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Euro execs most worried about competition risk


JOHNSTON, R.I.— Financial executives at Europe's largest companies are more worried about risks that could harm their competitiveness than their counterparts in North America, who cite supply chain and property risks as their biggest concerns, a new study reveals.

In a survey of more than 500 financial executives with companies in Europe and North America generating more than $500 million in annual revenues, Factory Mutual Insurance Co., the Johnston, Rhode Island-based insurer that does business as FM Global, found significant differences in the attitudes towards the risks those operations face.

The study, "Managing Business Risk Through 2009 and Beyond," showed that the risk of competition — a competitor's new product or a powerful new entrant in the marketplace, for example — was seen as the most worrisome risk by European and North American companies. Supply chain and property risks were close behind in the survey and all three of those threats are expected by the respondents to remain constant or worsen through 2009.

European companies, though, were found to be more worried about the risk of a loss of competitiveness than their counterparts in the United States and Canada. Only 10% of the executives polled in the North American countries cited that risk as the biggest threat, while 18% in Germany named it, along with 15% in France and 14% in the United Kingdom.

U.S. and Canadian companies, meanwhile, are more concerned with supply chain and property risks, according to the survey. Seventeen percent of North American executives cited supply chain risks as the most threatening and 16% cited property exposures. That compares with just 5% of executives in France who chose supply chain risks as the top concern. Fourteen percent of the respondents in Germany and the same percentage in the United Kingdom named that risk as the top threat.

Property risks were the top concern of 8% of the executives polled in France, 9% in Germany, 14% in the United Kingdom.

The study is at