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PwC Survey: U.S. Private Companies Increase Revenue Forecasts

November 19, 2012, 07:16 AM
Filed Under: Economy
Related: PwC

In the third quarter of 2012, against the backdrop of continuing economic uncertainty and the looming fiscal cliff, PwC U.S.’s Private Company Trendsetter Barometer survey found that private companies increased their projected revenue growth rate for the next 12 months, up from 8.3 percent to 8.6 percent. The increase was driven by private companies that sell solely in the United States. Their projected revenue growth rate rose from 6.9 percent to 8.6 percent, highlighting domestic companies’ confidence about the next 12 months. International companies, on the other hand, reduced their revenue growth rate (8.5 percent, down from 9.7 percent last quarter).

Meanwhile, Trendsetter executives' optimism about US economic prospects for the next 12 months remained tempered, with 44% expressing confidence (down six points from 50 percent in the second quarter), 15 percent registering pessimism (up three points), and 41 percent voicing uncertainty (up 3 points). Despite the further dip in optimism, private companies are significantly more confident than they were this time last year, when only 27 percent expressed optimism.

Among international private companies, optimism about global economic prospects for the next 12 months remained subdued, changing little from the second quarter. Twenty-three percent of companies were optimistic, while a similar percentage registered pessimism (21 percent). The majority of international businesses remained uncertain (56 percent).

“As we approach the end of another year of slow growth, US private companies are as uncertain as they are optimistic," says Ken Esch, a partner with PwC’s Private Company Services practice. "These mixed sentiments have been common among Trendsetter companies in recent years. But private companies are resilient, and so although ongoing uncertainty has caused some businesses to delay or scale back plans, it hasn't translated into inaction. The uptick in private companies’ projected growth rate shows that they feel they've moved past the worst of the economic downturn and are in a position to take advantage of growth opportunities, particularly here in the United States.”

Continued Spending and Increased Bank Loan Activity, as Companies Prepare for 2013

As private companies prepare to transition into 2013, almost one-third (32 percent) of them are planning major new investments of capital over the next 12 months, down two points since the second quarter and six points below a year ago. Spending levels at 6.5 percent of sales are moderately high, above the second quarter, as companies position themselves for growth.

Increased operational spending is planned by 73 percent of private companies over the next 12 months (up 5 points), with information technology continuing to top the list of spending areas.

View the entire PwC Trendsetter Report.

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