British companies are the most bullish in Europe about their prospects for future growth, with 83% of chief executives claiming that the outlook for their business in 2010 is either good or very good, according to new research from KPMG International.7
The survey found that approximately three quarters (74%) of European businesses believe their prospects for 2010 to be positive. At 83%, UK firms were overwhelmingly the most optimistic, while in contrast, German (65%) and Danish firms (66%) were the most measured in their assessment of the outlook for the next 12 months.
The research also indicates that most UK firms appear to have weathered the economic crisis well, with three-quarters saying that their company was as strong - if not stronger - at the end of 2009 as it was at the end of 2008. Only 25% indicated that their business was weaker as a result of the recession. This compares to a European average of 69% who felt their company has survived the recession intact.
Other topline figures show:
* Almost half (46%) of mid-market businesses in the UK think that economic recovery will take place by the end of 2010, while a further 39% believe the upturn will come in 2011;
* Just under two-thirds (65%) expect to maintain workforce levels during 2010, with a further 22% planning to recruit new members of staff;
* Only 13% intend to actively reduce their headcount;
* Just under two-thirds of respondents in the UK (63%), believe Government intervention was effective in minimising the impact of the recession.
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UK businesses reported that the main challenges they have faced in the wake of the global recession were increased costs (43%) and difficulty in accessing finance (28%). However, over a fifth of UK businesses also pointed to pressure on company pension schemes as a significant issue - something which appears to be further down the list of priorities elsewhere in Europe.
More than two thirds (68%) of companies indicated that international business was a critical part of their strategy, both in terms of attempting to minimise the effects of the economic downturn and building a strong platform for future growth.
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