The company’s board agreed with the measure to fire 21.6 percent of staff, as part of a restructuring program in May-June.

Socep estimated this year’s gross profit will shrink four-fold to 2 million lei under the burden of the economic crisis which plagued revenues. Last year, the company’s gross profit stood at 9.12 million lei.

Socep expects to collect total revenues of 46 million lei this year, a 26 percent drop over 2008. It also counts on a 17.5 percent cut of spending to 44 million lei.

Shareholders approved at a meeting on March 26 to do without dividends and use the past year’s profit to strengthen the company’s reserve and cover older losses. Some 4.94 million lei of it will be spent with investments.

Socep booked a 7.61 million lei net profit last year, double than in 2007 while the turnover advanced by a third to 58.82 million lei, despite the drop in harbor traffic towards the end of the year when the economic crisis showed its buds in Romania too.