The latest editions of our Yorkshire and Central South Reports – which aggregate the accounts of each region’s top 150 companies – have highlighted that both regional economies have strong foundations to help them weather the current economic turmoil.
Whether this is down to both regions being prudent or having a tendency to spurn opportunities for risk based growth, is largely irrelevant.
What is important is that the way they have historically ‘done business’ could be responsible for safeguarding their economic future.
In both regions, the reports have been based on accounts up to March ’08, before much of the severe market turmoil hit. Top-line figures for both regions are strong.
In Yorkshire, profit after tax increased by 20 per cent and revenue rose by three per cent while their Central South counterparts saw a hike in net profit of 41 per cent to £2.7bn and revenue increased by 12 per cent to £70.9bn.
These are robust results for the region’s Top 150 companies with significant increases across the majority of areas. But, unfortunately, it certainly doesn’t mean that either region is immune to the effects of the recession.
To use these results to best effect, it’s important to map them onto the current economic conditions we’re facing today, looking at how these solid foundations, put in place before severe market turbulence, will help all regional businesses weather the recession.
In previous years, both sets of results may have been viewed as overly prudent but a tight focus on operating efficiency has put the top 150 companies in both regions in a leaner and meaner position to face the rigours ahead.
Strict cost controls and relatively low gearing may have blunted the recession’s early impact in the regions.
Both reports look ahead and question, how long can the downturn last? Our forecasts confirm that it will be a long haul. Tougher trading conditions will call for tougher decisions.
There is a need to create the right balance between realising that opportunities do still exist, whilst adopting a cautious approach to taking advantage of them. The majority of Group companies have recognised the benefits of having an effective risk management framework to help decision-makers strike an appropriate balance.
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