Tesi’s survey, now conducted for the sixth time, covers unlisted companies comprising at least five people in Finland’s major business sectors.
The companies surveyed forecast average growth in net sales of 8.5% for 2022 and 5% for 2023, which roughly corresponds to the European Central Bank’s inflation forecasts. Corresponding growth estimates for strongly growth-oriented companies are many times higher than these averages.
“Our survey shows that strongly growth-oriented companies excelled themselves amidst multiple crises and have managed to realise their expectations in a difficult environment. This select group probably includes the stars, which define Finland’s future by transforming the country’s business ecosystem and boosting productivity,” points out CDO Henri Hakamo, who heads Tesi’s Development team.
Growth prospects are dampened, however, by major labour shortages. The survey indicates that almost 60% of the companies are suffering from labour shortages. Of these companies, one-sixth find the issue an obstacle to normal operation and almost one-half an obstacle to growth. The worst shortage is in the accommodation & food services sector. Across all sectors, at least one-half of the companies are suffering from labour shortages, and one-sixth report the shortage depressing their net sales by over one-tenth.
VC&PE-backed companies investing in growth
Companies backed by venture capital and/or private equity have bolder investment plans than their peers and also plan bigger increases in their R&D investments.
One-third of all the companies are planning to increase their investments compared to almost 60% of VC&PE-backed companies planning increases. These figures are broadly similar to last year’s level.
One-third of all the companies and some 80% of VC&PE-backed companies conduct R&D activities. One-fifth of all the companies and over one-half of VC&PE-backed companies plan to increase their R&D activities. These figures are broadly similar to those of one year ago.
“Companies have succeeded in adapting their operations in Finland and in battling through challenging times with commendable results. This is the big picture our questionnaire survey portrays. Venture capital and private equity-backed companies have performed well and even show surprisingly good prospects,” summarises Henri Hakamo.
- Net sales are forecast to grow in 2023 at the same pace as inflation. All surveyed companies +5%, growth-oriented companies 26%, and VC&PE-backed companies 24%.
- EBITDA is forecast to rise in 2023 by an average 2.7 percentage points to roughly 15%. The same level of 15% is also expected by VC&PE-backed companies.
- Labour shortages are impacting 57% of the companies. Of these companies, labour shortages are an obstacle to normal operation for 17% and an obstacle to growth for 47%. The most acute labour shortage is in accommodation & food services (70%).
- Electricity savings measures have been adopted by 50% of the companies, while 43% have made investments in saving energy.
- Investment is forecast to increase in 32% of all the companies and in 57% of VC&PE-backed companies. Investment as a proportion of net sales is estimated as 8% in the former group, and 20% in the latter group.
- R&D activities are currently conducted by 35% of all companies, 66% of strongly growth-oriented companies, and 81% of VC&PE-backed companies. An increase in R&D activities is planned by 20% of all companies, 40% of strongly growth-oriented companies, and 54% of VC&PE-backed companies.
The Growth Company Pulse Survey is a survey of small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) jointly conducted by Tesi and Taloustutkimus. The survey addresses pertinent issues such as growth, profitability, financing, investment, labour shortages and expertise. Altogether 1,575 companies participated in the survey during the response period of 11 October – 18 November 2022. The survey covers the most important sectors of Finland’s economy (8/16 sectors). Companies of less than five people were excluded from the survey, but no upper limit was set for net sales.
Tesi wants to raise Finland to the forefront of transformative economic growth. We develop the market, and work for the success of Finnish growth companies. We invest in private equity and venture capital funds and directly in growth companies. We provide long-running support, reasoned insights, patient capital, and skilled ownership. tesi.fi | Twitter | LinkedIn | Newsletter