Spain: 700,000 SMEs running at a loss


Fernando Santiago, president of the Spanish administrative managers, explains: “Our latest barometer, carried out among 6,000 Spanish registered administrative managers, shows that 23% of the 2.9 million small and medium-sized businesses closed in losses in 2023,”

Fernando Santiago * | Almost 99% of businesses in Spain have 49 or fewer employees. And if you make a list of the entrepreneurs you know, you will be surprised: the hairdresser’s, the baker’s, the fishmonger’s, the haberdasher’s, the motorbike workshop… They employ 8 million people.
Our latest Barometer, carried out in the first days of February, shows that 23% of small and medium-sized businesses, some 700,000, closed with losses 2023. And 26% of businesses have had a lower turnover and a similar number have increased their indebtedness during the year.

Since the end of the pandemic, the figures provided by our Barometer indicate serious liquidity problems for small and medium-sized businesses. From 25% at the end of 2021 to 19% today. Between these two dates, many businesses have disappeared as a result of these problems.

And so, I insist, we find 600,000 businesses with serious liquidity problems, increasing their indebtedness, reducing their turnover despite the increase in the CPI, losing money for yet another year, which means that 12% of businesses are operating outside the system. And 5% of them admit to paying some payroll in “B”. However, the difficulties in accessing European Funds, the complexity of the procedure and the lack of information about them mean that only 13% of small businesses have applied for Next Generation Funds. And if we were to eliminate the Digital Kit, where would that percentage be? The lack of attention to small and medium-sized businesses, which I have already said employ 8 million workers, are transparent to those who govern us, but not now, it is a classic. If these businesses are not known, if they are not attended to as they deserve, we risk an important part of our productive fabric and a high percentage of workers in the private sector.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.