The specialist of credit insurance, Euler Hermes Sfac yesterday presented its study on "road" out of mail and express business (1). I.e. a total of 37.536 companies who have made last year a turnover of EUR 38.9 billion. Titled, this study acknowledges, after the storm that struck the area in 2003 and 2004, of a real recovery, including in 2006. But this recovery will be confirmed Nothing is less sure. The forecast for 2007 is indented on 2006 and, above all, the root causes of the lack of competitiveness of French companies of TRM have still not disappeared.
On a background of renewed growth in 2006, both in France with a rate of 2.1 (1.2 in 2005) than in the eurozone (2.8 at 1.5 in 2005) the past year reflects a certain resumption of the French TRM.
It is characterized first by an increase in volumes transported: 3 (instead of 0 in 2005); increase in scope by the good health of the construction industry ( 3.6) and trade (3.9) when the average of the industrial branches languished at 1.4. Result: the road net margin rate jumped to more than 2 in 2006 (0.75 in 2005). Attention however: excluding extraordinary result (due to the reimbursement by the State of the perceived too of the VAT on motorway tolls), this rate down to 1!
The operating margin, which is restated 0.8 point between 2005 and 2007, remained consistent with the average of the past seven years. "Our 2007 scenario provides a margin of 1.8 with a steady increase in the volume of 2.5 and a price of diesel fuel / litre pump of 0.87 euro excluding VAT", analysis Florian Delbarre, responsible of the Department studies sector-special risks in Euler Hermes Sfac.
Then, the Chargers shortages by the crisis of subcontracting in the summer 2006 shortage of drivers and road sets on a background of sustained demand agreed that road businesses restore their margins, implemented poorly for many years, accepting tariff increases. "This increase was 3.7 higher than expected." This for four reasons: the dynamism of the volumes, lower international competition, legal indexing of the fuel prices ( 5.2 in 2006 against 16 in 2005) and the reduction of the Park ", says Florian Delbarre." As to restore their margins, 32 of the companies of the panel interviewed by Euler say have not hesitated to sell part of their fleet, to very good conditions, market opportunity. .
Last good news Finally, the number of Corporate bankruptcies fell 18 Although the concern on the niche of SMEs carrying out between 1 and 10 million euros of turnover, while at the same time, the creations are distributed on the rise ( 2 last year).
Seen, the signs of well-being in the MRT are sensitive. But are they for all sustainable No one is to say, prudent Euler, displays several scenarios for 2007, while maximizing limited to 1.8 operating margin growth. What remains from the rate of 3 reached in 2001...
Even if they anticipate an increase in the volumes of cargo this year ( 2.5 after 3 in 2006) and that the price of diesel oil should decline of 3.5 on average, analysts are certain that the TRM growth will slow. This, whether from global growth, announced to 3.3, or from those of the euro area and the France which should be within 2.
Concerns remain that are in large part to the "Fundamentals" of the French economy. Thus, even if the gap tends to shrink over the years, the France ranks even sixth place in the European podium for what concerns the tax burden on fuel.
Then, the collapse of the Habs Pavilion at the international it is confirmed, its market share falling more than a third between 1994 and 2006! At the same time, foreign carriers were their breakthrough in France, rising 7 points since 1994 for up to 30 market share.
Another French feature, the TRM continues to lack of drivers as part of the baby boom generation retirement. As a result, companies must use more and more the acting to offset their deficit (the workforce of the TRM should rise by 2.5 this year). Evil is such that 8.5 of the temporary staff in France are employed in the TRM...
Euler last forecast in the form of flat, rising prices of the TRM. It will slow down to 2.5 in 2007 after 3.5 in 2006. Finally, the reduction of corporate defaults in the sector of road transport is confirmed, its rate is still, to 3.1 in 2006 double the French average (2) all sectors.