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Crisis tax eats into bourse company profits

The profitability of category A companies traded on the Budapest Stock Exchange (BÉT) fell last year for the first time in seven years as special taxes weighed heavily on their balanced sheets, daily Napi Gazdaság reports. According to the paper's estimates, total earnings of category A companies excluding OTP rose 11.5% in 2010, but fell 1.4% when OTP, which accounts for nearly one-third of the total profits, is factored in. The annual profitability of A-listed companies last fell in 2003. The special levy imposed by the Fidesz government on banks and other industries last year also narrowed the earnings share of the BÉT's four blue chip companies to 92% from 97%, Napi Gazdaság said. Last year FHB reported the big profit jump of 60%.