Marcel Ausloos

The relation between investments and business performance is a standard question. Due to the recent financial crisis, the effect of investments on the growth, productivity, and performance of companies after the crisis is of interest for managerial and planning purposes. Some study of a well defined case will not only bring some quantitative measure, but also may lead to further discussion. A priori, one expects some positive correlation. What are the findings, – a posteriori? Thus, a search is implemented for finding correlations between relevant variables, pertaining to i investment implemented before a crisis, and those measuring companies performance thereafter. The case of SME on the Italian STAR market is studied. Practically, the indicators, representing: the level of investments are (1) total intangible assets (excluding goodwill) and (2) total tangible assets. The financial/economic indicators representing business performance, defining “growth”, are (3) sales variations, (4) total assets variations, (5) labour” variations; for “profitability”, one considers (6) returns on investments and (7) returns on sales; finally for “productivity” the measures are (8) asset turnover and (9) sales/employee. The data distributions are statistically analyzed and relevant histograms presented.

It is argued that the outlier companies are those giving a better view of the success or failure of the investment strategies. It is found that the outlier companies with positive performance are those with the lowest TTA, the outlier with negative performance has also a low TTA, but the company which did not increase its TTA, before the crisis, becomes “negative outlier”. It is concluded that extreme performance forecasted from investment strategies, for SMEs, at time of financial crisis, there is no question: it is “To be, – Not to do”. Thus the findings are not those a priori expected.