Business activity sees ‘significant growth’ in 2021

  • Lusa
  • 26 October 2022

Statistics Portugal (INE) said on Wednesday that business activity in Portugal recorded "significant growth" in 2021, surpassing 2019 levels

Business activity in Portugal recorded “significant growth” in 2021, surpassing 2019 levels, with rises of 15.7% in turnover, 15.2% in gross value added and 27.3% in gross operating surplus, Statistics Portugal (INE) said on Wednesday.

“In 2021, non-financial companies recorded nominal increases of 15.7% in turnover, 15.2% in GVA [gross value added] and 27.3% in GOS [gross operating surplus], after reductions of 10.0%, 9.8% and 17.2% in 2020, respectively, thus surpassing the pre-pandemic values recorded in 2019,” according to provisional data advanced by the INE.

Meanwhile, personnel in service and expenses increased by 2.0% and 9.1%, respectively (-2.0% and -1.7% in 2020, in the same order).

“In most economic variables, non-financial companies recorded higher values than in 2019: +4.2% in turnover, +3.9% in GVA, +7.2% in personnel expenses and +5.4% in GOS,” INE highlighted. In turn, service staff stood at the same level as the values recorded in 2019.

According to the statistical institute, ‘accommodation and catering’ and ‘transport and storage’ recorded the highest GVA growths, of +40.3% and +23.2%, respectively, but “this strong growth did not allow to recover the levels of 2019, translating the special severity of the negative effects of the pandemic in 2020 on these sectors”.

On the contrary, the ‘agriculture and fisheries’ sector showed the lowest GVA growth, at 8.3%, while ‘industry and energy’ and ‘other services’ recorded the highest contributions (+3.8 and +3.4 percentage points, respectively) and the ‘industry and energy’ sector contributed the most to the growth of turnover between 2020 and 2021 (+5.6 percentage points), followed by ‘trade (+4.5 percentage points).

In 2021, there were 1,340,614 non-financial companies in Portugal, of which 65.1% were sole proprietorships, and 34.9% were partnerships (+2.7% and +3.7%, respectively, compared to 2020), with this non-financial sector totalling €429.8 billion in turnover and 4.2 million people employed.

Compared to 2019, there were 1.7% more non-financial companies, despite the decrease recorded in the number of sole proprietorships (-0.7%).

By legal form, companies recorded higher growth in most of the main economic indicators compared to sole proprietorships, and by size, large companies showed higher growth between 2020 and 2021.

Both small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies already recorded higher values in 2021 compared to 2019, except for staff in service, where large companies are still below the pre-pandemic value (-1.3%).

Focusing the analysis only on non-financial companies, in 2021 there were 467,243 in Portugal (+3.7% compared to 2020), which recorded growths of 2.5% in staff in service, 15.9% in turnover, 15.8% in GVA and 29.7% in GOS (-1.3%, -9.8%, -9.4% and -17.7% in 2020, respectively), already surpassing the 2019 values.

“Large companies showed higher growth in turnover and GVA (+18.4% and +17.4%, respectively), and SMEs recorded higher growth in GOS (+30.5%),” the INE said.

The average annual remuneration amounted to €16,100 per salaried employee.

In 2021, the proportion of non-financial companies with negative equity stood at 26.0%, 0.1 percentage points below the previous year’s figure but still above that recorded in 2019.

According to the INE, “the group of large companies showed the largest decrease in this indicator, -0.4 percentage points compared to 2020 (+0.8 percentage points compared to 2019)”.

About the nature of the results obtained, 42.5% of non-financial companies recorded negative net results, representing a decrease of 5.9 percentage points compared to the proportion recorded in 2020 but still up by 2.7 percentage points to the values recorded in 2019.

In the larger companies, 19.5% showed negative results (-9.5 percentage points than in the previous year), while in SMEs, this percentage rose to 42.6% (-5.9 percentage points than in 2020).

In 2021, the proportion of non-financial companies with negative GVA decreased to 23.3% of the total (-1.3 percentage points compared to 2020), although still higher than in 2019.

“This decrease had greater expression in SMEs, where 23.3% generated negative GVA (-1.4 percentage points than in the previous year),” details INE, adding that “the weight of companies with negative GOS decreased from 43.5% in 2020 to 38.0% in 2021.”

The apparent labour productivity of non-financial companies was €31,455 per person employed in 2021 (+13.1% compared to the previous year), and the average annual remuneration stood at €16,100 per person employed in the same year (+6.0% compared to 2020). Both indicators recorded higher levels than in 2019 (+5.9% and +7.2%, respectively).

About the balance sheet variables, assets, liabilities, and equity recorded growth compared to the previous year (+8.9%, +7.7% and +10.9%, respectively).

Last year, the gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) of non-financial companies was €21.7 billion, €1.3 billion (6.2%) more than in 2020. Despite this growth, the value of 2019 (22.3 billion euros) was not reached.

It also emerges from INE’s analysis that, in 2021, there were 28,100 companies with an export profile (+6.3% compared to 2020), corresponding to 6.0% of total non-financial companies.

These companies accounted for 23.2% of personnel employed, 35.3% of turnover, 33.5% of GVA and 34.4% of GOS (+0.5, +2.5, +1.8 and +3.4 percentage points compared to 2020, respectively), reaching higher levels than in 2019.