MENA M&A market started the year 2015 on a positive note
M&A market

PRESS RELEASE: The MENA M&A market depicted a steady activity during 1Q2015, prolonging its 9-month positive performance. Despite depressed oil prices and the regional political turmoil which have resulted in a slower transaction market during last months, recent strength reflects the investor confidence in the MENA region’s long-term compelling economic growth story.

While the total number of completed deals has been on a general declining trend since 2009, the announced value of M&As reached $9 billion during 1Q15, reaching its median level of the last 6 years. Such trend is reinstating the large deal sizes witnessed during the pre-2008 years, although the gap remains large to bridge. The below graphs 1 & 2 depict the rising trend of the growing value of deals against the backdrop of declining number of deals.

From a geographic perspective, deal activity remains driven by a strong performance in GCC coupled with an ongoing pick-up in selected Arab Spring countries like Egypt and Morocco. In fact, the GCC region continues to account for the bulk of the regional deal flow, with 42% and 63% respectively of the announced value and the volume of completed deals during 1Q 2015. This is in line with the general trend witnessed during the years 2013 and 2014, in an indication of larger deals being closed outside the Arabian Gulf countries. All in all, larger ticket sizes are more common in the GCC, as opposed to a larger number of smaller deals in other MENA countries.

Lisa Wright, Zephyr director said: “After a recovery in Q4 2014 the opening three months of 2015 represent another improvement for the MENA region in terms of aggregate deal value. In all there were 120 deals worth a combined USD 9,000 million closed in Q1 2015. As is often the case, a small number of high value transactions accounted for the bulk of this activity. Three deals worth in excess of USD 2,000 million helped push Q1 higher to mark a second consecutive increase in value, once again proving that one or two large deals can often make all the difference when it comes to deciding whether a quarter’s results are disappointing or promising.”

Cyclical sectors continued to be a major focus for the acquirers. During 1Q2015, sectors like banks, construction and service companies continued to account for a substantial share of the regional completed M&As, prolonging the previous years’ trend.

In terms of deal attitude, minority acquisitions accounted for most of the number of the regional deals during 1Q2015, sustaining their lead over the past years relative to majority deals. This is in line with the general perception that regional investors are less reluctant to give up control of their business.

Foreign acquirers have remained one major component in the MENA M&A market. During 1Q2015, they have accounted for 53% of the number of completed deals, in line with the number witnessed during the past 5 years. These numbers reflect a confidence of global players in a large number of regional economies and their long-term fundamentals. In return, it offers some interesting exit options for local investors.

The preceding press release is by Bureau van Dijk and MENA Research Partners, and does not reflect the editorial policy of The Cairo Post.

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