Eight in 10 of some of the best managed companies in Ireland plan to expand their workforces in the coming year, a survey has found.
And nine out of 10 of the firms, recognised as best managed by the Deloitte awards programme, have indicated that they plan to expand their business in the coming year, with Britain and Europe identified as the top locations.
Half the firms plan to engage in merger and acquisition activity this year.
The annual survey of Irish companies, with total revenues of €10bn employing 24,000 people, also found that optimism is on the rise among this group of indigenous Irish companies.
“Half of respondents observed an improvement in market conditions in the last 12 months, compared to 40% last year,” the survey found.
“Similarly, 74% feel more confident about the outlook for their company compared to 12 months ago.”
However, 43% believe that it will be the second half of 2013 before the economy returns to growth.
Similar to the 2011 results, 31% of respondents indicated that improving consumer sentiment was the single most important factor in returning the economy to growth.
This was followed by restoring credibility and integrity in the banking sector (24%), growth in exports (12%), and renegotiating the terms of the EU/IMF bailout (12%).
“In line with this, one third of companies identified lack of customer demand as the biggest challenge facing indigenous Irish companies. Availability of funding and the high cost of doing business were also acknowledged as considerable challenges for Irish companies. Interest-ingly however, the majority of respondent companies indicated that they are not experiencing difficulty in obtaining finance for working capital (69%) or capital projects (67%).”
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