Nation’s business leaders bullish about 2014

Optimism abounds in predictions for the year ahead

Denmark’s top business leaders say that the financial crisis is a thing of the past and the future, starting with 2014, is so bright that they are all sporting shades around the office.

According to financial daily Børsen’s annual poll of CEOs, 60 percent of the 671 respondents say that a strong export market along with an increase in both orders and profits point to an upswing in 2014.

“In general, we believe that the market in 2014 will be better,” Jens Peter Saul, the head of the engineering firm Rambøll, told Børsen. Rambøll employs 10,000 people worldwide.

Saul’s opinion was backed up by Jeff Gravenhorst, the head of service giant ISS.

“Europe has been hard hit during the past few years, but I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Gravenhorst told Børsen.

READ MORE: Prime minister delivers a message of cautioned hope for 2014

Both bosses were quick to point out that they are “cautiously optimistic” and expect more of a stabilisation than an outright improvement in the nation’s economy.

“Even with positive signs at home, there are still many struggling economies around the world,” said Gravenhorst.

Pluses and minuses
The survey, which has been conducted for the last 20 years in conjunction with Greens Analysis Institute, is the largest of its kind in Denmark. This year’s study points to growth of 1.8 percent in the nation’s economy, the highest since 2006.

The 1.8 percent growth predicted by the survey is slightly higher than recent government predictions that put the number at 1.6 percent.

“It is a very positive development that the heads of the nation’s top companies believe that the coming year will be an improvement for Danish businesses,” Christian Ingemann, the head of the business advocacy group Dansk Erhverv told Børsen. “Even though 2013 was something of a disappointment, some of the forward motion has set the stage for a better year this year.”

READ MORE: EU has rosy outlook on Danish economy

The optimism is tampered by predictions that most of the growth will occur in those businesses that are export-heavy. Those trading mostly inside of the country's borders will continue to struggle, according to the report.

“Those businesses dependent on the homegrown market and local customers will still experience reduced demand,” said Ingemann. “Without increases in sales, they will not experience much of an upswing.”

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