A spate of takeover activity in the pharmaceutical sector pushed Irish-related acquisition values to a 20-year high in the first half of 2014 and saw the country account for nearly 18% of European merger activity, in value terms.
New merger and acquisition & figures from global information services company, Experian show that the volume of Irish-related deals grew by 18.5%, year-on-year, in the first half, with 147 transactions agreed or concluded.
While the volume growth was seen as “steady progress”, the rise in combined deal value — from just €14.8bn in the first half of 2013 to €97.4bn this year — ranked as the highest half-yearly total recorded in the Republic since Experian’s survey began in 1993.
According to Declan Murphy, commercial director at Experian Ireland, the new figures make welcome reading for Irish deal-makers.
“The first half of the year saw encouraging activity across a wide range of sectors and value segments — with pharmaceutical, IT and resource deals returning particularly strong results,” he added.
The two big pharma deals that drove first-half activity were Dublin firm, Actavis’s €18bn takeover of US company, Forest Laboratories and US firm, Medtronic’s agreed purchase of Dublin firm, Covidien for over €30bn.
The number of large deals — measured as being over €120m in value terms — grew by 83.3%, year-on-year, to 22.
Mid-market deals, or ones in the €12m-€120m price bracket, rose from 26 to 35. Meanwhile, there was a 63.2% increase in the number of small deals (with a value of less than €12m) to 31.
Every one of the three categories saw significant combined value increases, also.
Activity in the large deal category represented the busiest period in a decade.
In all, Ireland represented approximately 3.3% of the total volume of European merger and acquisition & activity during the first half of 2014 and accounted for 17.7% of total value.
The manufacturing sector represented more than 30% of all Irish-related deals in the first half, but still saw a 33% annualised decline in its volume of deals.
Offsetting this, transaction activity grew in areas like financial services, IT, mining and pharmaceuticals.
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