South West corporate finance team worked on £1.3bn worth of deals last year

Andrew Killick

A Devon based professional services team say itadvised on £1.3bn worth of deals over the last 12 months.

The corporate finance team at PKF Francis Clark worked on deals across a range of sectors including energy and infrastructure, hospitality, tourism and leisure, financial services, healthcare, professional services, manufacturing, wholesale and technology, media and telecommunications.

The deals included the sale of Devon firm Golden Coast , the UK’s largest independent distributor of swimming pool and spa components and accessories, to the multinational Pollet Pool Group.

Another notable deal was the management buy-out of Rotamic Engineering Limited, an Exeter manufacturer of components used in aerospace, medical and scientific applications.

The firm has issued an annual review of the market which found that 79 per cent of professional advisers and funders say economic uncertainty is the biggest factor currently affecting the deals market.

And just over half of respondents expect deal activity in 2023 to be at the same level or above that seen in 2022.

Andrew Killick, head of corporate finance at PKF Francis Clark, said: “Our analysis of data collated by Experian shows a five per cent decline in deal volumes in the Southern region of the UK last year, while the national picture was broadly flat.

“It’s perhaps surprising that this decline wasn’t greater, given all the challenges of the past year, with decade-high interest rates, inflation exceeding 10 per cent and the war in Ukraine.

“The 1,751 deals completed in the Southern region still represented the second highest level of activity in the last decade, following a record year in 2021.

“The availability of all types of funding, cash on corporate balance sheets and the volume of professionals now embedded in the transaction marketplace have supported and encouraged entrepreneurs to do deals. Most professionals had a good year in 2022, with quite a number, including ourselves, having yet another record year in overall terms.”

He added: “Valuations and multiples remained robust. However, we are seeing growing divergence between sectors, with some facing a challenging outlook, particularly those in traditional retail and consumer markets.

“The reality is we are now in an era where change and uncertainty are the norm, and deal pricing and structuring may increasingly be designed to take into account uncertainties.”


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