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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Mid-Market CFO Survey Points to Industry, Economic Optimism

Canadian chief financial officers (CFOs) of middle-market companies are positive about the current state of their own industries as well as the overall domestic economy, according to the first Canadian Mid-Market CFO Survey by GE Capital, Canada.

About 40 percent of respondents expect their industry to grow over the next 12 months, and 39 percent expect the economy to grow.

However, they show significantly lower sentiment about the current state of the global economy. Their number one concern is the future health of the U.S. economy, cited by 36 percent of respondents. European fiscal conditions were the second-greatest concern, cited by 19 percent.

The survey, which took place during the first quarter of 2012, included responses from 186 CFOs of companies with mean revenue of $136 million, operating across the following four major industries: Metals, mining and metals fabrication; food, beverage and agribusiness; retail; and trucking.

“Mid-market CFOs are confident about their industries and their ability to drive business forward despite ongoing U.S. and European fiscal issues,” said Katherine Lee, president and CEO of GE Capital, Canada. “While their concerns are clear, CFOs are focused on growing their businesses this year through smart investing and the effective use of capital.”

“The outlook expressed in the survey very much mirrors what our own business is experiencing,” she continued.

In general, Canadian CFOs are more optimistic about the state of the industry in which they operate than their U.S.-based peers; they’re also more optimistic about their national economy than those in the U.S.

Other highlights:

– Slightly more than two-thirds (67 percent) of CFOs expect their revenue to be greater in 2012 compared to 2011.
– CFOs were fairly split on profit margins, with 45 percent expecting similar figures compared to last year, and another 40 percent expecting greater margins.
– Most (42 percent) CFOs expect their cost structures to remain fairly stable this year, while 36 percent expect them to increase.
– When it comes to spending, 61 percent of CFOs are considering laying out more for equipment this year.
– Just over half (55 percent) of CFOs expect to raise prices on their company’s products or services this year. This is similar to their U.S. counterparts’ expectations (51 percent).