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Deloitte: moderate optimism among Polish CFOs


Chief financial officers (CFOs) at large companies in Poland are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for the Polish economy and notably readier to invest than their counterparts in Central Europe (CE), according to a new edition of Deloitte’s Central Europe CFO Survey, a half-yearly publication by the international audit and consultancy firm.

Three fourths of Polish CFOs expect the Polish economy to show growth of at least 1.5% in 2012 (including 64% who anticipate growth of 1.5-3% and 11% who expect the economy to expand by over 3%), and only 2% predict a recession. By contrast, in the five other CE countries covered by the survey (Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) most respondents expect stagnation, i.e. growth of 0-1.5%; and in Hungary fully 40% of the surveyed CFOs are bracing for a decline in economic output. Polish CFOs show considerable optimism even though 90% feel we are still in a period of heightened uncertainty and volatility.

Furthermore, the share of Polish CFOs who think conditions are good for investing and risk-taking rose to 35% from 25% in July 2011, and though still well below 50%, is significantly higher than in other CE countries, where it varies from 3% to 15%. As a result, CFOs in Poland assign a much higher priority to investments among goals to pursue over the next 12 months than do their counterparts in the five other countries of the region, a finding that Deloitte says might reflect the robust financial health of the Polish business sector. But the main focus is to be on increasing revenues from existing markets, the same as in July. Only about 30% anticipate a deterioration in financial results this year.

Also, nearly 60% of CFOs in Poland expect an increase in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity this year, which according to Deloitte could mean that companies are looking for ways to put their healthy balance sheets to work.

The survey was conducted in December 2011 and January 2012 among 260 CFOs at companies from Deloitte’s CE Top 500, a list of the largest firms in Central Europe. The respondents represent six countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Croatia and Hungary.

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