Posted on Wednesday 24 February 2010 by Ulster Business

Optimism grows

(Left to right) Charlie Kerlin, Grant Thornton Partner in Corporate Finance, joins Trevor Blayney, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton at the launch of the Grant Thornton International Business Report 2010.

Optimism among local privately held businesses on their economic outlook for 2010 has improved considerably over the last year, according to the latest International Business Report survey from advisors Grant Thornton UK LLP. The Grant Thornton International Business Report 2010, which surveys more than 7,400 privately held businesses in 36 countries, shows that optimism of private companies in Northern Ireland has surged, albeit from a low level, by 46 per cent in the last year. This gives Northern Ireland a balanced score of minus 6 per cent which outperforms the Republic of Ireland at minus 42 per cent, however local optimism levels are the lowest in the UK. Revenue expectations amongst local private companies also increased this year with 80 per cent expecting revenues to increase or stay the same in 2010, compared to only 27 per cent that expected revenues to increase in 2009. In addition, only 20 per cent expect their revenues to fall this year compared to 43 per cent that expected a fall last year. “Overall, Northern Ireland businesses responded well to the economic downturn in comparison with the Republic of Ireland and other UK regions,” Trevor Blayney, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton, said. “Business people have made the hard decisions, adjusted their costs relative to revenue and this shows a big improvement from the 2009 survey. While there is a clear upturn, it is expected that it will take time to flow through to profitability.” According to the survey profit expectations amongst local private companies remain weak. Whilst 58 per cent of the private companies surveyed expect their profits to increase or stay the same this year, profitability expectations levels for Northern Ireland have plummeted from the 2008 level of 54 per cent to a low balance score* of minus 6 per cent in 2010.

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