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£51 Billion to be invested by SME’s over the next year

Capital expenditure (capex) and headcount is planned to be spent by SME’s over the next 12 months, according to GE Capital’s latest European SME Capex Barometer. The research indicates that UK SMEs intend to invest an estimated £51.5bn on capex in the next 12 months. This is a 12% increase on spending in Q3 2012, representing a 38% rise versus the same period last year, and works out at an average spend of £51.1k per UK SME.
Other key findings include:
• Expanding the workforce continues to be a top priority for the next 12 months, as UK SMEs plan to create over 525,000 new full-time jobs (up 16% from the last survey).
• The main focus of capex investment in the coming year is manufacturing equipment (£20.2bn, up 38% compared to when the survey was last completed in Q3 2012) and commercial vehicles (£16.7bn, up 106% on Q3 2012).
• Investment in IT equipment has fallen back to £11.2bn, down 36% on Q3 2012, but still up 5% on the Q1 2012 survey.
• Overall net confidence amongst UK SMEs is at 33% with more than half of respondents feeling positive (52% vs. 19% negative).
• The UK is still playing catch up to Germany and Italy. The research indicates that German SMEs plan to invest over £139bn in the next 12 months, an increase of 59% on Q3 2012. Italian SMEs now plan to spend over £67bn, up 13% on Q3 2012.
Ilaria del Beato, Chief Executive of GE Capital UK, commented: “This Capex research is a good barometer in sentiment of the wider market here in the UK and shows a degree of positivity. However, whilst investment is increasing it’s telling that replacement rather than growth is the key driver.

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