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Business Observer Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2013 7 years ago

Private companies in 'pretty good shape'

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Privately held companies nationwide are in a schizophrenic mood, according to the latest survey from financial data firm Sageworks.

Privately held companies nationwide are in a schizophrenic mood, according to the latest survey from financial data firm Sageworks.

On one side the net profit margin at private businesses nearly doubled year-over-year in January, from 4.6% in January 2012 to 8.1% this year. But the percentage of sales growth slowed somewhat in January compared with January 2012. According to Sageworks, companies saw sales increase by 9% in January, slightly down from a growth rate of 10.2% in January 2012.

Another downward trend that contrasts the profit increase is the amount of days accounts receivables have gone unpaid. That figure rose more than a week year-over-year, from 37.9 in January 2012 to 45.3 this past year. The days accounts receivables have gone unpaid stood at 46 in December.

Raleigh, N.C.-Sageworks analyzes more than 1,000 financial statements in a variety of industries and locations for its monthly survey. This latest one, released in early March, shows credit-related metrics have improved over the past year — despite the sales drop.

Taken all together, Sageworks analyst Libby Bierman says the report is positive. “While the sequester's impact on businesses remains to be seen,” Bierman says in a release, “the good news is that private companies are in pretty good shape now.”

This article has been updated to reflect that companies did not see a decline in year-over-year sales in January, but just a slower rate of growth.

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