Trends and opinions from the Republic of Ireland
We are seeing varied views on the business front in Ireland. On one hand there are a number of very positive stories making the headlines. We are still seeing a reserved outlook on overall growth with The Central Bank announcing that ‘gradual recovery’ will continue, but at a slower rate than they had previously anticipated.
Meanwhile, there is hope for Irish companies with Ryanair declaring a 21% jump in profits and Primark unveiling their plans to expand into the French market.
This mixed bag of result reflects the findings of the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer*, with a third of Irish businesses claiming to have grown within the last year and up to a quarter saying they are even benefiting from the current trading conditions.
However, 37% of respondents admit to being worse off than this time last year and more than half believe that the current recession will continue for at least another two years.
Eurozone crisis – in or out?
The economic crisis in Europe remains a key concern for many Irish business leaders with a fifth of those surveyed ranking the Eurozone crisis as their main business concern in 2013.
There are signs of burgeoning economic confidence in Europe as the Euro continues to hold strong against the dollar for the eleventh month in a row.
At the same time, over a third of Irish businesses surveyed still believe the crisis in the Eurozone is the main barrier to growth and over 50% agreed that they are less confident for the economy’s prospects over the next 12 months in comparison to the previous year.
Late payment woes
The latest findings from the Close Brothers Business Barometer support the Small Firms Association’s recent statement that slow payments are causing serious problems for SMEs in Ireland.
The survey shows that 59% of SME owner managers across Ireland believe that late payments are damaging their cash flow considerably.
Of these, a staggering 73% say that payments are regularly more than 30 days late. Results also showed that only 35% of respondents are familiar with invoice financing and the positive impact it can have on cash flow.
*The Close Brothers Business Barometer is carried out on a quarterly basis. It canvasses the opinion of SME owner managers on a range of issues affecting their business.