Editor's message (6/1)

5 February 2009,


WELCOME to the first edition of Gold Coast Business News for 2009.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a crystal ball about now? In this issue we take you into the engine room of the Gold Coast economy and into this city’s biggest companies.
From publicly listed giants like Billabong and Sunland, to large scale private players who have been building and expanding their businesses under the radar – we profile this city’s largest employers and most successful entrepreneurs.
The Gold Coast is home to a diverse array of big name, publicly-listed brands and top tier private players across various industries – all of whom have been impacted by the global downturn. Some have been hurt already, others are nervously anticipating the next few months.
One thing is for certain. Their mettle will be well and truly tested by the events set to unravel this year as economists drill words like ‘turbulence’ and ‘turmoil’ into the business psyche.
Gold Coast Business News has identified the leading companies and how they’re placed to ride out a year of economic uncertainty. With so much negative sentiment being pedalled in the mass media, we talk directly to the managing directors and CEOs, many of whom are treating 2009 with caution.
Getting private companies – particularly in the shaky property market – to divulge sensitive information regarding revenue and growth forecasts has been a monumental challenge in itself. But those that agreed to participate in this special edition are generally proactive when marketing their brand in harsh financial climates.
Some commentators are calling current conditions the worst since 1991. But the good news is that emerging industries in health and eco-tech are set to offset the doom lurking in the wake of diminishing commodities and finance sectors. Commercial property, automotive industries and financiers will continue to be bruised by the global credit crunch.
With half yearly reports just around the corner, we get in early, only to discover a few large scale public companies are considering delisting from the ASX as they weigh up their options to privatise and downscale their operations.
Aaron Lavell from WMS has identified the stragglers and the standout performers for 2009. He points to retail and any industries dependent on bank funding without strong balance sheets to go into survival mode. Ditto to financial advisory groups whose income is linked to funds under management and consultants to industries that are struggling.
Meanwhile the top performers are likely to be wellness-based businesses, ‘green’ businesses with strong points of differentiation and low overheads, insolvency operators, litigation lawyers and affordable aged care.
Most commentators are tipping conditions to improve in the third quarter when it is expected that banks will start lending, and the outcome of Federal Government stimulus packages will be realised.
For many - that could be too late.
Jason Oxenbridge





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