Belfast Telegraph

Northern businesses show more resilience than firms in Republic

By David Elliot

The protracted economic downturn has eroded profits for companies both north and south of the border but businesses in Northern Ireland are faring slightly better.

Those are the findings of the latest survey from cross-border body InterTradeIreland which revealed that 21% of companies across the island of Ireland had not been profitable in the last year.

But splitting the responses to the Business Monitor survey showed that 26% of companies in the Republic have been unprofitable, while only 11% of those in Northern Ireland have not made any profit.

And it's not a pretty picture when it comes to both sales and employment.

Only 13% of businesses across the island of Ireland said they were growing, while 46% said they are contracting, in survival mode or winding down.

The main issues impacting businesses in Northern Ireland were rising costs - mostly relating to energy - and cashflow problems which have forced them to become leaner and more efficient. Around 32% of companies surveyed here said a lack of finance is holding back their growth plans, but only 4% are applying for an overdraft and 6% for a loan.

"With stagnant growth reported again for this quarter, it is clear that companies are having to get back to basics and adjust to this new reality in order to survive," said Dr Eoin Magennis, policy research manager for InterTradeIreland.

"There are exceptions to these results however and we continue to find that those companies involved in exporting outperform those that remain in their home market."

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