Big jump in M&A activity as CRH and C&C lead way in €1.7bn deals

SIGNIFICANT transactions featuring the likes of CRH, C&C, Greenstar and Icon helped boost Irish merger/ acquisition (M&A) activity in the second quarter of the year, with 20 more deals than during the first three months of the year.

Some 55 deals were recorded during the second quarter of the year compared with 37 in the first quarter, according to the latest edition of NCB Stockbrokers’ M&A Tracker Survey published yesterday.

While activity during the three months was significantly boosted by 13 bolt-on acquisitions made by building materials giant, CRH; the €300m sale of C&C’s spirits and liqueurs division to William Grant & Sons; the €162m takeover of Greenstar’s UK division by Biffa Waste Management and Icon’s acquisition of Swiss group, Timaq Medical Imaging also played a part.

Indeed, the overall deal value for the quarter – which amounted to just shy of €1.7bn – was the highest for some time, with only the second quarter of 2008 coming close, with a value of €1.58bn boosted hugely by the merger of IAWS and Hiestand to form Aryzta.

Commenting on the findings, NCB Corporate Finance director, Jonathan Simmons, said: “The main points in relation to the current quarter’s survey are that for the third quarter in succession, deal volumes have remained above the low level of deals recorded in quarters two and three of 2009; acquisitions of distressed businesses/assets continue to occur and a number of large transactions – comparable with those of any previous quarter – have taken place.

“In particular, the continued level of around 40 deals a quarter is to be welcomed, and hopefully this level can be maintained throughout the second half of the year, supported by a number of factors. These include the de-leveraging of balance sheets, non-core asset disposals, further sales of distressed assets and foreign interest in Irish businesses which can act as a buffer against what is still a challenging environment, particularly for those transactions requiring debt funding,” he added.

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