Most India Inc top honchos expect recovery to sustain


New Delhi : A whopping 63 percent of top executives of India Inc believe a sustainable economic recovery is under way, according to a survey conducted by a leading think-tank.

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Indian business honchos are the most optimistic of the lot in Asia of a sustainable economic recovery, said the survey, conducted among 258 senior executives from Asia by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

China follows a close second, with about 62 percent of its executives hopeful that the signs of an economic recovery would turn into reality and here to stay.

In contrast, business honchos in developed economies like Japan and Australia are not so optimistic.

“The most pessimistic executives live in Japan. Forty-four percent of Japan-based respondents see no economic recovery in that country at all,” said the survey.

“Only 38 percent of respondents in Australia are optimistic that the recovery will be sustained,” the survey, sponsored by software major SAP, said.

Optimism is even lower in Hong Kong and New Zealand (both 17 percent) and in Singapore (16 percent).

Indian companies, however, seem to be adopting a more cautious stand compared to the Chinese, Singaporean and Japanese firms on using the dampened economic conditions and falling asset prices to make an acquisition.

While 45 percent of the executives from India said they were unlikely to take advantage of distressed asset prices to make an acquisition, 42 percent in China, 47 percent in Singapore and 37 percent in Japan believe their companies will embark on a merger and acquisition (M&A) drive.

Only 26 percent of the Indian executives said they were looking to do so.

EIU, however, said companies from India and China have different game plans of growth.

“Chinese companies may be looking to acquire overseas, particularly in the West, where a shallow recovery from the recession is expected to keep asset values under pressure,” it said.

“Indian companies, on the other hand, may be more focused on M&A within India, where GDP growth may resume strongly and thus lift asset prices,” the survey added.

EIU concludes that while the cost cutting strategies did have a positive impact on corporate bottom lines, these measures would not help companies continue to grow.

“To sustain profitability, they have to grow the top line too, and that can happen only in a supportive economic environment in which the vaunted green shoots of recovery that we see today actually turn into fields of grain.”