Key Findings from KPMG’s 2012 Chemical Industry Pulse Survey:
- Seventy-two percent of industry executives indicate that their companies have significant cash on the balance sheet and more than (51 percent) say their companies’ cash positions have improved from last year.
- Nearly two thirds (63 percent) of all executives plan to increase capital spending over the next year. The vast majority of respondents (81percent) in the Asia-Pacific region predicted an increase in capital spending, versus 48 percent in the US and 58 percent in Europe.
- Worldwide, the highest priority investment areas are new products or services (35 percent), and the acquisition of a business (33 percent). US executives indicate that they plan to be much more aggressive investing in these two areas than their Asia-Pacific and European counterparts.
- A large majority (90 percent) of executives indicate that their companies are likely to be involved in a merger or acquisition in the next two years – up from 83 percent last year. US executives were most optimistic about being buyers (48 percent); European respondents were the most likely sellers (52 percent).
- Despite plans for expansion, the macroeconomic environment is far more of a worry for executives than this time last year. In particular, 36 percent of executives stated they were worried about potential collapse of the Eurozone. In the US 21 percent of executives actually expect to decrease headcount in the next year (up from 14 percent in 2011).
The KPMG survey was conducted in July 2012 and reflects the responses of 156 senior executives in the Chemical industry – 53 in the US, 50 in Europe, and 53 in Asia-Pacific. Based on revenue in the most recent fiscal year, 21 percent of respondents work for institutions with annual revenues exceeding USD10 billion, 35 percent with annual revenues in the USD1 billion to USD10 billion range, and 44 percent with revenues in the USD100 million to USD1 billion range.