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New research by PwC shows that European banks are disposing of their unwanted portfolios at a record rate. In the first half of this year, transactions have been completed for portfolios with a face value of around €55 billion, an increase of 20% on the same period in 2014. As well as increased volumes, higher prices are being driven by continued demand from investors and favourable debt markets allowing investors to leverage many transactions.
In 2010, the gap between working capital levels of large corporations and small enterprises was only 7.6 percentage points. Over the following five years, this gap has widened to 10.6 percentage points. Whilst large corporates have improved their working capital performance, small enterprises have experienced a sharp deterioration. In the same comparison large companies were able to generate more cash from operations, partially driven by their lower working capital funding requirements. Small enterprises have to rely more on external debt to close their funding gap and combined with their comparatively higher interest rates, they are placed at a competitive disadvantage. Addressing their working capital inefficiencies could generate the cash required to break this cycle address the disadvantage.