Region is ‘perfect platform’ for international M&A – Deloitte

Region is ‘perfect platform’ for international M&A – Deloitte
DELOITTE corporate finance partner Aziz Ul-Haq says the International Festival for Business can act as a spur for further regional M&A.
X The Business Desk

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Deloitte Logo June 2014

Aziz Ul-Haq, Corporate Finance Partner Deloitte
Aziz Ul-Haq, Corporate Finance Partner at Deloitte

The North West currently occupies two of Europe’s strongest financial cities outside of London. Both Manchester and Liverpool offer a plethora of  opportunities for businesses to grow and connect with international markets.

With the International Festival for Business well underway, now is a great time to celebrate the region’s strengths, its links with international business and how our cities are leading the way with manufacturing and technology expertise.

Confidence is back, appetite to support corporate investment has improved and businesses are showing more willing to take risks. With that in mind, M&A is back on the agenda and the prospects for economic activity within the region will develop for the remainder of 2014.

Our latest CFO Survey indicated that 95 per cent of chief financial officers expect M&A activity to rise over the next coming months, with the majority seeing vast improvements from overseas investment. Not only are we seeing increased activity with emerging markets, but confidence is also rising in developed economies and established markets.

The US and Europe are at the core of corporate investment plans and our region is strengthening its links to adapt a more effective and efficient approach when attracting overseas interest.

We have seen ambitious management teams turning to the region’s professional services community to help them capitalise on global opportunities.

Earlier this year, we supported Thomas Cook following its £45m sale of Lancashire travel business Gold Medal to dnata, one of the world’s largest air service provider based in the Middle East. The deal meant that Thomas Cook could realise value for a non-core asset and provided dnata with greater access to the UK market to pursue its future plans for growth.

This transaction is a prime example of how professional services teams collaborate to ensure strategic overseas investment is brought to the UK.

In addition, Slater & Gordon, the Australian-listed law firm, confirmed its merger with Manchester-based Pannone earlier this year.

This was part of a series of acquisitions to support the firm’s growth and diversification strategy to enhance exposure across UK regional markets. Such exposure could not be achieved without connecting with businesses that already have an established network of clients and contacts in the UK.

Here in the North West, there is a strong appetite for strategic acquisitions and a willingness from companies to boost corporate spending, therefore, our region provides the perfect platform for international business and we expect this to be a major driver of the UK recovery.