected”.

Overall, this group of companies recorded a combined loss of €2.5 billion for 2020, which is €1.7 billion more than in 2019.

Only 27 companies (or groups of companies) reported positive net results in 2020, while another 61 reported losses.

The healthcare, transport and warehousing sectors were responsible for 99% of these losses, with a total value of 775.7 million euros in healthcare (25.6 million euros more than the losses in 2019) and 1.7 billion euros (compared to a combined) in transport and warehousing. with a loss of 1.5 billion euros in 2019).

The national airline was responsible for more than half of the combined losses, with losses of TAP 1.4 billion euros.

EBITDA (earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortization) fell from €1.5 billion in 2019 to €12 million in 2020, while operating profit fell to the red of €1.6 billion. euros. Euros, against a profit of 131 million euros in 2019.

In 2020, public non-financial corporations had a total of 144,714 employees, a turnover of 9.3 billion euros and a gross value added of 4.7 billion euros, respectively, up 4.5 %, down 23.5% and down 38.5% from 2019.

At balance sheet level, while the assets of this group of companies increased from 621.5 million euros to 59.4 billion euros in 2019, their liabilities increased further: from 1.2 billion euros to 56.2 billion euros, which has “severely degraded the equity” of these companies. ”, according to the terms of the report, amounted to 3.15 billion euros, a decrease of 15% compared to 2019.

“This drop in equity reflects the negative results of the 2020 financial year, which absorbed a large part of the capital inflows made by the State that year (+1,500 million euros)”, indicates the report, which therefore indicates that 33 public companies had negative equity at the end of 2020 (thus being in a state of technical bankruptcy).

Among these 33 companies, five represent approximately 90% of the total negative value of the sector: Parvalorem (negative equity of 3.997 billion euros), Metro do Porto (3.456 billion euros negative), TAP (2.128 billion euros negative), Railways Operators CP (negative of 1.872 billion euros) and PARUPS (negative of 913.2 billion euros).

According to the PCP, the financial structure and profitability ratios of non-financial public enterprises also “suffered a sharp decline in 2020, reflecting their inability to meet their commitments to the state and creditors”.

Global liquidity at the end of 2020 was 56.7% (9.1% lower than a year ago), financial autonomy decreased to 5.3% (-1.0 point) and solvency fell to 5.6% (-1.1 points). The debt ratio was 94.7% (+1.0 percentage point) and the debt service capacity was 109.9% (-0.9 percentage point).

The PCP report states: “The analysis of these results confirms the weak capacity of stocks to meet the medium and long-term responsibilities of these companies and the debt reinforces the financial dependence of the sector on capital, which translates into a leverage higher financial. There is leverage. ,

In 2020, the return on sales of public non-financial corporations was 0.1% (12.1 percentage points lower than a year ago) and the return on assets was -2.7% (2. 9 points down) in 2020.

These indicators show, “concretely, a decline in economic efficiency, which translates into more direct budgetary pressure”, specifies the PCP. With impact.and the ability to generate profits from these assets.

“In aggregate terms, excluding companies with negative equity, it appears the return on equity ratio in 2020 was -1.2%”, the result being “reflecting the poor financial performance of the inability of the ‘state to provide returns’. [como] shareholder”.

However, the report notes that “the results are differentiated by business sector”, “with the real estate and asset management sectors posting the best profitability ratios” and “conversely, the Health and Transportation and Warehousing show the worst results”.

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