Feature Finance — 12 February 2018

PwC in the Midlands has reported a buoyant period of deal activity over 2017, despite a headwind of political and economic uncertainty.

The firm’s Midlands Deals team has seen healthy activity, with c.40 deals completing to the value of c.£5 billion, supporting both private equity and corporate clients.  Although these deals have been across a range of industries in the region, the majority of transactions have been in the Industrial Products and Retail, Consumer and Leisure sectors, reflecting the in-depth cross sector experience of the team.

PwC has advised on some of the region’s major transactions, ending the year on a high with the sale of Riviera Travel by Phoenix to Silverfleet Capital and Forest Holidays, which was backed by LDC, to Phoenix.

Pictured; Matt Waddell, PwC Midlands Corporate Finance partner

Matt Waddell, PwC Midlands Corporate Finance partner, said:

“This is testament to the Midlands’ strong businesses, brands and local economy, which position the region to offer a healthy foundation for deal activity.

“Despite some of the economic challenges faced in 2017, Private Equity continued to provide a solid base for doing deals in the Midlands, both through selling good quality businesses, but also taking the opportunity to make new investments in quality management teams based in the region.

“We are also seeing our corporate clients looking to enhance their services and operations through strategic acquisitions. This includes an increasing number of businesses looking to invest in technology-enhanced opportunities, and we are supporting many clients to achieve this.”

Despite uncertainty around Brexit and pressures on supply chains from inflation, rising employment costs and cooling consumer spending, Matt Waddell says for many this is a window of opportunity.

He concluded:

“With the immediate uncertainty following the Brexit referendum now in the background, businesses see this as good a time as any to sell. However, the gradual burn of uncertainty around what a post-Brexit UK might look like and the possible impact on businesses will inevitably return at some point. However, we don’t expect  this to be a major deterrent in the next 12 months, so we expect deal activity to remain relatively buoyant.”

PwC Deals team across the Midlands has seen strong activity levels at the start of 2018, with the recent deal completion of Moolson Coors’ acquisition of Aspall Cyder Limited, assisting on the refinancing of Poundland, Bensons for Beds and Harveys with Davidson Kempner.  PwC also continues to support the Official Receiver as Liquidator of parts of the Carillion  group headquartered in Wolverhampton.

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