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Canadian companies surprise with bullish outlook, see strong growth

A Bay Street sign, the main street in the financial district is seen in Toronto, January 28, 2013.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

Canadian private companies are surprisingly bullish on the growth prospects for the economy over the next 12 months.

Preliminary results of a survey conducted last summer by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP of over 350 leaders of privately held companies found that they are forecasting a whopping 7.6-per-cent growth rate at a time when growth is in the 2-per-cent range.

"The strong growth outlook is somewhat of a surprise," PwC private company services leader Tahir Ayub said in a news release Thursday.

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"Private companies in Canada have certainly demonstrated their stability throughout the economic downturn and solidified a robust foundation to support their positive outlook. To proceed with the same level of optimism and ensure future profitable growth, private company leaders need to ask whether these tried and true strategies are sufficient over the long-term to remain sustainable in an increasingly globally integrated marketplace."

The results of the ninth annual Business Insights survey indicate that companies plan to grow and expand using improved sales and marketing (44 per cent), improved customer service and retention (38 per cent) and development of new products and services (31 per cent).

Barriers to growth over the next year that were cited include the economy and a lack of activity (38 per cent), labour shortages and a shallow talent pool (28 per cent) and demand for products and services (25 per cent).

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