PwC figures show profits growth slipping behind other Big Five firms

PwC, which posted global revenues up almost 20% last year, noted a particular slip in profits growth in the lucrative Europe/Middle East/Africa region which provided the greatest revenues last year.

However, net revenues grew by 18% to $7.48bn, making it the single largest profit generating region for the firm.

Once again, the South and Central America region provided the greatest growth opportunities, with profits, although small in comparison to the rest of the world, up by 19%.

But last year, the firm was able to report double-digit revenue increases across all service lines, but this year revenue generated by the core assurance and business advisory services line suffered, with growth only 9% on last year.

Regulatory problems in the US resulting from a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission into staff shareholdings in audit clients could make the issue of audit revenue even more difficult next year if clients decide to go elsewhere.

But the firm will be able to rely more heavily on revenues generated by business process outsourcing, which noted a record 82% lift on last year and presents a major growth opportunity as more international companies decide to outsource some of their core operations.

Chief executive officer James Schiro said that the firm would be concentrating on developing its e-business capabilities, but it will come up against stiff competition from other Big Five firms, many of which posted more impressive revenue growth figures for 1999.

These include Deloitte & Touche, which announced 21% growth in fee income while KPMG grew by 20% on the previous year.

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