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Australian Firms to Face Difficult Economic Conditions in 2009: D&B Survey

(RTTNews) - Australian firms are expected to face exceptionally challenging economic conditions in 2009, the latest Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) business expectations survey revealed Tuesday.

"Australian firms have had a difficult start to the New Year and executives are anticipating the quarter ahead will be the most challenging yet," D&B said.

The survey revealed that an increasing number of firms expect sales, profits, employment and capital investment to weaken further in the June 2009 quarter.

D&B found 53% of firms anticipate a fall in sales in the June quarter, while 60% expects profit to decline. Expectations for employment and capital investment are following the same downward trend, with 24% of firms expecting to cut back on staff and 10% anticipating a need to decrease capital investment, D&B said.

Dun & Bradstreet's CEO, Christine Christian said, "Credit and financial risks have increased markedly since the global financial crisis fully erupted in October 2008 and with the economy set to weaken further during 2009, cash flow problems are becoming a significant burden for Australian firms."

"There is no doubt that businesses are facing a significantly heightened risk environment in 2009, "Christian said. As a consequence, she said an unwavering focus on business fundamentals and proper cash flow management is absolutely critical to maintaining the sustainability of Australian firms.

She stated that the recently announced government stimulus package will provide some assistance to Australian firms however without a solid focus on the fundamentals the pressures for some businesses will likely become insurmountable.

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