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For a copy of the Siemens Financial Services whitepaper please e-mail: sarah.beckett@mayflowerpr.com

Releasing the Pressure

Siemens Financial Services study of IT and equipment investment, and alternative financing, reveals return to growth in 2004

LONDON, 6 April 2004 -- UK IT investment is predicted to grow by over five percent in 2004, with the popularity of lease finance increasing at an even faster rate, according to a new research report commissioned by Siemens Financial Services. UK commercial equipment investment, as a whole, was predicted to be marginally higher than IT investment this year.

The report reveals further evidence of corporate Britain’s recovery from the slow economic period 2000-2003, as well as corroborating the long-term growth of leasing penetration in UK business investment. The UK predictions for 2004 contrasted with those for Germany, Europe’s largest economy, where growth is only expected to pick up strongly from mid-year onwards.

Research for the report, entitled “Releasing the Pressure”, was conducted between December 2003 and February 2004, and surveyed leading finance providers, top global corporates, and a wide variety of third party sources. Key findings from the report are:-

· Following a period of economic difficulty, leasing continues to grow as an equipment financing tool amongst European companies, with companies eager to improve their liquidity through alternative lines of credit to bank finance

· IT leasing in the UK is expected to grow by 5.56% in 2004, a growth rate that is 0.31% ahead of expected IT investment. Commercial equipment leasing has shown less rapid growth (1.02%) than Germany since the millennium, but is expected to increase penetration during 2004, 0.74% ahead of equipment investment.

· Germany exhibits the strongest growth rate (2.59%) for equipment leasing penetration over the period 2000 – 2003, with leasing penetration growth picking up in the latter part of the year and into 2005.

· The most mature leasing market, the United States, shows expected 2004 equipment leasing growth in line with market increases, at 4.46%, with IT leasing only fractionally behind at 4.14%. This is all the more impressive given that the US had already moved into positive numbers in 2003, unlike the UK.

Jonathan Andrew, UK Managing Director, Siemens Financial Services, comments, “As an indicator of a steady recovery of UK plc, this report is encouraging news, although some way behind the IT investment rates predicted by certain analysts. Evidently, alternative forms of financing, such as leasing, are helping to underpin this investment growth for large and small businesses alike. The attractions of leasing are not simply cash flow friendly finance, but also tapping into additional lines of credit, as well as the flexibility of being able to upgrade equipment during the term of the lease.

“Since 2000, the proportion of UK business investment financed through leasing has risen by over one percent, and this reflects the long-term trend in leasing growth. The story is one of gradual, but inexorable take-up of the leasing option. Moreover, it is likely that further growth is yet to come. In the United States, a mature market for capital equipment leasing, lease finance represents almost a third of all equipment investment, whereas in the UK the proportion is just over a fifth and rising.”

(ends)

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Notes to editors
About Siemens Financial Services Limited

Siemens Financial Services Limited is a leading provider of funding solutions in the UK. With its headquarters in Harrow, Middlesex, the company has 215 employees in the UK. Siemens Financial Services offers a wide range of financing products and services to help customers acquire the capital assets needed to develop and grow their businesses. Financial solutions are provided direct to business equipment users or via flexible vendor or point of sale finance programmes to equipment suppliers and manufacturers.

Siemens Financial Services has expertise in funding business solutions in a wide variety of sectors including; education, information technology, telecommunications, digital imaging technology, vending, healthcare, medical professions, and legal and accountancy professions. Siemens Financial Services also provides financial arrangements for large corporate businesses across all sectors in the UK. Facilities are unique to each market and tailored to meet each customer’s individual needs. Financing options cover large through to small assets.

Siemens Financial Services Limited is part of the Siemens Financial Services (SFS) Group based in Munich. With 1,376 employees and a network across 30 countries, SFS specialises in innovative corporate financing and related risk management. SFS is an integral part of the multinational Siemens Group and is the international services provider for both corporate units of Siemens and a wide range of other organisations.

For further press information, please contact :
Cathy May or Sarah Beckett, Mayflower Public Relations
Tel : 020 7434 2090, cathy.may@mayflowerpr.com, sarah.beckett@mayflowerpr.com


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