A quarter of businesses in the energy-intensive sectors expect to make serious losses already this year due to the extreme rise in energy prices. An increasing percentage expect this for next year. A third of businesses are now paying 3 to 8 times as much for electricity compared to last year. For more than a quarter, gas prices have gone up 3 to 8 times.
This and more emerges from a flash poll by VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland in cooperation with some 20 affiliated industry organizations from energy-intensive sectors. The impact of increased energy costs is already significant, the poll clearly shows. A quarter of entrepreneurs expect to make a loss already this year. Another third expect to plunge (heavily) into the red next year.
Energy costs cannot be passed on
This is mainly because the vast majority of companies cannot or can hardly pass on the sharply increased energy costs. This is because they do not want to price themselves out of the market, or they have long-term contracts, or their prices are imposed by the client. The flash poll shows that this is true for 84 percent of companies. The businesses that cannot pass on their prices are the most pessimistic. Of them, 40 percent are counting on heavy losses next year.
Of the businesses surveyed, 65 percent have a variable or expiring contract and are now, or soon, facing sharply higher energy prices. Only 10 percent still have a longer-term contract and remain unaffected for the time being.
Electricity and gas prices
Electricity prices are going up several notches. Some 34 percent of business owners see their bills going up 3 to 8 times compared to 2021. Some 37 percent will pay 2 to 3 times more. For 29 percent of business owners surveyed, gas prices are 2 to 3 times higher than in 2021. Another 27 percent will pay as much as 3 to 8 times more.
Cushioning negative effects
Many European countries are now using the expanded EU support framework to cushion the negative effects of high energy prices for businesses. VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland are in talks with the government on how best to help companies here too. They are looking at how to avoid a distortion of the playing field and at bridging this temporary phase of extremely high energy prices. Solutions are also needed precisely now to ensure that companies can continue to become more sustainable, the business organizations said.
The flash poll was conducted among 722 energy-intensive companies from the member circles of VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland. These include printers and laundries, metal and greenhouse construction companies, (industrial) bakers, brick makers, chemical companies and manufacturers of products such as plastics and paper, damage repair companies, and butchers.