Welsh Firms Afraid to Increase Investment; CONCERN OVER LOW GROWTH IS HOLDING BACK COMPANIES

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 17, 2012 | Go to article overview

Welsh Firms Afraid to Increase Investment; CONCERN OVER LOW GROWTH IS HOLDING BACK COMPANIES


Byline: RHODRI EVANS Assistant Business Editor rhodri.evans@walesonline.co.uk

BUSINESSES in Wales are reluctant to make capital investment because of concerns over weak growth, a new study has revealed.

The annual UK Enterprise Survey conducted by accountancy body ICAEW found just one in four Welsh businesses were planning to increase their capital investment in the current climate.

The report also found that the impact of late payments has become a major challenge for Welsh businesses with one-third likely to be affected - compared with 25% across the UK.

David Lermon, Wales director of the ICAEW, said: "The survey shows clearly that many businesses in Wales are reluctant to invest because of the current uncertain economic position, with the prospect for both turnover and gross profits flat.

"It is a concern that as many as one-third of businesses are increasingly worried about late payments from customers which makes their aims of increasing cash balances and reducing debt more difficult to meet."

The survey found that, among those Welsh firms questioned, both turnover and gross profits growth in Wales fell in the past 12 months. Both the Welsh figures are now below the UK national averages of 55% turnover growth and 46% rise in profits.

However, although the outlook for turnover growth is flat in Wales, Welsh companies predicted that gross profits would rise in the year to come. This compared with flat expectations across the UK as a whole.

Of those businesses questioned in Wales a quarter reported they had employed additional staff in 2012 - a considerable fall from the position in the previous year. Companies in Wales also forecast that head-count would increase at a similar level in the coming year.

When it came to the primary focus for businesses over the coming year, firms in most areas of the UK identified increased profitability as their key objective for businesses, followed some way behind by increased turnover. …

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