Singapore CEO’s more bullish about SG’s growth, earnings: KPMG

92% of Singapore CEOs are confident about the country’s growth.

CEOs in Singapore are more bullish about the country’s growth and their companies’ earning power in the next three years compared to their other peers globally, according to the KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook Survey, with 92% eyeing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to grow their businesses quickly.

KPMG said 92% of Singapore CEOs expressed confidence for the country’s growth outlook, 15% up year-on-year, and is higher compared to the 82% of CEOs globally with regards to their respective countries.

It also said that 96% of Singapore CEOs expect that their company’s earnings will rise in the next three years, with 72% suggesting an earnings outlook of up to 5% per annum and 24% seeing an earnings outlook of 5% to 20% yearly in the next three years.

This is also higher compared to the global number of 14% of CEOs who felt the same way; and is a sharp contrast to 2020 where 0% of Singapore CEOs felt their company’s earnings could be higher than 5% per annum.

A total of 84% of Singapore CEOs also expected more jobs to be created in the next three years compared to 88% of CEOs globally. Despite this, 24% of them said the top operational priority is to attract and retain necessary talent and 38% will also prioritise how to reward and incentivise talent.

The KPMG survey also found that 36% of Singapore CEOs are viewing M&As as the most important strategy in achieving their companies’ growth objectives, followed by organic growth through research and development, innovation, capital investments, and recruitment (28%), strategic alliances with third parties (28%), joint ventures (4%), and outsourcing (4%).

CEOs last year chose joint venture and strategic alliances with third parties as the top two strategies.

A total of 92% of Singapore CEOs said that they will make acquisitions that have a moderate to significant impact on their overall organisations in the next three years, compared to 74% reported last year and 60% in 2019.

Eight in 10 Singapore CEOs also said there is significant demand from stakeholders for increasing reporting and transparency on environmental, social, and governance issues, higher than the 58% globally and 70% in the Asia Pacific. Nine in 10 CEOs in Singapore are also expecting to be increasingly held personally responsible for driving progress in addressing social issues compared to 71% globally.

They are also worried about the impact of the global tax deal which will take effect in 2021, with four in five saying its implications are of significant concern compared to 74% globally. Nine in 10 are also feeling pressured to boost public reporting of global tax contributions than the 68% of CEOs globally.

KPMG also said that 92% of the CEOs in Singapore, compared to 78% globally, agree that there is a strong link between public trust and how their approach to tax is in line with the company’s values.

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