Access to finance underpins upbeat era of acquisitions

Improved access to finance is underpinning business optimism in Munster, fuelling increased M&A activity along with a rise in the number of businesses willing to invest to support their growth, according to Deloitte.

Business leaders attending Deloitte’s ‘Scaling for Growth’ event in the River Lee Hotel in Cork this week heard that the mergers and acquisitions market in Munster is expected to remain buoyant this year, with the availability of funding options supporting ongoing transaction activity.

The keynote address by Ger O’Sullivan, chief financial officer of Fexco, outlined Fexco’s continuing growth, with over 20 acquisitions in the past decade and how having an agreed acquisition policy and strategy is key in providing the flexible platform to respond to opportunities in the market. The event also featured presentations by members of Deloitte’s financial advisory team.

The M&A landscape in Munster and the growth strategies available to businesses were among the main topics discussed by the 100+ attendees, who included business owners, CEOs and finance executives. They also discussed how management teams implement growth strategies, considerations relating to both acquiring and disposing of business interests, and why a best-in-class management team is vital for competing on an international stage.

“Despite the macroeconomic and political uncertainties, the level of activity in Munster remains encouraging, and the appetite for transactions continues to be strong,” said Ronan Murray, lead financial advisory partner with Deloitte in Munster.

“We have observed this through the work that we are doing with clients in the region as they increasingly look to us for M&A, debt and capital advisory and transaction services. Of course, clarity relating to the outcome of Brexit and whether the UK leaves the EU by way of a hard or soft exit will undoubtedly influence that prevailing optimism.”

Mr Murray said he believes that there is an energy and appetite in the business community in the region. Case in point is the level of construction activity. Recent and proposed developments such as the Port of Cork, Navigation Square and Horgan’s Quay in Cork, and the Gardens International development in Limerick, as well as the expected investments in infrastructure (M20 and N22) announced as part of the Ireland 2040 plan, indicate that our regional cities are quickly becoming a viable alternative to businesses outside of Dublin.

“At Deloitte, we see first-hand, the talent, drive and ambition that is present in companies in the Munster region,” said Mr Murray. “This is apparent not only through the projects that we are working with them on, but also through the strong Munster representation in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies network.

“What’s more, the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 ranking, which celebrates innovation and entrepreneurship amongst indigenous technology companies, is equally stocked with exceptional Munster companies. Last year, it was great to see i3PT (Cork), DesignPro (Limerick) and Mobacar (Kerry) joining an illustrious list of Munster and national companies in the winning enclosure for the first time.”

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