European companies are hoarding more than three times the cashthey held a decade ago as the region heads for a second year ofrecession, putting them at risk of losing out to U.S. rivalsboosting acquisitions and investment.

Cash holdings at the 265 European companies in the Stoxx Europe600 Index, excluding banks and insurers, to have reported 2012results totalled $475 billion at the end of last year, according todata compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with $136 billion in 2002and is 14 percent more than in 2011. Siemens AG, Vodafone Group Plcand Total SA are among nine companies that each held more than $10billion.

“Many European companies are taking a conservative view withrespect to their capital structure and keeping meaningful cashpositions,” said Francois-Xavier de Mallmann, head of Europeaninvestment banking services at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in London.“They find it challenging to predict the combined impact of higherunemployment, higher taxes and lower public spending on consumerdemand and on their top line.”

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