There is guarded optimism in the European
leasing sector, with a positive outlook for the rest of the year,
according to the latest Business Confidence Survey from Leaseurope
and Invigors EMEA.

More than half of those surveyed expected new
business volumes to increase over the next six months, up to 59%
from 54% in December.

There was also increased confidence over
profits, with two-thirds of respondents predicting an increase in
net profits for the second half of the year, up from 49% in
December, and only 16% anticipating a decrease.

There was a muted improvement in attitudes to
bad debt, with the number of participants expecting an increase in
write-offs falling from 50% to 39%. However, only 9% expected a
reduction in bad debt over the next six months.

Lessors were less optimistic regarding
margins, with 38% of businesses expecting them to increase this
year, down from 43% in December, although only 13% think their
margins will decrease.

The survey showed mixed expectations regarding
expenditure, with 25% of those surveyed predicting operating
expenses will increase compared to 34% predicting a decrease.

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Leaseurope said, overall, the survey painted a
picture of an industry “on hold”, with cautious companies unsure of
growth in the current economic climate.

Richard Ryan, partner at Invigors EMEA, said:
“Nonetheless, many companies are targeting growth over the rest of
the year and most anticipate that new business will increase as
well as net profit. Several expect to increase margins as well.

“It seems that the asset finance industry is
finding growth in an uncertain business environment after all.”