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South East: Over half of SMEs to invest in Q3, says Bibby Financial Services

By Dan Teuton
3 September 2014

The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises in the South East are expecting to invest in their businesses this quarter, according to research from Bibby Financial Services.

The independent funder surveyed 1,000 businesses with a turnover of up to £25 million as part of its SME Tracker and 64% said they will invest in the three months up to October.

A quarter plan to invest in technology and equipment (25%); nearly one in four (24%) said they will recruit new staff and just less than a quarter (24%) said they would invest in employee training.

Paul Cunningham, MD for Bibby Financial Services in the South East, said: “These results are positive as they show owners and management teams investing in the long-term future of their businesses. The increase in those investing in new premises is a clear indication of these plans and it’s likely that the effects will be felt later in the year, which could spell more positive news in terms of GDP as we lead-up to 2015.”

More than one in 10 SMEs (11%)  plan to invest in new premises and more will focus on product design than in the second quarter of the year (20% to 23%).

When asked about expectations for the months ahead, 65% said they expect to achieve sales growth and only 6% foresee a decline in orders in the three months leading up to October.

Gross domestic product estimates announced in July show the UK returning to pre-recession levels and Cunningham says the latest findings highlight longer-term growth aspirations among smaller businesses in the region.

Cunningham said he would also expect findings to be reflected in employment figures later in the year but cautioned that aspirations need to be coupled with finance to support growth: “If businesses have the financial means to grow, then undoubtedly they will need to take on staff, move to larger premises and buy equipment and machinery, which all have a positive multiplier effect on the economy.

“But too often, ambition is stifled by cashflow issues, such as late payment or customer insolvency so having funding in place is a huge advantage in facilitating these plans.”

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