Medium-sized firms 'optimistic' about overseas expansion

Map showing risk hotspots according to the BDO research

UK medium-sized firms are upbeat about the prospects for overseas expansion, a survey by accountants BDO suggests.

Some 78% of the 100 UK firms surveyed expected revenue from foreign ventures to grow over the next three years.

However, firms across the world are shunning eurozone hotspots like Spain and Greece, the same survey indicated.

The UK on the other hand was viewed favourably by foreign mid-cap firms, with 45% saying they planned to invest in the country.

Despite their optimism, almost a third of the UK respondents conceded that they had little choice about seeking opportunities abroad because business conditions in their home market were so tough.

It is the third year running that BDO has carried out the survey, which covered the chief financial officers at 1,050 firms in 14 countries, with revenues between $50m and $2bn (£30m-1.2bn).

Despite its positive ratings, the UK slipped one place down the rankings of BDO's favourite international investment destinations, according to the survey, to seventh spot, just behind Russia.

China and the US retained their top two spots, with Brazil ousting Germany from third spot.

While the large developing Bric countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China all scored highly, the troubled southern eurozone members were distinctly out of favour.

Spain was ranked as being more risky to invest in than Egypt, which has just experienced a largely peaceful revolution, while Greece was considered more risky than even Libya or Syria, the survey suggested.

Japan and France also fell further out of favour among the businesses questioned.

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