Improvement Seen in Financial Services, Tech Industries in '04

December 31, 2003 ( - Thanks to better economic conditions and more liquidity in capital markets, those that make a living specializing in business turnarounds are expecting a slowdown in business in 2004.

Joining those two factors as factors in the improved business landscape is a loosening of credit among lenders, according to the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Trend Watch poll which asked respondents to identify the anticipated different dynamics in 2004 compared to last year.   Examining those factors, turnaround professionals read good things in the tealeaves in industries such as:

  • Financial services – 37% see improvement in 2004 versus 31% a year ago
  • Technology – 21% see improvement in 2004 versus 20% a year ago
  • Aerospace/Defense – 19% see improvement in 2004 versus 10% a year ago
  • Airlines – 19% see improvement versus 17% a year ago.

“The consolidation of the financial services sector has helped make it more efficient,” Randall Eisenbert, chairman of the association, said in explaining the findings. And, “the technology industry has had its first good year after several dismal ones.”

On the other side of the coin, TMA Trend Watch 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. More than half the respondents (57%) still saw economic conditions as a key obstacle to underperforming companies ahead, with one-third naming changes in competition and too much debt holding back companies from recovery during 2004.

When asked to pick the industries that suffered the most during 2003, about two-thirds named airlines, followed by manufacturing (43%) and telecommunications (29%).