British company finance chiefs upbeat on hiring and investments: Survey

LONDON (Reuters) - British businesses plan to increase hiring and investment over the next 12 months, even as recent economic data points to a possible slowdown in economic growth, a poll of finance directors showed on Monday.

A quarterly survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) by professional services group Deloitte showed 81 per cent expect British businesses to add staff, 80 per cent predict higher capital expenditure and 95 per cent expect more mergers and acquisitions.

The 126 respondents to the survey, conducted between March 6 and 24 and which included CFOs from more than a quarter of the companies in the FTSE 100 index of leading stocks, said the appetite for risk among businesses was growing.

That's despite recent purchasing managers' index (PMI) surveys pointing to slowing growth in the service and manufacturing sectors, after stronger than expected expansion in 2013.

"CFOs increasingly see growth here in the UK, and established markets such as the U.S. and euro (currency) area, as the key drivers of their corporate investment plans," said Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte.

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