The number of protracted payments in the sector is rather high as larger businesses use their leverage against suppliers by demanding long payment terms.
- The food sector is one of Poland’s strongest industries, accounting for 13% of GDP in 2017. The sector is developing well as a result of growing domestic and export demand.
- Competition in the Polish food market is high, especially on price. While profit margins for most businesses are stable, they generally remain at a low level. Higher profits are only generated by larger entities or small specialised players, while many smaller and mid-sized businesses struggle to perform well. Therefore it comes as no surprise that a consolidation process has started in this segment and smaller players are seeking investors.
- Financing requirements and financial gearing are high in the food industry. After Poland´s EU accession food producers made major investments in order to improve their competitive stance in the European market, mainly provided by bank financing. The currently low interest rates and the willingness of banks to provide loans have encouraged further investments. However, difficulties in repaying bank loans could increase should interest rates rise again.
- The average payment duration in the Polish food industry is 30 days. The number of protracted payments is generally high, as larger businesses use their leverage against suppliers by demanding long payment terms or prolong payments in order to improve their own cash flow. The level of non-payment notifications is high and has increased in 2018, but it is expected that it will decrease in the coming months. The insolvency level is average compared to other industries, and no major increase is expected in 2019.
- Our underwriting varies by subsector. It is mainly neutral for the meat subsector, where the poultry segment is generally doing well, while pork is affected by the closure of several overseas markets due to the African Swine Fever (ASF). The meat segment will benefit from large investments made by big international players.
- We are open for Polish dairy businesses as this segment is currently doing well, and neutral for beverages, where price competition is an issue.
- That said, we are restrictive for food retail, especially for medium-sized players, as many of them work on tiny or even negative margins due to fierce price competition in a domestic market with very price-sensitive consumers.
- Fraudulent events are a concern in both domestic and export business transactions throughout all food subsectors, but most prominent in the fruit & vegetables and meat segments.