• CEOs optimistic of PH growth prospects – survey

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    THE number of Philippine business executives wanting to expand overseas has dropped given improvements in the country’s business prospects, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said on Monday.

    Citing a recent poll, PwC said that out of the 114 respondents surveyed, only 45 percent said they were looking abroad, or more particularly in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region.
    It was 61 percent a year earlier.

    “It’s because of the growth prospects of the Philippines,” PwC Philippines assurance partner Aldie Garcia said during a briefing.

    “In the previous years, when we talked to CEOs, they were very neutral in terms of growth prospects in the Philippines … [now]with all the reforms ongoing and the programs of the government, 45 percent of them explicitly said that their growth prospects are in the country,” he said.

    Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia were next on the list at 20 percent, 19 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

    “The three countries were selected by our CEOs because of relative political risk stability, ongoing reforms similar to what we are having here in the country, and more importantly, a bright economic prospect,” Garcia said.

    Jade Divinagracia, PwC managing partner for deals and corporate finance, said there was quite a number of the CEOs open to inviting partners.

    “What we observed in our conversations with them is that most of them are not open to divesting shares but they are open to collaboration and that’s very reflective in terms of the responses in their surveys,” she said.

    “If you look at the companies who are more open to M&A (mergers and acquisitions) omestically, as well as M&A across borders, this year’s survey results are more encouraging, Divinagracia added

    “A lot of them are becoming more open, lower than those who prefer to enter partnerships. So, I think about 30 to 40 percent would get into M&A. But if you compare that to last year’s results—for cross-border results—last year’s was, I think, only 17 percent. So there is some marked increase in terms of intention to enter into M&A. Though, still, partnership is still the preferred route working together,” she added.

    The survey also showed 55 percent of business leaders were confident about their industry’s revenue growth prospects in the next 12 months, compared with 53 percent last year.

    Fifty-four percent remainedositive about growth in the next three years, compared with 52 percent in 2016.
    Among the most preferred industries were consumer and retail; healthcare, pharmacy, and life sciences; retail and wholesale distribution; technology; food and beverage; and real estate.

    With the growing penetration of technology, 71 percent of the CEOs said they wantedo strengthen innovation, digital, and technological capabilities to capitalize on new opportunities. Fifty-nine percent believed technology would significantly impact their respective industries over the next five years.

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