Vast Majority Predict Recession, Split on the Return of IPO Market
Mixed Views on ESG, Allocation of Capital, but Consensus on Desire for In-Person Investor Meetings
NEW YORK – January 17th, 2023 – ICR, a leading strategic communications and advisory firm, today released results of a flash survey among participants at the 25th Anniversary ICR Conference, one of the largest growth company investment conferences of the year. ICR surveyed both company management teams as well as overall conference attendees, which included institutional investors, sell-side research analysts, investment bankers, and private equity professionals.
The vast majority of attendees (85%) expect the US economy to enter a recession in 2023. Of those expecting a recession, one-third (33%) believe it will begin in Q1 and about half (47%) believe it will begin in Q2. Most (34%) expect the recession to last 2-3 quarters, while 27% each expect it to last either 1-2 quarters or 3-4 quarters. Additionally, 10% expect it to last more than four quarters while just 2% expect it to last just one quarter.
Regarding the IPO market, which saw its worst year in more than 30 years in 2022, just over half of respondents (52.5%) expect it to be at least slightly better in 2023, while 47.5% expect it to be roughly the same. However, company management teams are more pessimistic, with just 39% expecting the IPO market to be at least slightly better, while 61% expect it to be roughly the same. Among non-management teams, 62% expect the IPO market to be at least slightly better, while 38% expect it to be roughly the same.
Related to ESG initiatives and messaging, nearly three in four management team attendees (73%) incorporate ESG into corporate announcements, with 32% saying they do so regularly. However, more than three-fourths (78%) are unprepared for the forthcoming SEC ruling on climate-related disclosers. Among non-management team attendees, the majority (65%) believe ESG disclosures are sometimes helpful in making investment decisions, while only 7% believe are always helpful. The remainder (28%) believe they are never helpful.
In terms of the best use of cash on a company’s balance sheet in 2023, most management team attendees believe it should be used to invest in the business (46% vs. 33% of non-management team attendees), while most non-management team attendees believe it should be used to pay down debt (34%, which was equal to management team respondents). Both groups also have similar views on using cash for M&A (14% for management teams, 16% for non-management teams), but differed on their views toward stock buybacks (1% for management teams, 11% for non-management teams).
Lastly, with the ICR Conference being held in-person for the first time since 2020, attendees were asked how they would prefer to conduct investor-management meetings in 2023. While just over half (51%) of non-management team attendees would prefer all meetings to be in person, slightly less management team attendees (38%) would prefer only in-person meetings, with 8% having a preference to be all virtual. A hybrid approach of both in-person and virtual meetings is preferred by 54% of management team attendees and 49% of non-management team attendees.
Established in 1998, ICR partners with its clients to execute strategic communications and advisory programs that achieve business goals, build awareness and credibility, and enhance long-term enterprise value. The firm’s highly-differentiated service model, which pairs capital markets veterans with senior communications professionals, brings deep sector knowledge and relationships to approximately 1,000 clients across more than 20 industry groups. ICR’s healthcare practice operates under the Westwicke brand (www.westwicke.com). Today, ICR is one of the largest and most experienced independent communications and advisory firms in North America, maintaining offices in New York, Norwalk, Boston, Baltimore and Beijing. Learn more at www.icrinc.com. Follow us on Twitter at @ICRPR.
Brian Ruby, ICR, 203-682-8268, firstname.lastname@example.org