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EU Company Forecasts Vary Widely

More than one in six expect less revenue in the next two to three years

by John Chapman and Femke De Keulenaer

BRUSSELS -- In July 2009, across the European Union, nearly half of managers surveyed predicted growth for their companies in the next 2 to 3 years and about 3 in 10 thought their annual revenue would remain the same. More than one in six EU company managers said they expected their annual income to decrease in that time frame.


Among the 27 EU member states, Sweden, France, and Denmark were the countries where managers were the least likely to expect their companies' revenue to decrease in the next two to three years. Several of the countries where a significant number felt that income would fall, such as the Baltic states and Hungary, were in eastern Europe, but that fear was also expressed in Ireland (34%), Germany (26%), and Spain (22%).

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Managers at medium-sized companies with 50 to 249 employees were most likely to expect income to decrease (21% vs. 14% to 17% of other-sized companies). Managers of companies with an annual revenue between $15 million and $74 million (€10 million and €50 million) were also the most likely to anticipate that their revenue would decrease in the next two to three years (25% vs. 16% to 17% of other companies).

Turning to Banks

To improve their future economic situation, many companies may decide to talk to banks about financing. Roughly 6 in 10 managers were confident that they would be able to obtain the desired results after such a request, while slightly more than 1 in 4 said they were not confident about the outcome.


Confidence to talk about financing with banks to obtain a desired result was the highest among respondents in Slovenia (86%). In France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Finland between 71% and 74% of respondents felt confident that they would obtain the desired result. Respondents in Latvia were the most likely to admit not feeling confident in this regard (60%). Romania, Estonia, and Spain followed, with between 41% and 51% of managers saying they didn't feel confident to talk about financing with banks.

As for the availability of bank loans, Slovenia (18%) and France (14%) were two of the countries, together with Cyprus (18%), where managers most expected the financing situation to improve over the next six months. On the contrary, managers in Romania (26%), Ireland (25%), and Spain (24%), felt the availability of such loans would deteriorate over the next six months.

Eurobarometer Reports

Gallup conducts Flash Eurobarometer surveys for the European Commission. These surveys enable European policy-makers to hear the voices of EU residents in the 27 member states. Gallup has worked with the Commission on more than 90 Flash Eurobarometer surveys (with close to 1.5 million interviews) on subjects from the euro to consumer protection and from higher education to energy policies.

Read the full report online.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 9,063 companies across the European Union conducted from June 17-July 23, 2009. Eligible respondents were chief executive officers or chief financial officers. Companies ranged in size from mico (1-9 employees) and small (10-49 employees) to medium-sized (50-249 employees) and large (more than 250 employees). The survey excluded companies in the following sectors: agriculture, fishing, public administration, financial services, activities of households, extra-territorial organizations, and holding companies. For results based on the total sample of EU companies, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is from ±3.1 to ±9.8.

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