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Singapore: Indian enterprises resilient in crisis

June 22, 2009 16:53 IST

Indian enterprises in Singapore have been more resilient than expected during the current economic downturn, with 92 per cent of them staying in the black, an Indian Business Community Survey shows.

The survey was commissioned by the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to better understand the Indian business community in Kuala Lumpur.

While 70 per cent of respondents reported slower sales in the last quarter of 2008, only one in 10 complained of insufficient cash flow, Singapore's daily Straits Times said.

This optimism reflects the healthy turnover growth rates experienced by survey respondents last year, when about 60 per cent of them enjoyed up to 10 per cent growth.

Sicci chief executive Pradeep Menon said confidence levels remained high with most firms being 'cautiously optimistic' that they could handle the downturn and expect better results by next year. More than half of the respondents expect to stay or become profitable as early as this year, he added.

"This gives us a lot of cause for optimism," the daily quoted Menon, who is also director of the Enterprise Development Centre at the Sicci, as saying.

The findings classified respondents into companies and smaller businesses. While two-thirds of respondents were classified as companies, the rest were deemed to be businesses.

Most firms that stayed resilient were dependent on their international presence, Menon said, adding, firms that have gone into emerging markets had done better due to the insulation these economies provide from the economic crisis.

Half of the companies doing business internationally enjoyed more thanĀ Singapore $5 millionĀ in turnover last year, while 48 per cent of companies with no overseas presence generated less than one million dollars in turnover.

The survey also found a strong sense of entrepreneurship within the Indian business community in singapore with 55 per cent of respondents being new entrants that have been operating for less than 10 years.

Many have ventured into non-traditional sectors such as transport, storage and construction in the past five years.

A total 677 firms responded to the survey, which was conducted from last December to April this year, the paper said.

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