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THREE-QUARTERS OF FAST GROWTH MANUFACTURERS WHO EXPORT, VOICE OPTIMISM ABOUT PROSPECTS FOR NEXT YEAR, COOPERS & LYBRAND SURVEY REPORTS

 NEW YORK, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Contrary to what many see as a bumpy road ahead for the global economy, Coopers & Lybrand "Trendsetter Barometer" manufacturers report a bullish outlook for their exports abroad over the next 12 months. In fact, chief executives of three- quarters (74 percent) of "Trendsetter" manufacturing companies who export say they are more optimistic about their export prospects than they were just three months ago. Only 20 percent say they are less optimistic, and the remaining 6 percent foresee no change.
 Currently more than half of "Trendsetter" manufacturing companies (54 percent) export. This group anticipates greater overall corporate growth over the next 12 months than their counterparts that do not export: 26.5 percent growth versus 23.3 percent, or 14 percent higher.
 "Another important indication of their strength is the additions these exporters are making to the work force," says George Auxier, national director of the Entrepreneurial Advisory Services Group for Coopers & Lybrand, the international professional services firm. "Trendsetter" manufacturers that export say they will add 16.4 percent to their work force over the next 12 months, a figure which represents 23 percent more hirings than non-exporters.
 "Small, growing companies tell us that the proliferation of new and improved channels of communication, access to reliable transportation, and lower tariff barriers make it easier and more appealing to export," explains Auxier. "However, they acknowledge that significant barriers also exist."
 Almost four in 10 "Trendsetter" manufacturers (38 percent) view political or economic conditions abroad as the foremost potential limitation to their ability to obtain export orders over the next 12 months.
 They also cited two financial issues: 17 percent are concerned about how their prices compared with overseas competitors and 16 percent say credit or finance limitations are their most important hurdle. Another 14 percent see their greatest barrier as the ability to deliver or distribute their own products abroad.
 Other issues of major concern to these CEOs include technology compatibility (cited by 7 percent), quota and import license restrictions (4 percent), and timeliness of delivery (4 percent) compared to their overseas competitors. It is interesting to note that only 1 percent cited "ISO 9000" or other international quality standards as of prime concern.
 Contrasting Concerns in Britain and U.S.
 "American fast growth companies have entirely different concerns about exporting than their counterparts in the United Kingdom," notes Auxier.
 He describes a survey completed earlier this year by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) which found that British companies see price competitiveness as their greatest export hurdle, and overseas political or economic conditions as of considerably lesser importance.
 "This is good news for American businesses," says Auxier. "We should interpret the fact that "Trendsetter" CEOs see pricing as a smaller obstacle than their British competitors as an indication that the prospects for American business abroad are on the rise."
 Coopers & Lybrand's "Trendsetter Barometer" is developed and compiled by the firm's Entrepreneurial Advisory Services group with assistance from the opinion and economic research firm of Business Science International. At each Coopers & Lybrand office, and Entrepreneurial Advisory Services team is available to serve the needs of growing and midsize companies.
 One of the world's leading professional firms, Coopers & Lybrand provides services for enterprises in a wide range of industries. The firm offers its clients the expertise of more than 16,000 professionals and staff in offices located in 100 U.S. cities and more than 66,000 people in 120 countries worldwide.
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 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Coopers & Lybrand's "Trendsetter Barometer" interviewed CEOs of 132 manufacturing companies identified in the media as among the fastest growing U.S. businesses over the last five years. The surveyed companies range in size from approximately $1 million to $50 million in revenue/sales. Graphic art available upon request./
 /CONTACT: Maggie O'Donovan of Coopers & Lybrand, 212-536-3174/


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WB-LG -- NY030 -- 6116 08/26/93 12:04 EDT
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Date:Aug 26, 1993
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