SEB: Deloitte/SEB CFO Survey: Improving business climate and hiring

     SEB: Deloitte/SEB CFO Survey: Improving business climate and hiring

Optimism among Swedish financial chiefs continues to rise. The business
environment is improved and financial positions have strengthened
significantly compared to autumn 2013, according to the latest CFO Survey by
Deloitte and SEB.

The survey shows CFO views on the business climate, financial positions,
access to financing and key operational risks. Results are based on responses
from a sample of CFOs at the 200 largest companies in Sweden. Overall, the
latest CFO Survey is more positive than the last survey from September.
Continued uncertainty over demand along with some of concern about higher
interest rates are what currently worry CFOs most.

"All factors are actually in some degree positive. We see that companies
generally have good financial footing and are positioning themselves for
increased investment in both factories and personnel. This means they plan to
increase production within the next year," says Johan Lindgren, credit
strategist at SEB.

When asked directly, half of the surveyed CFOs say they are considering
increasing capacity utilisation and production plans within the next 12
months.

Despite justified concern over emerging markets, CFOs foresee an overall
increase in production and capacity utilisation. CFOs also look a little more
favourably on new investment and increased M&A activity, albeit from low
levels. Improvement is also evident in willingness to hire new employees over
the next year.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents believe that access to finance is very good,
which is the highest proportion in many years. After relatively sharp stock
market increases recently, there are signals of over-valuation in comparison
to fundamentals.

"Companies have now been operating amid a prolonged period of economic
uncertainty. We note that there are now relatively few storm clouds on the
horizon for Swedish financial chiefs. However, we can expect cautious growth
and expansion initiatives against the backdrop of companies still prioritising
low debt and strong financial positions. This positive outlook is also largely
shared by CFOs around Europe and the U.S., based on recent studies there,"
says Tom Pernodd, partner at Deloitte.

The Deloitte SEB CFO Survey aims to reflect changes in conditions and
sentiment among Swedish CFOs and thereby create an understanding of economic
and financial trends. This latest survey was conducted in February and
featured a total of 15 questions in areas including business climate,
strategic investments, labour, the outlook for currencies and interest rates,
financial strength, and attitudes towards lending to banks and financial
institutions. CFOs at some of Sweden's largest companies responded. The full
report is available at www.sebgroup.com\press and www.deloitte.se.

For further information, please      Press contact
contact                              Anna Helsén, Group Press Officer, SEB
Johan Lindgren                       +46 70 698 48 58
Credit Strategist, SEB               anna.helsen@seb.se
Credit Strategy, Trading Strategy
+46 8-506 231 64                     Christer Ahlgren, counselor, Clients &
johan.y.lindgren@seb.se              Markets, Deloitte
                                     +46 708 14 23 20
Tom Pernodd                          christer.ahlgren@deloitte.se
Partner, Deloitte
+46-75-246 30 60
tpernodd@deloitte.se
SEB is a leading Nordic financial services group. As a relationship bank, SEB
in Sweden and the Baltic countries offers financial advice and a wide range of
financial services. In Denmark, Finland, Norway and Germany the bank's
operations have a strong focus on corporate and investment banking based on a
full-service offering to corporate and institutional clients. The
international nature of SEB's business is reflected in its presence in some 20
countries worldwide. On December 31, 2013, the Group's total assets amounted
to SEK2,485 billion while its assets under management totalled SEK1,475
billion. The Group has about 16,000 employees. Read more about SEB at
www.sebgroup.com

Press release PDF
CFO Survey spring 2014

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Source: SEB via Globenewswire
HUG#1768023
 
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