Deloitte CFO survey dominated by optimism

Ljubljana, 16 February (STA) - The latest survey conducted by consultancy Deloitte Slovenija among chief financial officers is dominated by optimism both on the global level and in Slovenia. "This is surprising given the relatively uncertain political situation in the world," country managing partner Barbara Žibret Kralj said on Thursday.

It seems that businesses do not react to the political uncertainty and are counting on technological progress, Žibret Kralj said in presenting the results of the inquiry among CFOs about what has an impact on the development of the economy.

According to the CFOs, companies will mostly invest in technology and digitalisation. "This is not expected to lead to significant drops in hiring," she said.

Half of the CFOs quizzed in Slovenia last autumn expect the economy to expand by more than 1.6% and 74% expect their company's revenue to go up. Almost 60% think unemployment will be lower next year and inflation moderate.

Almost a third of the respondents see technological development as a key factor, while higher costs of raw material, labour and services, unpredictable legislation and the shortage of qualified staff were listed as the biggest risks.

Some 61% of CFOs expect Brexit to have no impact on their companies' operations.

Next year should also bring some dynamic consolidation processes and takeovers, as more than 70% of CFOs expect more mergers and takeovers at the local level.

Bank loans remain the most attractive source of financing, followed by internal sources and EU funds.

Commenting on the results, Economics Faculty professor Marko Jaklič said the optimism was not surprising, given that economic growth forecasts have been upgraded.

Brexit is not considered a factor because nobody knows yet when and how it will be implemented, he said.

Donald Trump's election has been met with optimism in the US, so it is no wonder that Slovenian companies are optimistic as well.

On the other hand, Jaklič is a bit worried about the mid-term period and growth in 2018 and 2019. He believes the biggest risk will be insufficient adjusting to technological changes.

A management member of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), Nada Drobne Popovič, believes the biggest risk is the geopolitical situation.