Financing not an issue for most Canadian private companies: PwC survey

    
    88% say their plans have not been compromised by lack of access to
    financing
    

TORONTO, Sept. 29 /CNW/ - Not all private companies have had a tough time accessing financing through this recessionary year. In fact, contrary to popular perception, the majority of private companies in Canada surveyed for PwC's 2009 Business Insights report said they have not noticed any significant changes over the past year when it comes to accessing capital. Eighty-eight percent say their 2009 plans have not been compromised by lack of access to financing. So why the disconnect? Canadian private companies on the whole have tended to be more conservatively financed and were not the primary recipients of high leverage financings that were typical during the last merger and acquisition (M&A) boom.

According to the survey of 466 Canadian private company leaders, 74% have a business loan with a financial institution. Eighty-one percent of companies say that their borrowings have either decreased or stayed the same in the past year.

"This likely means that companies for the most part are still able to service their debt and manage through a challenging economic environment," Eric Castonguay, a Managing Director with PwC Corporate Finance. "Certainly cash generated from reduced working capital levels due to lower sales volumes has helped some companies manage within their existing facilities."

Eighty-seven percent of respondents say that interest rates and fees were not increased or only slightly increased. While interest rate spreads on new loans have increased significantly over the past year, the increase has generally been offset by a 2.5% decrease in the prime rate and a similar decrease in Banker Acceptance rates, which are the basis for many business loans. The net result is a minimal impact to the effective interest rate paid by the private company respondents with solid balance sheets.

"What we have seen and continue to see is a 'back to basics' shift in lending practices," says Mr. Castonguay. "In recent months, there has been a notable thawing of the credit freeze, with many lenders exhibiting an increased appetite for new business. While activity has increased, lenders are taking a cautious approach to new accounts and we have seen a return to more conservative and traditional deal structures."

The full PwC Business Insights data and report will be published in the fall of 2009.

For more information about PwC's private companies services please visit www.pwc.com/ca/pcs

About PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 155,000 people in 153 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (www.pwc.com/ca) and its related entities have more than 5,200 partners and staff in offices across the country. "PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

SOURCE PwC

For further information: For further information: Carolyn Forest, (416) 814-5730, carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com; Nina Godard, (416) 941-8383, x13520, nina.godard@ca.pwc.com

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