By Friedrich Geiger

BERLIN -- Most German companies don't expect the U.K.'s planned exit from the EU to have a major impact on their business, according to a survey published Thursday.

The finding could come as a disappointment to British officials who had hoped corporate pressure could persuade Germany to take an accommodating stance in the coming negotiations on Brexit.

Philip Hammond, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in Berlin this week that Britain and Germany, Europe's most dynamic economies, should strive to find a mutually beneficial Brexit deal in the interest of the entire region.

While many companies told the survey they expected exports to the U.K. to be affected by Brexit, only one in 10 saw a serious negative impact, according to the survey.

"The results of the survey call into question the view ... that strong political pressure from the German business community would ensure soft compromises to the benefit of the U.K.," said the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, which published the survey. The business-backed think tank polled almost 2,900 German companies.

"The [anticipated] effects of Brexit on all firms are too limited for such a conjecture," said the institute. On the contrary, fears that the EU could disintegrate if the U.K. obtained an overly generous deal dominated the considerations, "therefore, German businesses will not support any cherry-picking by the British government," according to the think tank.

Only 2% to 3% of companies surveyed saw strong negative consequences on their investment, employment, or a detrimental impact on their supply chain.

Some respondents even expect to benefit from diversion of business activities away from the U.K. Larger companies tend to see stronger positive or negative impact of Brexit than smaller ones.

Six out of 10 expected a "soft" Brexit -- an agreement that allows Britain to retain some access to the EU's single market. But the respondents said the shape of the final agreement -- with either strong or loose ties between the U.K. and the EU -- wouldn't have a big impact on their business.

For example, 9% said they expected a soft Brexit to have a significant impact on their exports to the U.K., with just 12% saying a hard Brexit, which would leave the U.K. outside the single market, would have such an impact.

Write to Friedrich Geiger at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 12, 2017 09:01 ET (14:01 GMT)

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