The Romanian construction sector has the highest share of companies at risk for insolvency among CEE countries, with 50 percent of the firms presenting a high risk level in 2014, concluded a study by Coface of the construction sector in Romania. Twenty seven percent registered a medium risk, while 23 percent were in the low range.
The study included 15,246 construction companies which submitted financial statements in 2014, generating 95 percent of the turnover across the sector.
One of the conflicting results of the study shows that, although 48 percent of the companies reported lower revenues in 2014, the total turnover recorded across the sector (RON 27.95 billion, some EUR 6.16 billion) was 11 percent higher than the one of the previous year.
“This increase is the effect of large companies, with turnovers of over EUR 1 million, which compensate the under-performance of small businesses. Despite this, the income advance is reflected in a very low percentage into additional profits, their dynamics increasing only slightly. The consolidated net result for 2014 at sector level was 2.8 percent, registering a significant increase dynamics y-o-y, respectively 1.8 percent in 2013 and -1.5 percent in 2012,” stated Nicoleta Maruntelu, Coface Romania economist.
The number of construction companies having turnovers over EUR 1 million almost doubled over the 2013 level (1,725 in 2014, 999 in 2013), while companies with a turnover of less than EUR 100,000 represented almost half of the total firms analysed.
The consolidated net result for 2014 in the sector stood at 2.8 percent in 2014, while the operating margin increased from 1.2 percent in 2012 to 4.2 percent in 2014. Among companies that reported a worsening of their earnings, 30 percent went from profit to loss.
“In this context, although financing of long-term investments is not a priority, the companies in the analysed sector maintained the average payment term of short-term debt at a high level, of 272 days, 35 days over the operational cycle. Receivable days, well above the national average, indicates a sector highly sensitive to shocks and largely dependent on the recovery of loans. In this context, local companies operating in this sector show precarious financial indicators compared to the average in Central and Eastern Europe, Romania reporting for this sector, compared to the regional average, the highest share of companies with major risk of insolvency as well as companies that perform late payments,” the economist added.
This short-term debt payment extension keeps companies from making important long-term investments, the study further shows. Companies in construction of residential and non-residential field registered a low level of investment in fixed assets and land, their share in total fixed assets rising to only 5 percent.