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Competition seen as biggest risk in CEE

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LONDON — Increased competition is the number one risk as perceived by senior executives in Central and Eastern European companies, according to a survey by Marsh Ltd.

But, as with the other major risks cited by companies , there is a gap between the risks identified as of greatest concern and their ability to mitigate them, the survey found.

Marsh surveyed the risk management perceptions of 1,200 senior executives of organizations with a turnover of more than €5 million, from 12 countries across the CEE area.

Of those surveyed, 83% said the threat of increased competition was a "significant" risk.

However, it was also the risk that businesses felt they were least prepared to mitigate against, with only 37% applying procedures to deal with it, Marsh said.

The other top risks mentioned as "significant " by executives were: major default on payment by key customers, 68%, adverse changes in customer demand, 64%, commodity price fluctuations, 57%,, reduced productivity due to staff absenteeism and turnover, 56%.

Marsh noted that, in each case, less than half of those surveyed were adequately prepared to deal with these risks.

One in five of the survey participants said they had experienced a significant financial loss during the last three years. Of these, 75% responded by creating a crisis management plan to minimize any future losses. Of those that did not experience a significant loss, less than 20% have developed a plan - or will - unless a loss occurs, Marsh said.

"While companies operating in the CEE region have grasped the strategic importance of risk management, many have yet to put in place systems and procedures to adequately deal with the risks they may face," Mr. Irwin added.