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Growth Down for Design Firms, 100 CFOs Say in Annual Survey

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Results for 2009 among 102 engineering firms monitored by an industry financial advisory firm showed a revenue decline for the first time in 20 years of annual tracking, says the survey’s sponsor, the Environmental Financial Consulting Group. Chief financial officers of the firms report that median revenue was down 2%. The decline compares to a 9.5% median revenue increase in the previous year. But design firms managed to hold profit margins steady, with earnings dipping only slightly to 10.8%, from 11% in 2008. CFOs also predict revenue will rise 4.5% this year. But changing times also have been a factor in rising levels of merger-and-acquisition activity this year, says EFCG Managing Director Andrej Avellini. Surveyed firms report a total of 340 M&A transactions in the past five years, he says.

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