First quarter profits down 12% year on year
Total profits of Estonian businesses in the first quarter of this year reached €521m. This is 12% below the result of the same period a year ago, Statistics Estonia reported on Monday.
Compared to the first quarter of 2015, profits decreased in almost all economic activities. The biggest contributors to growth in terms of total profit were information and communication enterprises. Total profits of the business sector were undermined mainly by the performance of manufacturing enterprises as well as transportation and storage enterprises.
In the three months from January to March, businesses sold goods and services for €11.7bn, which is 2% more than in the same period a year ago. The turnover of trade enterprises, which account for the biggest share in total turnover of the business sector, increased by 7% mainly due to an increase in the turnover of wholesale trade. Growth was supported also by retail, and motor trade. The turnover of manufacturing enterprises remained on the level of the previous year.
Compared to the same period a year ago, the total costs of enterprises increased by 2%, which includes a 6% increase in personnel expenses. The number of persons employed as well as the number of hours worked grew by 3%. Labor productivity of the business sector on the basis of value added amounted to an average €4,900 per person employed per quarter, which is 2% more than in the first quarter of 2015.
Investment activity of enterprises continued to be low. During the first quarter of the year, enterprises invested €443m, 5% less than in the same period of the previous year. The investments were made mostly in buildings, and machinery and equipment.
The sectors making the biggest investments were manufacturing, trade, energy, and transportation, where more than a half of the total was made. Compared to the first quarter of 2015, investments in transport equipment and computer systems increased. Other investments fell, with the biggest decrease registered in investments in land.