Cork firms see rise in optimism

There was an increase in confidence among businesses in the Cork region over the past quarter with most respondents expecting to see an increase in turnover and net profits over the next year, reports the Examiner.

However, the unemployment outlook remains challenging and access to capital is still an issue, according to the Cork Chamber of Commerce’s Q2 Economic Trends. 

“Confidence among members about the financial future of their business has increased significantly since the Chamber’s economic trends survey series began in 2009. Some 91% now say they are confident in the future of their business, up 4% from Q1 and up 15% from the same quarter last year.

“It is encouraging that over half of respondents (58%) report increases in turnover over the last three months, representing a 9% increase since Q4 2012. Equally positive is the fact that 59% of businesses expect an increase in net profits over the next 12 months,” said the president of Cork Chamber, Gillian Keating.

The survey canvasses the opinions of 1,100 businesses, which range from SMEs, domestic firms and multinationals.

Even though there has been an improvement in sentiment, roughly 11% of businesses reported a drop in employee numbers over the second quarter, which is up from 7% in the previous quarter. Moreover, 40% of businesses expected to take on additional employees over the next year, which is down 4% from the previous quarter.

Access to capital is a huge issue for most Irish companies. According to the survey, three-quarters of respondents believed that their bank was giving them proper support, but six out of ten respondents had not approached their bank for finance over the past three months.

Of those who did apply for finance, 64% were seeking renewal or restructuring of an existing overdraft or loan, while 17% applied for a new loan.

According to the survey, managing cash-flow remains an immediate concern for 45% of members.

A fifth of businesses agree that it is taking them a longer than average time to pay their creditors with over half (51%) stating that managing cashflow impacts on their ability to pay on time.

Equally concerning is the fact that members are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with Government policy relating to employment and job creation and cost competitiveness.

Nearly a third of members (32%) believe that Government policy is having a negative impact on employment and job creation (an increase from 27% in Q1 2013), while over a quarter (27%) believe that Government policy has had a negative impact on cost competitiveness (up from 17% in Q1),” added Ms Keating. Source: Irish Examiner.