The year that leaves us has not been an exercise of great corporate joys in the Old Continent. The shrapnel of uncertainty propelled by Trump's trade war, the emerging alarm, the deceleration of the Eurozone and the uncertain post-Brexit scenario outlined a panorama that invited prudence. A complex context that in Spain, also punctuated by political turmoil, was especially noticeable in the stock markets. Only five OPV they materialized in the national parks. Waiting for a better moment remained stellar operations like those of Cepsa, Via Célere, Haya Real Estate, the old Cortefiel (now renamed Tendam) or the energy company Cox Energy. Nor has it been an exceptional exercise for mergers and acquisitions, although our country was one of the European markets (curiously together with the United Kingdom) that clearly took its head amid general slackness.
And it seems that the dance will continue to be quite lively in the coming months. According to the figures included in the Global Transaction Forecast report, prepared by Baker McKenzie in collaboration with Oxford Economics, in Spain they were carried out 773 operations in the year that is about to conclude, seven less than in 2017. However, in value almost double those of the previous year: 68.9 billion dollars against 37,700. Transnational operations gained ground, amounting to 61,100 million, although in terms of number of movements the distribution is almost equitable between national (384) and cross-border (389) operations.
Rebound in number
The forecast of the report is that mergers and acquisitions will grow 10% in the year that come in our country, reaching 854 movements. Despite the fact that the global value will fall to 41,000 million, the forecast points out that the national market will gain momentum and will almost double the value of its movements, from 7,700 million to 13,600. However, Baker Mckenzie's forecasts point to a notable decrease in the value of the movements of international investors focused on Spanish companies, which will drop to 28,000 million, "after an exceptional year". Although announced at the end of June, this week one of the main operations of the course was formalized, the sale of the 80% of the real estate business of CaixaBank to the North American fund Lone Star for an initial price of 3,974 million euros. In May, Repsol also completed its exit from the GasNatural Fenosa capital with the closing of the sale of its 20% stake in the gas company to Rioja Bidco Shareholdings, a company controlled by different funds.
According Enrique Carretero and Javier Menor, M & A partners of Baker McKenzie, "in 2019 we will see an even greater impulse both in mergers and acquisitions and -particularly- in IPOs in our country. Spanish economic growth will continue to be consistent, domestic transaction activity will continue and even increase (with a strong role of venture capital), there will continue to be interest from investors outside our borders by Spanish companies and, if the context is favorable, we will attend relevant debuts in the parks, including some significant ones that had to be postponed in 2018. »
Carretero and Menor believe that Spanish companies will also be very active in the exploration of operations beyond our borders. «Although Spain continues to be the target of large international investors, It must be taken into account that Spanish companies continue to give rhythm to their operations abroad. Our country has giants that will continue to strengthen abroad and with medium-sized companies that are increasingly internationalizing their business, "they say.
Jorge Riopérez partner of Corporate Finance of KPMG Spain and responsible for M & A in EMA, agrees that "the year 2018 has been a positive year for the market of M & A in Spain and in 2019 we expect the trend to continue thanks to the good growth expectations of Spanish companies, the growing appetite of foreign investors and a liquidity environment where we see venture capital funds as a dynamic actor in the vast majority of sectors and new financing alternatives for growing operations and coexisting with more traditional financing ».
Riopérez believes that there will be no major changes in the sectors that will receive the focus of corporate dance. "Among the most active sectors in 2018, the industrial, health and consumer sectors stand out, as well as the regulated, energy and financial sectors. We hope that a large part of these same sectors will continue to be protagonists in 2019, "he concludes.
At the global level, the estimate suggests that 2018 will close with a value in mergers and acquisitions around the 3.1 billion dollars. Baker Mckenzie predicts that by 2019 a maximum of $ 2.9 trillion will be reached, with gradual moderation of the transaction value to $ 2.3 trillion in 2020.
The consultant anticipates another solid year in USA and renewed doubts in Europe, although it will be the evolution of commercial tensions, the resolution of the Brexit and the cyclical slowdown that seems to become strong in the Eurozone, which will mark the definitive course of the course. But, in Spain, corporate dance music continues to sound good.