With the 18 incorporations produced in the last year, there are now 182 Alicante companies that belong to AEFA (Family Business Association) and only 24.2% participate in any Next Generation program financed with European funds; 33% do not do so, 3% are in the application process and a significant 39.4% would like to participate, but consider it “inaccessible due to lack of information and clarity.”

This is said by the result of a survey carried out among the companies associated with AEFA, a very relevant group in the province since such significant firms as Baleària, Actiu, Chocolates Valor, Grupo Soledad, La Española or Verne belong to it. All of them have participated in the annual Assembly held this week and in a survey on the current situation and their short-term forecasts.

It follows that just over half (51.5%) expect to increase their turnover in the current year, while 36.4% will remain the same and 12.1% believe it will decrease. 57.6% expect to maintain their current workforce, 39.4% plan to increase it and only 3% think it will decrease.

Two out of every three companies expect to increase their investment in Spain throughout 2024, 60% plan to dedicate the profits of the last year mainly to reinvestment, 15.2% to reduce their debt, 12.1% to the distribution of benefits and 12.1% made no benefits at all.

Regarding the impact of Artificial Intelligence in their sector, although only 3% think that it will not have it in the short and medium term, 72.7% recognize that they have not yet applied AI in their systems. And a quarter think that it already has an impact on their competition and a third believe that it will have it in less than a year.

To the question: What is the main challenge that your company faces in the next two years? 33.3% responded “generational change”, 21% “business size”, the same “digital transformation” and a 12% “maintain competitiveness in a context of rising prices.”

The survey also questioned the views of the associates regarding the political and economic situation of the Valencian Community and the State. Alicante businessmen rated the current regional political situation with a 3.91 out of 5, but only a 1.3 for the Spanish one. Likewise, they give the Valencian economic situation a comfortable pass (3.24), while they give a pass (1.94) to the economic situation in the country as a whole.

Almost half think that the economic situation will not change in 2024, but 30% think it will get worse and 21% think it will improve. Regarding their short-term concerns, the rise in production costs (raw materials, energy, labor costs) is the greatest, followed by inflation and high interest rates, and global wars and geopolitical conflicts.