In another sign of how hard Greece’s more than 7 ½-year-long economic crisis has hit the private sector, only five firms are in the top 1000 in Europe for research and development, a telling benchmark.
The 2017 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard published by the European Commission, which also tracks companies from other continents, said the to Greek enterprise was pharmaceutical industry Pharmathen, ranking 370th among firms in Europe. It implemented R&D spending of 49.92 million euros ($60.12 million) last year, up by 12.7 percent from the year before.
National Bank of Greece ranked second among Greek firms and 456th in Europe after investing 37 million euros ($44.59 million) in R&D, up by 15.6 percent from 2016. In 460th place is Galaxidi Marine Farm, with a 3.5 percent annual increase in R&D spending to 36.2 million euros, some $43.62 million.
Gambling and gaming solutions supplier and operator Intralot put 14.6 million ($17.59 million) euros into R&D last year, up by 17.9 percent from 2016, to rank 733rd in Europe, followed by Creta Farm, which spent 7.16 million euros ($8.63 million) in research and development (down 13.8 percent) to rank 988th in Europe.
Topping the global chart were Germany’s scandal-wracked Volkswagen with 13.6 billion euros ($16.39 million) ahead of Google’s Alphabet, and Microsoft.
There was some good news though as the number of new businesses created in Greece in 2017 increased by 5.7 percent and the number of those closing fell fell by 34.8 percent compared to last year with more people taking a chance a recovery is coming even though banks have largely cut back on small business loans.
The figures came from an analysis of data listed in the Economy Ministry’s business portal (GEMY) registry, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said, which found that 30,0777 new businesses opened in 2017 while 24,046 shuttered their doors. That was a sharp change from 2016 when 28,463 opened and 36,881 closed, the empty storefronts across Athens and other cities a reminder the crisis is far from over.