Firms Posted 4.3 Percent Rise in 2012 Profits, Reports Citi

Revenue growth of 3.6 percent in 2012 was largely driven by a push for collections in the fourth quarter. Revenue growth accelerated from the 1.7 percent result for the first nine months of 2012 vs. the same period of 2011. Demand growth during the fourth quarter played some part, reversing the trend we had seen during the first three quarters (when demand growth slowed and then went into a slight decline). However, at a full year demand growth rate of just 0.2 percent, this could hardly be enough to explain the full year revenue result. Part of the answer lies more in the focus firms placed on collections, particularly during the fourth quarter, as the collection cycle shortened by 2.1 percent in 2012 (vs. a lengthening of 1.2 percent seen in the third-quarter results).

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