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    Banks top list of profit-makers in Belgium

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The year 2017 was a good one for the 5,000 largest Belgian companies, whose turnover increased by 10% and their profits by 5%, with banks leading the way. According to the latest Trends Top report, which analysed the figures for the 5,000 companies, their combined gross turnover increased by 9.8% between 2016 and 2017, amounting to 675 billion euros. Their net profits amounted to 24.2 billion euros, a 5% increase on 2016.

    If profits did not show exactly the same trends as gross turnover, that is because increasing competition narrowed down profit margins, Trends Top’s Tony Coenjaerts explained.

    Banks were the biggest net earners in 2017. KBC Bank topped the list, netting 2.6 billion euros, which was double its 2016 performance. In second place, BNP Paribas Fortis made one billion euros in net profits. The KBC Group was third, with close to one billion euros. Belfius also made the top 10 group, while ING was just outside it.

    Toyota Motor Europe was the biggest company in Belgium last year, with a gross turnover of 25 billion euros.

    HR Rail, the legal body that employs railway staff in Belgium (SNCB and Infrabel), was the biggest employer in 2017, with a workforce of 30,763, followed by the postal services, Bpost, with a staff of 23,393 and Colruyt, with 16,929 workers.

    Andy Sanchez
    The Brussels Times