European SMEs plan €412bn capital expenditure in next 12 months, GE Capital EMEA research finds

  European SMEs plan €412bn capital expenditure in next 12 months, GE Capital
  EMEA research finds

   Spending intentions increase by nearly 20% on Q3 2012, driven by Western
          European SMEs’ increasingly bullish attitude to investment

 2.4m new jobs planned in next year, with total headcount intentions flat vs.
                                    Q3 ‘12

Business Wire

LONDON -- May 20, 2013

GE Capital’s latest European SME Capex Barometer shows an improving appetite
for capital expenditure (‘capex’) across European SMEs, despite the uncertain
European economic environment. The research also highlights a disparity in
confidence among SMEs – with German and UK SMEs most optimistic about growth
in their sector, whilst SMEs in France, Italy and Hungary remain much more
cautious.

The research, conducted amongst 2,250 SME business leaders across seven
European markets during Q1 2013, shows capex is set to be driven by Germany
(€164bn up 59% on Q3 2012), Italy (€79bn up 13%) and the UK (€59bn up 13%).
French SMEs also post a small increase in investment intentions (€63bn up 5%).
In contrast, data show a decline in investment intentions of 23% q/o/q across
the Czech, Hungarian and Polish markets, to €48bn in total.

Maurice Benisty, Chief Commercial Officer of GE Capital EMEA, said: “Whilst
economic fundamentals are still weak, our research points to an appetite among
SMEs – particularly in Western Europe – to increase investment and staff. For
us, and many businesses in Europe, the focus in 2013 is on delivering results,
outperforming and building a platform for future growth.”

Other key findings from the research include:

  *A headcount increase of more than 2.4m is planned in the next 12 months,
    driven by Germany (986k up 12% q/o/q), the UK (526k up 16%) and Italy
    (379k up 43%)
  *Estimated loss of income due to out-of-date or inefficient equipment has
    decreased by 30% in the EU4^1 and 3% in the CEE3^2, to €52bn and €5.7bn
    respectively
  *A majority (51%) of all respondents cited upgrading existing equipment to
    enhance efficiency and productivity as a major reason for investing
  *42% of respondents across all markets cited the uncertain economic
    environment as the single main barrier to investment
  *Traditional high street banks are the preferred financing option for 42%
    of SMEs in the EU4, but only a quarter said they are actually likely to
    secure a bank loan

The research finds that the average German SME is likely to direct over €138k
towards capex in the coming year. This figure drops to €70k per Italian, €58k
per UK and €54k per French SME. In the CEE markets, Polish SMEs are likely to
spend an average of €93k each, Czech firms €75k and Hungarian SMEs just under
€39k each.

Capital investment across all markets is expected to be directed predominantly
towards manufacturing equipment assets, (€190bn up ~20% from Q3 2012) with
commercial vehicles set to account for €69bn of overall spend – this amount
remaining stable on last quarter’s estimated expenditure.

                                 ### Ends ###

Notes to editors:

GE Capital’s ‘SME Capex Barometer’ is a regular survey designed to provide an
on-going view on investment intentions of 2,250 SMEs across seven European
countries; the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and the
United Kingdom.

Visit GECapital.Eu  to download the report.

About GE Capital EMEA

GE Capital is a leading provider of specialist finance throughout the EMEA
region, providing a wide range of solutions including: accounts receivable
management, inventory finance, ABL, cross-border financing, leveraged finance,
European leasing/vendor finance and fleet management. GE Capital focuses on
sectors where it can share GE's 130+ year heritage with customers - energy,
healthcare, transportation and industrial - and has a major footprint in EMEA,
including an exciting commercial finance joint venture with Mubadala in Abu
Dhabi.

^1 France, Germany, Italy and the UK
^2 Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland

Contact:

Tom Steiner
GE Capital EMEA
Tom.steiner@ge.com
Tel. + 44 208 185 2494
 
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