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SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Many Australians will really have a merry Christmas as more companies forget the financial crisis this holiday season and splash out on year-end parties, according to a business forecast.
After falling sharply in 2008, corporate spending is expected to be on the up this Christmas, with business information analysts IBISWorld forecasting companies will spend over A$560 million ($513.3 million) on events -- an increase of 76 percent from last year.
The number of companies throwing Christmas parties is expected to increase to 92 percent this year, compared to just 67 percent in 2008, and the average spent per employee is set to rise from $75 to $105.
"As we look to 2010, many Australian companies are finding themselves in a much better position than projected," IBISWorld General Manager Robert Bryant said in a statement.
"And while 2008-09 saw corporate Australia slash costs, thus raising capital and expanding profitability, the looming upturn in the job market and need to retain skilled employees will see companies spend up on end-of-2009 events."
In 2008, the global financial crisis drove businesses all over the world to slash spending or cancel Christmas parties altogether.
But Australia's economy has done better than expected this year, with government stimulus packages, interest rate cuts and robust demand for mineral and energy commodities from a resurgent China helping the country to avoid recession.
($1=1.091 Australian Dollar)
Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Nick Macfie