East Anglian Firms Expecting Profitable 12 Months, Says Uk Survey

Businesses in East Anglia are among the most optimistic in the UK when it comes to increasing profitability, revenues and exports over the next 12 months, according to new national research from Grant Thornton UK LLP.

The findings of the firm’s latest International Business Report (IBR) show that during Q1 2012, just over half (52%) of the region’s medium to large businesses expect their profitability to increase over the next year.

This ranks East Anglia as the most optimistic region in the UK for this indicator, ahead of the North, North East and West (50.5%) and London and South (50%). By contrast, the least optimistic region was the Midlands where only 35.9% of businesses had the same expectation.

A further 52% of East Anglian businesses expect revenues to increase over the next 12 months, falling just behind London and South (54.2%) and the North, North East and North West (52.4%).

Additionally, over a quarter (26%) of East Anglian firms expect export levels to rise, the most optimistic response of all regions for this indicator ahead of the North, North East and North West (25.7%) and Northern Ireland (24.6%).

However, contrary to these positive findings, general business optimism for the outlook of the UK economy among East Anglian businesses was the second lowest of all regions with just 20.3% stating they have positive expectations for the coming 12 months. The most optimistic region for this indicator was the Midlands with 31.3% of businesses holding the same opinion.

Commenting on the results, Grant Thornton East Anglia’s Office Managing Partner Richard Proctor, said: “The survey results make interesting reading. Despite the fact that confidence in the UK economy generally is low among the region’s firms, East Anglian businesses seem to be rising above the difficult climate and are expecting a positive and profitable 12 months. This would suggest they are adapting and innovating to cope with the challenging environment.

“Many companies are sitting on large cash reserves built up during the economic downturn and we are now seeing signs that these funds are being reinvested to support long term growth strategies.

“The IBR research also seems to support the view that economic recovery will be somewhat export led, with more firms in East Anglia than any other region indicating they expect overseas sales to increase over the next year.”

The IBR’s regional findings reflect the survey’s national results which found that businesses in the UK remain pessimistic (-15%) although there has been a 20% improvement in optimism since the last quarter (up from -35% in Q4 2011).Only Japan and the United States have seen levels of business optimism recover to where they were in Q1 2011.

For further information please visit www.internationalbusinessreport.com.

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