Despite the severe losses caused by the corona pandemic, german small and medium-sized enterprises have so far remained generally robust.
One in five companies has already applied for credit lines (21 percent), more than half have employees on short-time work (54.5 percent), but so far only just under one in ten smes (8.2 percent) is cutting jobs. These are the results of a special survey conducted this april on behalf of DZ bank among a representative sample of 1043 small and medium-sized enterprises.
"It is gratifying that despite the difficult market environment, small and medium-sized businesses are showing a fighting spirit and the majority are looking for alternative solutions to secure sales," said uwe berghaus, member of the board of management of DZ-bank, summarizing the results. A number of companies have, for example, changed their production processes. In addition, comparatively thick equity cushions are helping smes in the current crisis.
Nevertheless, according to the DZ-bank economists, many companies will be "dependent on state support to avoid having to declare insolvency" because of the economic downturn. Whereas before the lockdown more than three quarters of german smes rated their business situation as "good" or "very good", now only just over half of them do so. According to the survey, companies in the metal, mechanical engineering and automotive industries as well as the service sector are particularly worried.
But there are also bright spots, the authors of the study emphasize: so far, the crisis seems to have had hardly any negative effects on the construction industry. The chemical, pharmaceutical and plastics industries also still look relatively good. "Overall, however, the corona pandemic is affecting smes like hardly any crisis before," concludes the study.
The forderbank k had recently reported, based on a survey, that 58 percent of the approximately 3.8 million middlemen in germany had lost sales in march. On average, small and medium-sized companies have lost about half of the revenue that is common this month. According to k’s calculations, small and medium-sized businesses have lost a total of about 75 billion euros, equivalent to 2 percent of their annual sales.