January 20, 2010 – Most turnaround professionals predict continued tough sledding in 2010 as businesses weighed down by debt hit rough patches and credit markets shun them. Nearly half (49 percent) the respondents to the Turnaround Management Association's distressed industries forecast think durable economic improvement is unlikely until at least the second half of 2010. About three out of 10 think the worst is over, but nearly 20 percent suggest the economy has yet to hit rock bottom. Three out of four respondents think the commercial real estate industry will fare the worst in 2010 as debt matures and lenders remain reluctant to refinance. Retail again garnered the second highest proportion of responses, 35 percent, down from 52 percent last year. Automotive, at the top of last year's predictions list for most troubled industries, slipped to third (31 percent). Technology appealed to nearly 30 percent of respondents as the industry most likely to improve in 2010, and energy and healthcare ranked nearly as high. Commercial banks, which ranked third among industries most likely to improve in 2009, slid to fourth place. Nearly all (92 percent) said economic conditions pose the greatest threat to struggling industries, and the most hard pressed will contend with too much debt compounded by lack of access to capital. The Chicago-based Turnaround Management Association has more than 9,000 members in 46 regional chapters who comprise a professional community of turnaround practitioners, attorneys, accountants, investors, lenders, venture capitalists, appraisers, liquidators, executive recruiters and consultants.
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