First Canadian Mid-Market CFO Survey Shows Industry & National Optimism, Says GE Capital

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The FINANCIAL — Canadian chief financial officers of middle-market companies are positive about the current state of their own industry as well as the domestic economy, according to the first Canadian Mid-Market CFO Survey by GE Capital, Canada.


Moreover, 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 as it relates to the growth and stability of the Canadian economy in 2012 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.

According to the General Electric Company, 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, also referred to as transportation. GE Capital conducted a similar survey of 495 U.S.-based CFOs during the first quarter of 2012.

"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. "We finance nearly 30,000 businesses across Canada, and we look forward to continuing to support existing customers and new ones as they aim to take advantages of growth opportunities in their markets."

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Current views on health of Canadian and U.S. economies and industry — 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. However, both groups of CFOs have significantly lower opinions about the global economy.

In the U.S., the domestic budget deficit and European fiscal conditions lead the economic concerns.

The costs of doing business in Canada — labour, energy, and materials, supplies and equipment — are cited as the top three factors that will significantly impact business performance in the next 12 months. U.S. CFOs expect healthcare to be the biggest factor, followed by the cost of materials, supplies and equipment.



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