International Survey of Business Executives Details Ongoing Impact of Credit Crisis

    Majority expect payment defaults to climb; Most anticipate 12 more
    challenging months

    BALTIMORE, MD, June 3 /CNW/ -- More than 2,500 business executives in 14
countries have shared their perspectives on the global credit crisis, its
impact on their businesses and their near- and long-term outlooks for economic
recovery. While a majority (90%) of U.S. respondents forecast further
tightening of credit, only slightly more than half say they are tightening
their credit extension practices as a result.
    U.S. executives specifically expect payment defaults to have the most
significant impact on their businesses (69%); an increase in the cost of
capital (67%); inability to raise outside capital (63%); and slow-to-no sales
growth (62%) as the top four negative impacts on their performance in the
coming year.
    "The challenges facing American businesses are mounting, insolvencies are
up 44%, and we have seen a significant increase in credit insurance
applications over the past three quarters," says Brett Halsey, CEO, Atradius.
"Protecting receivables and turning them into working capital is an essential
responsibility of today's executive and this survey shows that, now more than
ever, U.S. companies are using a variety of tools to stay competitive."
    The survey details a wide range of risk management tools currently in use
around the globe. In the U.S., companies rely most heavily on cash (in advance
or upon delivery), while credit management and reminders, letters of credit
and guarantees, and use of collections agencies are other popular methods of
ensuring receivables.
    "The survey confirms well-known issues while going significantly further
to explore the methods companies are employing to mitigate their risks in
turbulent times," says Terry Callahan, President, Credit Research Foundation.
    Other findings of the survey indicate that almost half of U.S. business
leaders do not believe the Federal Reserve and other central banks are doing
enough to stimulate the economy, and most feel it is likely that a small
number of financial institutions will fail as a result of the credit crisis.
    Respondents, including 2,502 business leaders from throughout Europe,
Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the U.S., were interviewed solely in regard
to the impact of global credit on their operations. The survey was conducted
by Heliview Research on behalf of the Credit Research Foundation and Atradius
Trade Credit Insurance, the sponsor of the study. The complete report is
available electronically by contacting: Kathy Farley, Atradius, 410-246-5584


    The Atradius Group provides trade credit insurance, surety and
collections services worldwide, and has a presence in 40 countries. Its
products and services aim to reduce its customers' exposure to buyers who fail
to pay for the products and services customers purchase. With total revenues
of approximately EUR 1.8 billion and a 31% share of the global trade credit
insurance market, its products contribute to the growth of companies
throughout the world by protecting them from payment risks associated with
selling products and services on credit. With 160 offices, it has access to
credit information on 52 million companies worldwide and makes more than
22,000 trade credit limit decisions daily.

    Credit Research Foundation

    For over 60 years CRF has operated as a non-profit education, research
and training organization for the business credit community. CRF is recognized
as the leader in meetings, reports, surveys, books and other media providing
valuable information on new techniques and trends in credit, accounts
receivable and customer financial administration and practices. The Credit
Research Foundation serves its members under the direction of a Board of
Trustees. Membership in the Credit Research Foundation is open to all those
individuals and businesses that have a vested interest in the credit, accounts
receivable and customer financial relationship.

For further information:

For further information: NOTE TO EDITOR: Interviews with Mr. Callahan
and Mr. Halsey are available by contacting: Matthew Katz, APR, Common Ground
Public Relations, (636) 530-1235, ext. 226. Complete report available
electronically by contacting: Kathy Farley, Atradius, (410) 246-5584 or For further information: Kathy Farley of Atradius,
(410) 246-5584,

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