Belgian companies quoted on the Brussels stock market have resisted the shock of the novel Coronavirus, L’Echo reports.
Net profits dropped by 50% to 9.4 billion euros for all quoted companies, according to the daily. When the AB InBev beer giant – which accounts for close to half of the value of shares on the stock market and suffered greatly from the closure of the hospitality industry – is excluded, the drop in income is no more than 24%.
This was far better than many analysts and businesses had expected.
While temporary unemployment and other wage subsidies helped limit the damage the pandemic has caused to many companies, some businesses were able to weather the crisis by cutting back drastically on their expenditure, noted L’Echo. It gave the example of Solway, which reduced its spending by 332 million euros, including 175 million in recurrent expenditure.
In a sign of confidence that has dominated despite the crisis, 4 in every 10 companies have increased or maintained their dividends, while barely 1 in 10 reduced or eliminated them, according to the economic daily.
Companies quoted on the Brussels stock market redistributed 6.3 billion euros to their shareholders, a 10% drop compared to last year, but this resulted mainly from a net coupon reduction, mainly at AB InBev.
Without the brewery group, dividends would have amounted to 5.3 billion euros, a 19% increase.