2021 Survey of French mid-cap companies: “ETIs” are optimistic

Bpifrance Le Lab has recently released its last survey of French intermediate-sized companies. Here’s an overview.

In France, an ETI (Entreprise de Taille Intermédiaire, or Intermediate-sized companies) is “a company counting 250 to 4,999 employees, and a turnover which does not exceed 1.5 billion euros or a balance sheet total which does not exceed 2 billion euros”, according to Insee, the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. Bpifrance Le Lab releases each year its annual survey of ETI, 2021 marking the 11th one. Here’s a small overview.


French mid-caps expect a rebound of their activities

2021 is a year for optimism, according to the survey. Most of them thus expect to see their revenues increase this year. 60% even think that their activities will be back to normal by the end of the year, and for 39% of them, it will be by the end of the summer. On the other side, 30% of French mid-caps foresee that their activities will get back to normal by 2022 or later.  Such an optimism is reflected on investments and recruitments: 4 mid-caps out of 5 plan to maintain their investment projects, and only 4% of French ETIs plan to cancel their hiring projects.  

When it comes to their strategy, digital transformation has become their priority as 60% of the surveyed Mid-caps want to accelerate it, resulting from the Covid-19 situation. Ecological transition and deployment of remote working follows as their second and third priorities. However, most of them do not feel concerned with reshoring their subsidiaries in other countries back to France.


International development is slowly recovering

As expected, French ETIs didn’t reach their objectives in terms of exportations in 2020. However, they are slowly recovering: one out of three mid-caps expect a stable or an increased activity in 2021 compared to the 2019 level. Moreover, the most internationalized companies are among those which experience the strongest rebound in investment intentions in 2021.

In 2020, despite the crisis, 23% of the surveyed mid-caps created at least one subsidiary in France or in another country, a steady proportion compared with 2019. This year, they are 15% to plan to open subsidiaries abroad or to acquire shareholdings in other countries’ companies, which represents a slight increase compared with 2020. But even if French midcaps slowly recover from the crisis, they stay careful as the coronavirus context remains an obstacle to their full international development.