'Green shoots' of profit springing up
Although last week was dominated by vast banking losses, including Anglo Irish Bank's €12.7bn loss being trumpeted as the largest in Irish corporate history, our business survey has isolated what is perhaps the best "green shoot" we've seen so far.
Although the economy is bombed out, corporate Ireland may be set to lead us out of the maelstrom. Some 38 per cent of company bosses who responded indicated that their business would report increased profits this year. This is nearly a tenfold jump on last year when just four per cent of corporate chiefs thought profits would increase. In fact, the forecasts for increased profits are at the highest level since our poll in February 2007.
Close to 31 per cent of the respondents from Ireland's largest 300 companies believed that profits would remain flat this year, compared with 22 per cent last year. That means that more than two-thirds of our business leaders expect that their companies will perform at the same level or better than last year. These figures are underlined by Ryanair's recent announcement that it expected to blast through previous profit forecasts as sales were much higher than expected.
In last year's poll, almost a quarter of Irish businesses thought that they would make a loss in the coming year, while this year the figure has dropped by over a third. In contrast, only 14 per cent of Irish leaders now believe that they will make a loss in 2010.