Industrial manufacturing CEOs wary but still looking to new markets says PricewaterhouseCoopers



    TORONTO, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - This time last year 86% of respondents to the
PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) Global CEO Survey were confident or very
confident about the prospects for increasing their companies' revenues. This
year, 64% expressed the same level of optimism. Despite the current economic
crisis however, industrial manufacturing CEOs are positive about the longer
term with 93% being confident about the potential for revenue growth over the
next three years. The top three rated opportunities for contributing to this
growth are geographic expansion, penetration of existing markets and new
product development.
    "Last year CEOs gave these three opportunities equal weight however, this
year new product development ranks much lower on the boardroom agenda," says
Calum Semple, leader of PwC Canada's Industrial Manufacturing Practice.
"Despite the downturn, industrial manufacturing CEOs are also still looking
for suitable deal-making opportunities."
    The survey, which included the input from 109 global industrial
manufacturing CEOs showed that merger and acquisitions remain high on the
agenda with 35% of respondents intending to complete a deal over the next 12
months. High on the agenda is also technical improvement with 60% saying
innovation is critical.
    "Many companies have been forced to scale back their research and
development (R&D) budgets meaning management will have to look for creative
ways in which to support innovation such as collaborating with supply chain
partners, customers and clients," notes Semple.
    Industrial manufacturing CEOs feel their R&D could be more effective with
access to better information and 83% say this is critical, 57% would like more
information and 13% currently feel the information they receive is inadequate.
    Lack of natural resources is one of the issues that most concerns
industrial manufacturing CEOs and the survey has revealed that 46% believe the
world's dependence on carbon based energy will have a negative impact on their
business with many already taking steps to alleviate the situation. 88% are
seeking operational improvements to reduce energy consumption with 59%
investing in energy efficient technologies and 51% turning to renewable
sources of energy.
    Talent and skills were high on the agenda in last year's results however,
the downturn has helped to push the people factor lower down this year with
47% concerned about a shortage of talent this year compared to 62% last year.
This seems surprising given that 38% of CEOs anticipate increasing their
headcount over the next 12 months and that they experience many of the same
problems finding good people.
    Graeme Billings, global industrial manufacturing leader,
PricewaterhouseCoopers, commented:
    "CEOs will have to ensure they do not focus on short-term risks to the
exclusion of long-term risks like climate change, shrinking natural resources
and the impact of demographic shifts on the talent pool. They recognise the
need for new business models to address the challenges being faced currently."

    PwC Economic and Credit Crisis Task Force

    PwC recognizes that a global crisis requires a global and coordinated
view.
    The PwC Economic and Credit Crisis Task Force (the "PwC Task Force")
brings together a Canadian team of senior cross-functional experienced
practitioners who understand market volatility and the diverse challenges
facing companies today. By leveraging knowledge, experience and networks, the
PwC Task Force can advise and guide Canadian companies through a multitude of
capital market and economic crisis issues.
    For more information please visit: www.pwc.com/ca/managinginadownturn or
www.pwc.com/ceosurvey
    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.





For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Forest, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP,
(416) 814-5730, carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com; Nina Godard, PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP, (416) 941-8383 x 13520, nina.godard@ca.pwc.com

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