Daily News: November 20, 2012

Private Companies Increase Forecasts Amid Tempered Optimism

In the third quarter of 2012, against the backdrop of continuing economic uncertainty and the looming fiscal cliff, PwC US’s Private Company Trendsetter Barometer survey found that private companies increased their projected revenue growth rate for the next 12 months, up from 8.3% to 8.6%. The increase was driven by private companies that sell solely in the U.S. Their projected revenue growth rate rose from 6.9% to 8.6%, highlighting domestic companies’ confidence about the next 12 months. International companies, on the other hand, reduced their revenue growth rate (8.5%, down from 9.7% last quarter).

Meanwhile, Trendsetter executives’ optimism about U.S. economic prospects for the next 12 months remained tempered, with 44% expressing confidence (down six points from 50% in the second quarter), 15% registering pessimism (up three points), and 41% voicing uncertainty (up 3 points). Despite the further dip in optimism, private companies are significantly more confident than they were this time last year, when only 27% expressed optimism.

Among international private companies, optimism about global economic prospects for the next 12 months remained subdued, changing little from the second quarter. Twenty-three percent of companies were optimistic, while a similar percentage registered pessimism (21%). The majority of international businesses remained uncertain (56%).

“As we approach the end of another year of slow growth, U.S. private companies are as uncertain as they are optimistic,” says Ken Esch, a partner with PwC’s Private Company Services practice. “These mixed sentiments have been common among Trendsetter companies in recent years. But private companies are resilient, and so although ongoing uncertainty has caused some businesses to delay or scale back plans, it hasn’t translated into inaction. The uptick in private companies