Execs See Euro Crisis as Chance to Beat Competition: Survey

Two-thirds of chief executives and chief financial officers from around the world view the euro zone crisis as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage over rivals, according to a survey by global consultancy firm Accenture.

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Around half (56 percent) of the 450 business leaders surveyed said the crisis was an opportunity for their companies to accelerate investment in areas such as outsourcing, supply changes and risk management.

"Our analysis of previous downturns is also relevant today: high performers in the upturns are those who have invested in the downturns," said Mark Spelman, Accenture's global head of strategy, in a press release about the report.

"Companies must balance measures to minimize costs today, with efforts to improve their longer term operational excellence and competitive advantage."

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they were taking "aggressive" measures to cut discretionary costs, with around half saying they had already cut staff numbers.

(Read More: Unemployment in the Euro Zone)

The euro zone contracted by 0.1 percent in the third quarter, after a 0.2 percent fall in the second quarter, according to the latest data from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). The single currency area has been mired in a debt crisis for over three years, which has led to a pullback in government and private spending and a jump in unemployment rates.

According to the survey, some companies have used the crisis to grow their market share, with 19 percent of respondents saying they had chosen to expand organically in the euro zone during the crisis and a further 23 percent saying were planning to do so immediately. Chinese executives were particularly eager to do so, with three-quarters having already expanded in the region or planning to do so shortly.

"The euro zone remains a good long-term bet and a significant number of high performing companies see opportunities for organic and inorganic growth," said Spelman.

(Read More: Euro Zone Not Doing badly, Says Think Tank)

"This is less a case of outside investors snapping up distressed assets, and more about companies sharpening their competitive edge and gaining market share on the back of their confidence in the European economy."

— By CNBC.com's Katy Barnato