Wednesday 7th November, 2012
Manufacturing SMEs in England are predicting an increase in sales over the next six months according to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer.
With 55% of the 607 companies questioned expect to grow between October and March 2013, and 41% of firms set to boost investment in plant and machinery. There was also a moderate increase in those planning to spend on new technology (38%).
This cautious optimism comes after a slight softening in the marketplace that has seen the number of businesses reporting increased sales drop to just 45%, down nearly 8% against the previous survey.
As part of the Special Focus, the Barometer also aimed to find out what sectors SMEs are selling into, with the findings showing materials/general engineering as the most popular, closely followed by automotive and defence.
When asked about future sales growth to 2016, aerospace, marine, off shore wind and rail appear to be attractive propositions for companies looking to increase moderate sales to a significant level.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "It's encouraging to hear of the optimism amongst manufacturing SMEs in this Barometer. Of course, these are still challenging times, but the recent GDP output is the latest sign yet that the wider economy is starting to recover.
He added: “We will continue to support manufacturers through MAS to ensure they are best placed to take advantage of opportunities to grow."
This is the third National Barometer conducted by MAS and provides a snapshot of trends in English manufacturing SMEs from July to September 2012, as well as an overview of economic conditions and issues faced by the sector.