Firms swapping euro zone for emerging markets-survey

LONDON Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:01pm EST

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LONDON Nov 27(Reuters) - Nearly one in two companies have already reduced their exposure to the euro zone because of the bloc's debt and banking problems, according to a study released on Tuesday by Accenture.

But the consulting firm also found that half of euro zone businesses are looking to take advantage of the crisis by seeking acquisitions in the 17-currency area.

For Chinese companies, that figure rises to 71 percent.

Accenture surveyed 450 companies, 96 percent of which have annual revenues of at least $1 billion.

Of those firms polled, 46 percent said they were moving production or supply chain activities outside the euro zone. This includes 10 percent that may quit the bloc altogether.

Accenture found 44 percent of firms have accelerated investments in high-growth emerging markets.

At the same time, nearly 60 percent of German and Spanish respondents to the survey have already started, or will soon begin, to seek acquisitions in the euro zone.

"It is inevitable that slow growth and uncertainty in Europe will make investment to emerging markets look attractive," said Mark Spelman, Accenture's managing director for strategy.

"But the euro zone remains a good long term bet and a significant number of high-performing companies see opportunities for organic and inorganic growth," he said in a statement.

Whereas seven out of 10 Chinese firms are keen to expand in the euro zone through acquisitions, only 20 percent of U.S. businesses surveyed by Accenture are on the takeover trail. (Reporting by Alan Wheatley)

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