Findings of the survey of companies 2013/2014
The German biotechnology sector sees itself as well prepared for the coming year. Capital investments in German biotechnology companies have increased by 20 per cent. At the same time, the sector regards the current business situation more positively than it has done for many years. A clear positive trend has also emerged in the sector’s evaluation of the current and future political climate in Germany. There are signs that companies are hoping the new German government will implement the measures included in its coalition agreement to improve the financing situation. These were the findings of a survey by the biotechnology industry association, BIO Deutschland, in cooperation with the sector magazine |transkript. The survey findings are being presented at a press conference in Berlin today.
The survey revealed an overall positive trend. Five of the six indicators surveyed showed improvement over last year’s findings. Biotech companies are planning to hire more staff. For the first time in three years, the employment index value rose once again. This development is linked to the firms’ positive evaluation of the current business situation, which reached the highest level in six years. The surveyed companies also regarded the future business situation more positively than they did last year. Their evaluation of the current political climate overturned a longstanding trend, and is now at a similar level to that following the general election in Germany in 2009. The companies also regarded the future development of the business climate far more positively. According to the survey, their willingness to invest in research and development was the only index value to decline.
The findings have been supplemented by research by BIO Deutschland and |transkript. This showed that equity capital investments rose by 20 per cent in comparison with 2012 to around €360 million. Although no biotech companies were floated on the stock exchange in 2013, many shareholders enjoyed good returns on biotech investments. Only two of the twelve companies listed in Deutsche Börse’s Prime IG Biotech Index lost value; meanwhile, another two companies more than doubled in value.
Overall, the survey findings show that companies believe they are on the right track with their current business models, despite facing budget constraints. One reason for this belief is that biotechnology is becoming more important. For a long time now, biotechnology applications have not been restricted to the development of medicinal products, a field that is particularly dependent on capital. Instead, biotechnological processes are increasingly being used in traditional industries such as car manufacturing, chemicals and cosmetics. The bio-based products developed in these industries are reducing dependence on fossil resources such as oil, gas and coal, and thus helping to protect the climate and environment. Both the healthcare sector and the bioeconomy are mentioned several times in the German government’s coalition agreement. As a result, companies have high expectations of policymakers.
Peter Heinrich, Chairman of the Board of BIO Deutschland, summed up the survey findings as follows: “The lack of financial support for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany is still a big problem. In terms of venture capital and initial public offerings, companies also often enjoy better conditions in other countries. In the US in particular, this is currently boosting investments and creating a real biotech boom.”
Andreas Mietzsch, editor of |transkript, said: “Medical biotechnology continues to shape the sector. However, the use of biotechnological processes is increasing significantly in other industrial sectors. This development is important for competitiveness, jobs and sustainability – but it is rarely spectacular enough to generate a front-page splash.”
Viola Bronsema, Managing Director of BIO Deutschland, commented: “It is good that the overall atmosphere is positive in our sector. However, the reluctance to invest in research and development shows that trust in the new government first has to be consolidated.”
The individual index values were as follows:
- Current business situation: +2.64 points to 99.13 points
- Expectations of the future business situation: +1.13 points to 92.12 points
- R&D investment index: -3.05 points to 93.05 points
- Employment index: +2.80 points to 95.32 points
- Current political parameters: +5.61 points to 97.31 points
- Future political parameters: +4.00 points to 88.65 points
684 words / 4,564 characters
Evaluation of the current business situation has improved slightly (n=139)
- Best improvement since 2008
- Constant positive trend since the start of the financial crisis
- 95 per cent of the companies regard their situation as good or satisfactory
Evaluation of the future business situation has improved slightly (n=139)
- Index value at the same level as the previous year; increase of one point
- The beginning of a positive trend?
- Non-VC-based business models are working well; biotechnology is conquering other industrial segments
Signs of growth in employment (n=139)
- Increase of around three points in the index value
- The previous year’s level has been reached once again
- The growth in jobs seen in previous years is continuing
Willingness to invest has declined (n=138)
- Decrease of around three points in the index value
- Confirmation of the clear trend since 2010 (biotechnolgie.de)
- Companies are prioritising research projects due to the lack of capital
Evaluation of the political climate has improved significantly (n=136)
- Increase of just under six points in the index value
- Second highest value since 2006
- Hopes for the promises made by the new German government (central topic of capital)
Expectations of the future political climate have risen (n=134)
- Increase of around four points in the index value
- Hopes that the situation will improve for investors
- Opportunities to arise from the national and international implementation of the bioeconomy?
To date, BIO Deutschland and |transkript have conducted eight annual surveys of around 1,100 biotechnology companies and branch-specific service providers. 139 of them returned the questionnaire this year. The aim is to predict development in the present year, using the survey as a barometer of the atmosphere in the sector. The index values are calculated and determined by a method similar to that used by the IFO Institute. The values mainly represent the difference between positive and negative answers. The norm values are based on the results from 2006 (= 100%).