Managers of companies with up to 250 employees expect their activity to return to pre-crisis levels later due to the second wave of Covid-19, according to a Bpifrance survey.
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This return to normal is now envisaged during the second half of 2021 by 35% of the 5,178 managers of SMEs questioned between the end of October and the beginning of December, while a quarter of them think that it will only happen 'from 2022. In early September, half of these entrepreneurs still reported
"a return to normal quickly or already done"
, according to a barometer published by the public investment bank.
"Companies are staying on course for recovery despite the second confinement"
, apart from the administratively closed sectors, Philippe Mutricy, director of studies at Bpifrance, told AFP.
"the second confinement and the uncertainties that accompany it have nevertheless lengthened the horizon"
of this recovery, adds Baptiste Thornary, chief economist of the public bank.
Despite the prolongation of the health crisis, 58% of SME managers are maintaining their hiring plans, ie as much as in early September, before the second epidemic wave.
Investment is holding up
On the other hand, 51% of companies now declare that they will maintain their investment projects, against 45% at the beginning of September and 41% at the end of the first confinement.
"the share of postponed investment projects is three times higher than the share of cancellations"
, underlines Philippe Mutricy, specifying that
"the real renunciation of investment concerns only 13% of projects"
And for 40% of companies, equity is not a constraint on their future development projects, 39% seeing it only as a moderate constraint.
A positive point of the crisis,
"we have made a big qualitative leap in the modernization and competitiveness of companies linked to digitization"
, according to Philippe Mutricy.
For 3%, cash flow is an "insurmountable difficulty"
Finally, only 3% of companies consider their cash flow as an
and more than half say they have enough liquidity.
Compared to the barometer at the beginning of September, there is a polarization between those who have almost entirely consumed their loan guaranteed by the State (PGE), the share of which has risen from 13% to 20%, and the others.
Because 35% had always
"little or not at all"
during the second confinement and 27% had consumed less than half.