Europe/US Working Capital Survey


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The latest survey on the working capital situation of the largest 1,000 European companies by sales reveals for the year 2004 a further improved performance, with a year on year drop of 3.3%. European corporations still continue to pay attention to working capital management as a way to drive liquidity and returns. Each working capital component contributed last year to the overall improvement.

A more refined working capital analysis shows a higher proportion of sectors reporting improved year on year performance, suggesting a lower magnitude in weighted reduction changes. Among those that have shown the biggest meaningful working capital improvements last year were Aerospace & Defense, Distillers & Brewers, Food Retailers and Telecoms, while Auto Manufacturers, Commodity Chemicals, Electrical Components and Industrial Diversified were flat or deteriorated.

A detailed country analysis reveals improved DWC performance across nearly every European country. Among the major economies, Italy and the UK saw the biggest working capital improvements last year, but their performance was more mixed when compared with 2002. France and Germany registered further DWC reduction, but at a substantially lower rate than in 2003.

While progress has been achieved, an initial benchmark and comparative information analysis reveals that the largest European companies still have in total close to €480bn of cash unnecessarily tied up in working capital. In addition, implementing best practice working REL Consultancy Group REL’s methodology is about generating cash improvement from working capital and operations to deliver strategic flexibility and competitive advantage. Every program is customized to the needs and goals of the individual client based on an in-depth understanding of your particular industry, corporate structure and business environment.


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