Greek companies in Bulgaria also hit by crisis

Although the economic crisis forced many Greek businesses in Bulgaria to lay-off employees in 2010 and to limit or postpone investment plans and shut down production units, they still provide jobs to 82,000 people in the neighboring country, Greece-Bulgaria Chamber of Commerce president Panagiotis Koutsikos told.

Koutsikos noted that the above figure is from the Bulgarian statistical service.

"The Greek enterprises in Bulgaria are also facing the economic crisis, just as in Greece. Namely (in 2010) we had worker layoffs, some production units were closed down and, more generally, they are reducing operational costs to the degree allowed under Bulgarian legislation," he said.

Naturally, he added, every enterprise is an isolated case and is facing the crisis with its own criteria. Koutsikos added that Bulgaria has been coming out of the economic crisis since September 2010 and its basic financial indicators are improving.

The total Greek invested capital in Bulgaria exceeds 3 billion euros, according to official figures, without taking into consideration the profits re-invested by those companies annually, which is not recorded by the Bulgarian statistical service.

The Chamber estimates the Greek capital invested in Bulgaria at approximately 4 billion euros, mostly in services and trade, followed by industry and light industry.

Koutsikos said that at least 40 Greek-interest companies in Bulgaria shut down in 2009, while Greek investments were estimated at 10 times less than in 2008.

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