Eurostat, the European statistics office, predicts growth for the European economy in 2016. The European economy is growing mainly thanks to the increased consumer spending and is benefitting from persistent low oil prices. Favourable euro exchange rates and low interest rates are also contributing to economic growth.
However, there are also some sombre aspects, such as the uncertain economic circumstances outside the EU. Diminishing growth in China hangs like a threatening thunder cloud above the European market. Other uncertain factors for the global economy include the civil war in Syria and the international struggle against IS in Syria and Iraq.
We have therefore based this glimpse to the future on our own underlying economic value, and that is solid. We have demonstrated that our new financial policy is effective. We are cautiously optimistic and we are therefore working with a modest growth forecast. The primary task for 2016 is to systematically implement the plans we devised in 2015.
We do not expect any major fluctuations in staffing levels, mainly because the regions are already in place. The new organisation now needs time to settle and mature and this requires our management and staff to persevere; the initial signals from the new collaboration model are positive.
In addition to the practical collaboration models, we will be conducting a widely supported, internationally comparative, employee satisfaction survey intended to help us discover where we can make improvements for our staff and indirectly, how we can further improve our services and customer satisfaction.
It goes without saying that we keep a close eye on developments that influence the car parking market such as the growth of online sales, autonomous cars and car-sharing concepts.
Our results underline our conviction that the strategic direction Q-Park is following is indeed correct. Municipalities and business partners who wish to enter into long-term relationships with a parking service provider are looking for a reliable, financially sound party such as Q-Park. We are a sustainable partner in all respects for shareholders as well as other stakeholders. With our relentless drive to improve our operations and the return on our investments, we can only strengthen this position.