Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada)

Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada)
Ernst & Young LLP

Ernst & Young LLP

June 17, 2009 09:16 ET

Canada's Senior Finance Executives Predict Economic Recovery Early in 2010

FEI Canada and Ernst & Young study reveals optimism despite adversity

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 17, 2009) - The economic downturn is not as bad as some would think, finds a new study of more than 200 senior financial executives, conducted by Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation (CFERF), the research institute of FEI Canada, and sponsored by Ernst & Young.

"We expect Canada will experience uneven recovery and growth across the country," said Ramona Dzinkowski, executive director, CFERF. "Some sectors have been fairly recession proof, and companies that were able to manage their cash positions effectively will be better poised for recovery as they are now able to acquire assets at fire sale prices."

Released today, the study revealed that a majority of companies will see revenue either grow or remain unchanged for 2009. The results show companies across Canada have intensified their focus on cash management, with 75% of respondents indicating that they are more focused on cash management issues now than they were at the same time last year. This was true for almost 80% of private companies and 71% of public companies.

"Canadian companies need to ensure they're adequately capitalized to carry out their plans for growth," said Steve Lewis, Partner, Ernst & Young. "Many respondents said they are focusing on acquiring new customers, making strategic acquisitions and exploring non-traditional markets. With a solid balance sheet, they'll be able to move on competitive opportunities like these."

While study respondents reported an overall positive outlook for an expedient economic recovery, not all industries expect to fare evenly. Manufacturing companies, arguably the hardest hit in the past several months, were the most optimistic for recovery in 2010.

"Companies that are cash poor, or have been deeply affected by a slowdown in consumer demand, may have to wait to experience economic recovery until 2011 and beyond," Dzinkowski said.

Additional highlights:

- Freezing executive compensation and deferment of capital investments emerged as the key cost management techniques expected to prevail in the coming year.

- Reducing head-count or implementing salary roll-backs were less popular options cited by participants.

- One in five companies reported they were going to be reducing working capital to manage costs.

The study was conducted in spring 2009 and surveyed a wide range of Canadian company sizes in a variety of industry sectors. To view full survey results please visit: http://www.feicanada.org/files/CFERF_Downturn_Final.pdf or http://www.ey.com/publication/vwLUAssets/CFERF/$FILE/CFERF_Downturn_Final.pdf

About The Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation (CFERF)

CFERF is the research institute of Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada), the all-industry professional membership association for senior financial executives that provides professional development, thought leadership and advocacy services to its over 2000 members. CFERF's primary objective is to study emerging financial management issues in Canada with the aim of increasing the competitive capabilities of Canadian companies across the country. Further information can be found at www.feicanada.org.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 135,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential. For more information, please visit ey.com/ca.

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