Argentina's bussiness leadership and its role
in economic development
Juan E. Santarcngelo and Guido Perrone

The contribution of each sector in turnover to the total sales of the industrial leadership is shown in Figure 10. The Food, Drink and Tobacco sector has the highest proportion of sales in this period, although as with many companies operating in this sector, there is a declining trend. There is a similar development in the Petroleum Refining sector, which maintains it position in terms of number of companies but decreases dramatically in terms of turnover, which represents 30% of total sales in 2001, but only 19% in 2007. Nevertheless, although the level of sales has declined in relative terms, the refineries still show a significantly higher turnover rate than the leadership average and are the sector with the largest companies.

However, the Machinery and Equipment, Chemicals and Plastics and Other Activities sectors are made up of smaller companies in terms of sales. This group of companies maintains a turnover rate that fluctuates between 30% and 50% of the industrial leadership average. Nonetheless, the dynamic of these three sectors in terms of turnover shows development that is dissimilar over the course of the decade. While Chemicals and Plastics lower their contribution, the Other Activities sector retains its sales position. The Machinery and Equipment sector, for its part, shows a positive variation in relative terms, although well below the growth in number of companies that form the leadership. Furthermore, turnover rates are very low, barely reaching a maximum of 3% of the total from 2007-2008.

Figure 10. Proportion of Sales Within the Industrial Leadership, Per Activity
Source: Prepared by the authors on the basis of data supplied in the journal Mercado and the Political Economics Department at UNGS

The most dynamic sectors in terms of sales during the post-Convertibility period were the Automotive and in particular the Steel and Aluminum sectors. The Automotive sector turnover rate increased from the equivalent of 7% of the total in the first few years following the devaluation, to 15% of sales in 2009. The Steel and Aluminum sector expanded considerably during the post-Convertibility period. Although the number of leading companies remained relatively constant, the turnover rate for steel companies increased from 5% of the industrial leadership total in 2000 to over 20% in 2006. Owing to this performance, companies in this sector have the highest turnover among leading companies during this year.

The remarkable performance of companies in the Steel and Aluminum sector from the time of the devaluation of the peso and throughout the post-Convertibility period is closely linked to the profitability of this activity during the period. The depreciation of local currency at the beginning of 2002 implied a change in the structure of relative prices in the domestic economy, which tended to strongly favor the production of tradable goods, primarily in those activities linked closely to the external market, as in the case of the steel industry.