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European families confident about growth, wary of political contagion

By Nicholas Moody

European family businesses are buoyant about the business outlook for the next 12 months, but political risks continue to cloud the horizon, a new poll says.

The European Family Business Barometer 2017, commissioned by Societe Generale Private Banking, found more than 76% of respondents were positive about their business outlook into 2018, with only 4% holding a negative view.

Revenue forecasts roughly corresponded with business confidence. Almost a third (29%) of businesses forecast revenue growth of 5-10% next year, with 38% projecting a 1-5% rise.

The majority (63%) said family business expansion would be focused on international markets, with almost three-quarters (71%) self-financing these developments through retained earnings.

These forecasts were lower than the growth expectations of UK companies from an earlier study.

More than nine-in-10 UK family businesses anticipated growth when contributing to PwC's eighth Family Business Survey, published in February, although part of this research began before the UK voted to leave the EU.

However political and geopolitical uncertainty were common fears cited by CampdenFB.compoll respondents when they were asked to name their biggest challenge over the next 12 months.

“Political, social and fiscal environment change”, “geopolitical risk”, “political instability”, and “fiscal regime changes”, were some of the responses given.

Encouragingly, the CampdenFB.compoll found families are actively supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs.

When asked if family members are encouraged to start their own businesses, 75% agreed, with the bulk having to go out and seek funding independently from the family holding company.

The online poll of 51 family businesses from 13 European countries ran for seven weeks from 24 April to 9 May on CampdenFB.com.

Interested in receiving a short presentation of the findings? Click here to request a copy.

A full report on the findings will appear in the next edition of CampdenFB.

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