UPfront Turnaround trend spotting

Financial services and technology are industry sectors likely to improve in 2004; manufacturing, airlines and automotive industries will, on the other hand, continue to struggle according to the most recent Turnaround Management Association Trend Watch results.
Professionals in the turnaround management and corporate renewal industry expect different restructuring landscape given the improved economic conditions and more liquidity in the capital market overall this year. These two factors, along with loosening of credit among lenders, were named most frequently by respondents to the New York-based TMA’s Trend Watch poll undertaken to identify the anticipated different dynamics of 2004 compared to last year.
A third of the respondents picked financial services and technology as the most likely industries to improve this year. One fifth believe the aerospace/defence and pharmaceutical industries will improve their performance.
Respondents were less optimistic for manufacturing, airlines and automotive industries, which came in as the top three most likely to experience the greatest financial and/or operations difficulties in 2004. Telecommunications slipped to fourth place after being number two in last year’s poll as the pick for most distressed industries in the year ahead.
“Retail, while still under stress, is in far better financial shape than it was three years ago,” said Ward Mooney, incoming president of TMA and president of Fleet Retail Group in Boston. “US retailers now realise that there are too many stores to satisfy the demands of the customer and have stopped expanding and used that money to reduce debt.”
More than half the respondents (57 percent) saw economic conditions as key obstacle ahead for underperforming companies, with one third naming changes in competition and too much debt holding back recovery in 2004.

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