Review of deals in the South West for the first 9 months of 2017

Dominic BourquinPosted 16 January 2018 By Dominic Bourquin, Corporate Tax Partner In Corporate Finance

There have been 333 deals in the South West in the first 9 months of last year, a decline of 30% in comparison to the same period in 2016. Overall deal values declined by 7% to £4.3bn although the volume and values of larger deals (£100m +) bucked this downward trend. Despite this shift to larger deals, the South West is yet to break the £1bn individual deal value barrier this year.

The manufacturing industry remained the South West’s busiest sector with 91 transactions in 2017 so far, notwithstanding the 30% decline in activity from 131 transactions in 2016. The only sector to see an increase in both volume and value was financial services which was up 11% to 61 transactions worth £2.4bn.

2017 has seen a shift in transaction type with share issues eclipsing the volume of acquisitions. The largest deals so far in the South West were the flotation of BioPharma Credit PLC in Exeter which raised almost £613m via an initial public offering, and a rights issue by Wimborne based Cobham PLC which raised £512m. The largest acquisition was one of two made by Spirax-Sarco Engineering PLC this year. The Cheltenham based company purchased Chromalox Inc in a deal worth £323m and German company, Gestra AG for £161m.

MHA Monahans deals

2017 has been a busy year for MHA Monahans corporate finance team, who have assisted with a number of private company sales, the largest being the sale of one of the world’s leading international brand design agencies, Design Bridge Ltd, to WPP PLC. MHA Monahans gave accountancy and tax advice to the shareholders of Design Bridge Ltd and were assisted by national association partner, MHA MacIntyre Hudson.

Mike Hawkins, Group Finance Director of Design Bridge Ltd commented, “We were keen to secure the support of advisers we knew and trusted, understood owner managed businesses, and critically who knew the Agency when launching into the transaction process. MHA Monahans has been Design Bridge’s auditor for many years and combined forces seamlessly with MHA MacIntyre Hudson’s transactions team. Together they really grasped the detail of the transaction and provided invaluable support and advice to assist the shareholders to maximise deal value.”

In the same sector, MHA Monahans were lead advisors in the sale of a design, print and fulfilment company to one of the UK’s largest display print producers. The summer was spent advising the shareholder of a mining company on a sale to a quarry group and other deals included the sale of Wyvern Schooltours Ltd to Halsbury Travel Ltd, a respected independent schools tour operator and the sale of WG Chaffin & Company Ltd to RD Johns Ltd, a family owned foodservice company.

To discuss this or anything else, please contact Dominic Bourquin on 01225 472800 or send him an email.

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