More than a quarter of UK manufacturers say they are benefitting from current trading conditions, with a third stating that they expect their business to expand over the next 12 months.
The figures come from the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that polls SMEs over a range of industries about their views on financial and economic matters.
Steven Gee, Managing Director of the Manufacturing Division at Close Brothers Asset Finance, said: “These figures would seem to show that manufacturers have a cautiously optimistic outlook about the economy.
“Encouragingly, our survey also demonstrated that employees within the manufacturing sector have begun to see an increase in their pay packets, with a third of firms awarding rises over the last year,” Mr. Gee added.
When asked about their greatest business concern, 40 percent of manufacturing firms in the SME sector said that it was poor cash flow, followed by competitor products or services at 24 percent.
Gee added: “While there are genuinely some positive signs of growth, there are clearly still hurdles to overcome. It’s disappointing that despite the fact that three quarters of manufacturers told us they have heard of asset finance, so many still feel that their cash flow is a big worry.
“Manufacturers often have a lot of ‘hidden’ cash lying in their company’s assets that can be released using a form of asset finance called Sale and HP Back.
“This cash injection can then be used to improve cash flow, purchase new assets or fund business expansion. It’s an extremely viable option and one that can allow a business to take full advantage of any opportunities for growth that come their way,” concluded Gee.