Findings of the survey of companies 2012/2013
Despite having lower expectations for the future, the biotechnology sector regards its current situation as better than last year. German companies’ willingness to invest is increasingly significantly. However, companies are planning lower investments in human resources than they did last year. The sector regards the political parameters for biotechnology companies as worse than in early 2012. These were the findings of a survey by the biotechnology industry association, BIO Deutschland, in cooperation with the sector magazine |transkript. The figures were presented at a press conference in Berlin today.
Expenditure on research and development (R&D) is set to increase to an even greater extent than it did in previous years. At an index value of 96.1 points (+2.35 points), the willingness to invest in R&D has reached its highest level since 2006. New systems for processing biological data and ever faster and more affordable genome research have given companies a technological boost in recent years.
However, the increasing willingness to invest does not apply to personnel costs, which are expected to rise less this year (-2.26 points to an index value of 92.52 points) than they did in 2012. Traditionally, small and medium-sized enterprises have outsourced expensive processes such as clinical research to specialised companies. Given tight budgets, it is likely that this trend will continue to increase.
In line with a longstanding trend, biotech companies’ positive evaluation of the current business situation rose once again in 2012 (+0.3 points to an index value of 96.49 points). This is the most positive value since the crisis year of 2008. However, companies are more cautious in their evaluation of the future business situation: this index value decreased by 1.37 points to 90.99 points.
The sector is increasingly critical of the political climate in Germany. The index value for this factor was 91.7 points (-2.05 points), the second lowest value since 2006. An ever smaller number of companies believe that the parameters will change in the future. Expectations of the future were also lower at 84.65 points (-3.28 points).
Peter Heinrich, Chairman of the Board of BIO Deutschland, summed up the survey findings as follows: “Although the financial crisis is not over yet, German biotech companies have reached a top technological position with their own products and innovative projects.”
Andreas Mietzsch, editor of |transkript, said: “The bioeconomy is taking on a concrete form although it is more an evolution than a revolution at the moment. Nonetheless, sustainable processes are slowly but steadily gaining acceptance. Industry’s interest in biotechnological expertise is greater than ever.”
Viola Bronsema, Managing Director of BIO Deutschland, commented: “German biotechnology companies are able to withstand the crisis. However, the political support promised by the government has yet to be seen.”
The individual index values were as follows:
- Current business situation: +0.3 points to 96.49 points
- Expectations of the future business situation: -1.37 points to 90.99 points
- R&D investment index: +2.35 points to 96.1 points
- Employment index: -2.26 points to 92.52 points
- Current political parameters: -2.05 points to 91.7 points
- Future political parameters: -3.28 points to 84.65 points
Evaluation of the current business situation has improved slightly (n=142)
- There was only a slight improvement in comparison with 2011. However, this index value has constantly risen since the crisis year of 2008.
- Almost 95 % regard their situation as good or satisfactory
Evaluation of the future business situation is more pessimistic (n=142)
- 8.5 % – exactly the same amount as in 2011 – regard their future business situation as less positive.
- Although over 44% see their future business situation as more positive than their current situation, this is almost 4 % less than last year (2011: 48 %).
Fewer new jobs will be created (n=142)
- The number of people employed will increase, albeit not to the same extent as in 2011. Almost 55 % of the companies surveyed want to create new jobs (2011: almost 60 %).
- Over 6 % want to cut jobs (2011: 4 %), while almost 39 % (just under 1 % more than in 2011) do not want to make any changes in this area.
The willingness to invest in R&D will rise (n=139)
- 54 % will invest the same amount as before (2011: 56 %)
- The number of companies that plan on increasing their R&D expenditure has risen from 40 % to almost 44 %.
- Only just over 2 % want to reduce their R&D expenditure (2011: over 4 %)
Evaluation of the political climate has continued to deteriorate (n=139)
- 18 % (2011: 15 %) regard the political climate as bad. In 2011, almost 27 % of the companies surveyed regarded the climate as good, but this has now fallen to just below 25 %.
- Although over 80 % regard the political climate as satisfactory or good, the overall evaluation deteriorated in comparison with 2011. The optimism generated by the general election in 2009 has now vanished.
Further decline in expectations of the future political climate (n=137)
- As in 2011, 60% believe that nothing will change on the political level – only 40% felt this way in 2006 when the first survey was conducted.
- Indeed, almost 15% believe that the situation will deteriorate.