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August 11, 2008

TMT: The two-speed investment category

By Peter Kirwan MM blog

I guess we should be grateful for accountants who are optimistic under the current circumstances. They’re a rare breed.

Among them is BDO Stoy Hayward, which has just sent me a news release entitled: “Technology, media and telecoms companies can see the light at the end of the credit crunch tunnel”.

The mixed metaphor deserves to be preserved for posterity. But here’s the nub of the argument, underpinned by research among an unspecified number of CFOs at TMT companies:

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of TMT companies are forecasting growth of more than 20 per cent over the next three years, and almost than two-thirds (62 per cent) are forecasting growth of more than 10 per cent.

In addition, an overwhelming majority of CFOs (80 per cent) are confident that their companies will hit their revenue targets for growth over the next three years.

Sounds reassuring, doesn’t it? And there’s more:

While the figures have shown that two thirds (60 per cent) of companies have found that the credit crunch has harmed their ability to raise capital, three quarters (75 per cent) are maintaining that it remains easy or very easy for their company to gain access to the funding it may need to operate effectively.

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Something about this research makes me think that BDO Stoy Hayward’s sample includes more CFOs from T Companies (technology and telecoms) than from M Companies (media).

Thus far, T Companies — the ones that aren’t dependent on advertising — are having a fairly good recession. But as any fule no, life is very different for M Companies.

To the best of my knowledge, the TMT category was invented by investment bankers during the original dot.com boom. By associating old-school media companies with racy dot.coms in the minds of business journalists and investors, the category was intended to provide a fillip to the share prices of the former.

Of course, that’s a rather cynical view. But regardless of the reasons for its invention, the TMT category these days is looking about as unified as the United Kingdom. Whether we’ll still be talking about the sector as a unified whole in a few years’ time remains to be seen.

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