UK’s mid-sized businesses lag behind Germany and France, new GE Capital research shows
New research undertaken by GE Capital has shown how far the UK’s mid-sized businesses (MSBs) are behind Germany and France when it comes to exporting outside of the EU.
The research by GE Capital found that mid-sized businesses – companies that are too big to be considered SMEs, but smaller than big, exchange listed businesses – play a key role in the UK and in the other top European economies.
Across the UK, Germany, France and Italy (the EU-4), the mid-market represents a small number of companies (ranging from a low of 1.2% in Germany to 1.7% in France) but generates about one third of private sector revenue and employs about a third of each country’s workforce.
Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: “GE Capital’s findings on exports are compelling. Just 17% of UK MSB revenues come from outside the EU. That’s lower than in Germany, France or Italy. Only 15% of UK MSBs have grown their revenues from China in the last 5 years. That is compared with 25% in France and 23% in Germany and Italy. This must change.”
Recognising the recent emphasis UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has placed on MSBs, Ms Hall said: “The CBI and UKTI recently led a joint delegation of 30 MSBs on a trade mission to Turkey, the first designed for this size of business. We worked closely with UKTI to develop a programme that really made sense for these firms. Companies on the delegation came home with new commercial opportunities and the contacts they need to help them grow overseas.”
Highlighting the scale of the challenge and also the size of the opportunity, she added: “GE Capital’s research really highlights the disparities. The UK mid-market has the second-highest proportion of ‘gazelles’ – or ‘growth champions’ – when compared to the mid-market in Germany, France and Italy, but also the second-highest proportion of flat and declining companies.
“But what GE Capital’s research also found was that UK MSBs’ principle focus is simply staying in business. Survival rather than growth is the defining strategy of 26% of the companies surveyed, more than in France and Italy and almost double that of German companies.”
The findings of GE Capotal’s research included the findings of a survey of more than 1,600 businesses across the UK, Germany, France and Italy.Follow @CaerphillyObsvr