09/12/2008 - 07:00

Growth still on 2009 agenda

09/12/2008 - 07:00

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Australian companies are still chasing growth opportunities despite the global economic downturn and a dive in consumer spending, according to Ernst & Young research.

Emerging companies in Australia are still chasing growth opportunities despite the global economic downturn and a dive in consumer spending, according to Ernst & Young research.

The report released today - Bright Stars, Big Horizons: What's driving Australia's fast growing public companies - analyses the performance of companies ranked 201 to 400 on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) since 2006.

Ernst & Young partner and strategic growth markets leader, Jon Dobell, said based on the report's findings, he expects there to be good opportunities for businesses to grow in 2009.

"There is no doubt a weakening economy will pose significant difficulties for business in 2009 but tough times will breed opportunities for nimble companies," he said.

This view was echoed by a number of chief executives in today's report, with many whose company achieved strong growth in revenue and profit earnings per share in 2008 anticipating it to be possible to repeat the performance in 2009.

Analysis of ASX201-400 performance showed that 61.5 per cent of companies increased revenue and 73 per cent enhanced profit performance in 2008, while 64.5 per cent increased earnings per share.

About a third of ASX201-400 undertook acquisitions between January 1 and October 20 this year.

Most of the chief executives surveyed believed Australia was better placed than most other Western countries to ride out the global economic downturn, and that there would be companies who continued to post strong gains.

"In fact many believe there are once-in-a-lifetime acquisition opportunities for companies on a growth track and with access to cash," Mr Dobell said.

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