Global Business and Economic Recovery Imminent in 2004

Global Business and Economic Recovery Imminent in 2004 Study reveals growth in corporate financing.

IT investment and IT leasing are predicted to grow in the U.S., the UK and Germany in 2004, but at widely differing rates, according to a new research report commissioned by Siemens Financial Services. In the UK, growth of more than five percent is expected, with leasing making substantial penetration gains. U.S. growth is also robust at just above four percent, following a growth period in 2003, when the UK was still experiencing modest decline. Germany's growth is more modest at a little over two percent, but this is expected to accelerate in the latter part of the year.

Herbert Lohneifl, CEO of Siemens Financial Services, comments, "As an indicator of sustained recovery, this report is encouraging news, although some way behind the IT investment rates predicted by certain analysts. Evidently, alternative forms of financing, such as leasing, are helping to underpin this investment growth for large and small businesses alike. The attractions of leasing are not simply cash-flow-friendly finance, but also tapping into additional lines of credit, as well as the flexibility of being able to upgrade equipment during the term of the lease."

"The pace of technology spending and recent pickup in leasing are solid signs of an overall rebound within the U.S. marketplace. The U.S., which has long been the most mature market for capital equipment leasing, has shown to be steady, which is a further sign that the overall business environment here is improving," adds William Zadrozny, president of Siemens Financial Services Inc.

U.S. IT investment is predicted to grow by more than four percent in 2004, with the popularity of lease finance increasing at a fractionally faster rate. U.S. commercial equipment investment, as a whole, was predicted to be in line with IT investment this year. The report reveals further evidence of corporate USA's continued recovery from the slow economic period 2000-2003, as well as corroborating sustained levels of leasing penetration in U.S. business investment. The U.S. IT investment growth predictions for 2004 were of the same order as the UK. However, this contrasted with figures for Germany, Europe's largest economy, where growth came in at just half the U.S. rate, and is only expected to pick up strongly from mid-year onward.

Research for the report, entitled "Releasing the Pressure," was conducted between December 2003 and February 2004, and surveyed leading finance providers, top global corporations, and a wide variety of third-party sources.

For more information, visit www.sfs.siemens.com. For a copy of the report, call Rory Mackin, Weber Shandwick, at 212-445-8414.

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