Foreign investors buy North West assets

FOREIGN investment in the region has hit £1bn so far this year, according to Deloitte’s Cross Border Deals Radar.

But the figures are skewed by the inclusion of a £430m property deal in August that saw the sale of MEPC’s Birchwood Park near Warrington and two other business parks in Glasgow and Basingstoke to funds managed by US firm, Oaktree Capital Management and German investor Patrizia Immobilien.

Other significant transactions include: the purchase of Eurocamp from Northwich-based Holidaybreak by France’s Homair Vacances in June; and the £86.4m acquisition of Macclesfield healthcare communications firm KnowledgePoint360 by Dublin-based UDG Healthcare.

Deloitte said the figures were 15% up on the same period last year. North West businesses have also been active overseas, completing 24 deals and ploughing over £2bn into assets abroad, although this number was dominated by Amec’s £1.95bn acquisition of Swiss conglomerate Foster Wheeler.

Andy Westbrook, partner at Deloitte in the North West, said: “As demonstrated by the latest figures, the North West remains a hugely attractive prospect for overseas investors. With enormous infrastructure projects like HS2 and Airport City set to further improve connectivity, it comes as little surprise to see the region’s international growth prospects continue to rise.

“In the current economic climate, the growth potential for businesses continues to be strong, with further inbound and outbound M&A investment expected in the region. The USA contributes almost 40 per cent of overseas activity and the wave of mergers and acquisitions is gaining momentum across Europe and Asia – sparking a surge in cross-border deals. Companies are clearly looking to overseas markets for expansion and big-ticket transactions are more commonplace after being almost entirely absent for the past five years.”

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