Merger and acquisition activity grows 17.6%

Merger and acquisition activity grew by 17.6% during the second quarter of 2012, according to the latest NCB Corporate Finance M&A Tracker Survey.

In volume terms, this was the second busiest quarter — after the final three months of 2011 — since the end of 2008. The survey reported 60 deals completed in the quarter, which including 16 by CRH, and represents a 30% increase on the 46 deals completed in the same period last year.

The total value of the deals surveyed in the second quarter was €540m, a 43% increase on the €378m recorded in the same period last year but a decrease on the €792m recorded in the first quarter of 2012.

NCB corporate finance director Jonathan Simmons said: “Sectors that have experienced the most activity in the past 24 months, namely financial services, food services, and IT/telecoms, continued to see high levels of activity and we expect this to continue for the remainder of the year.”

Foreign acquisitions by Irish companies were prominent during the quarter, with 28 deals completed. This included 16 CRH transactions worth €240m.

However, a number of other Irish plcs were involved in transactions during the quarter.

DCC Healthcare acquired Vitamex Manufacturing for €7m, United Drug acquired Watermeadow Medical Ltd for €16.3m, Greencore acquired HC Schau & Son for €14m, and Accenture acquired Spanish-based Neo Metrics Analytics for an undisclosed amount.

With regard to sectors, CRH transactions resulted in the building, construction, and property sector recording the highest number of deals (19) during the quarter, accounting for 31.7% of the deal volume.

The remaining three acquisitions in the sector included Premier Forest Products buying Brooks Group, and Hevac Heatings’ acquisition of Tubs & Tiles and Heat Merchants.

The industrial sector recorded six deals with a disclosed deal value of €155m. Notable deals within the sector included AMP Capital Investors’ acquisition of Eco Wind Power for €150m.

The financial services sector recorded four deals worth €36m, including the €32m purchase of the NCB Group by Investec and SAI Global’s €4m acquisition of Global Trust Certification.

The food sector recorded four deals at a disclosed value of €14m, accounting for 2.6% of total deal value for the quarter.

The largest deal was Greencore’s €14m purchase of HC Schau & Son.

The most notable deals in the IT and& telecoms sector was Bloomberg’s acquisition of PolarLake and Network Recovery’s acquisition of Barlan.

Regarding media and publishing, the only disclosed deal value was that of Celtic Media Group’s €5.5m buyout from Dunfermline Press.

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