CEO confidence at six-year high

Confidence in the economy among business leaders has hit its highest level for six years, according to a new study. The majority of chiefs executive are forecasting revenue and profit growth for their business and foreign multinationals planning to increase investment here.

According to professional services giant, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2013 CEO Pulse Survey, published yesterday, 43% of Irish-based CEOs are planning capital investment, compared to 33% last year. More than half expect their revenues and profits to grow in the coming year, and over 30% of export-orientated firms plan to increase their export volumes by more than 10% in the next three to five years.

Most CEOs are also planning expansion in the domestic economy and 84% of heads of foreign-owned multinationals here are planning to increase, or hold, their investment in Ireland.

“Despite ongoing challenges, Irish businesses are actively looking for growth opportunities,” noted PwC senior partner, Ronan Murphy.

“At the same time, they are sticking to what they know best; investing in their businesses, while trying to balance efficiency and value. Consequently, they are emerging more agile and resilient. As an exporting economy, our recovery will depend on the extent of the pick-up in the economies with which we trade,” he added.

On the negative side, 46% of CEOs — 3% more than last year — expect operational costs to rise and increasing tax burdens, for employees, is viewed as being the main threat to business. Irish-based CEOs are more concerned with this than their EU counterparts, and that is repeated on the issue of perceived over-regulation, with 80% concerned, compared to an EU average of 59%.

“Continuing to support our domestic economy remains a key priority for business leaders, with some positive signs emerging. Continuing efforts to support job creation and ongoing investment in technology and innovation will also help this sector, as it begins its way towards a recovery,” Mr Murphy added.


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