First signs of optimism in times of continuing uncertainty
This is the first Deloitte quarterly survey for Chief Financial Officers and Group Finance Directors of Belgian companies. The Deloitte CFO Survey is the only survey for major corporate users of capital that gauges attitudes to valuations, risk and financing.
This first quarter survey has been conducted while the global economy is in the middle of the worst recession in decades
- Most CFOs say that base rate cuts and government action to bolster the financial system have had little or no effect on the price or availability of new credit. Credit conditions for corporations have improved slightly but remain very tough.
- CFOs are more positive about the future and believe that credit conditions will improve. A majority of respondents expect an improvement in the price and availability of credit in the first half of 2010.
- Leverage is high on the agenda. One third of the CFOs think that the balance sheets of Belgian companies are over-leveraged. CFOs expect a shift in balance sheet components away from debt and towards equity, as soon as the economy recovers.
- CFOs’ sentiments about the prospects of their own organization remain depressed: 40% of the CFOs are still more pessimistic than 3 months ago.
- Forty percent expect the free cash flow of their companies to decrease in the next 12 months.
- The majority of the CFOs expect the demand for their products and services to increase as of the first half of 2010.
- Seventy percent of the Corporates surveyed are cutting current employee numbers or are planning to do so. However, in smaller companies this number is reduced to 22%. Cost cutting is a universal theme and capital spending is severely under pressure.
- According to 60% of those surveyed, M&A activity will increase in the coming months.
- CFOs generally think that equities are undervalued: they expect the Bel20 to be higher in 12 months time.
In this edition
- Rate cuts at work
- External forms of financing
- Stronger balance sheets
- Financial prospects & plans
- The market view: equity is cheap, optimism on M&A
- The Belgian survey compared to the Deloitte Experience abroad
The 2009 first quarter survey took place between 21st of March and the 10th of April. Fifty-three CFOs have participated, representing both listed and non-listed companies. This first quarter survey has been conducted while the global economy is in the middle of the worst recession in decades.
The value of the survey data increases with the ability to identify trends and possible turning points. We are looking forward to the 2009 second quarter Deloitte Belgian CFO Survey. This next edition will be conducted in the second half of June.
Participate to future surveys
If you would like to join our survey panel we kindly invite you to contact us and apply for participation.
Thierry Van Schoubroeck
Deloitte CFO Services, Partner
Tel. + 32 2 749 56 04