As the broader U.S. economy plods along sluggishly and the dollar has sunk, American multi-national companies like IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) have seen international markets drive their growth.
However, as the combination of weakening European economies and the strengthening dollar eliminate this growth source, companies will have a difficult time meeting analysts estimates for 2009. For example…
For Accenture, Revenues from the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) increased 23% in U.S. dollars, but only 11% in constant currency. So even without constraints on demand, the revenue growth would be cut in half.
Both Accenture and IBM will see the growth contribution from these regions more than cut in half in the coming quarters at a time where the domestic business is continuing to languish.
In short, 2009 has the potential to be a tough year for multinationals. If the Euro/Dollar exchange rate holds constant at 1.545 (shown in the chart below), the year-over-year growth of the euro drops to 3.2% in the first quarter of 2009.