Corporate Finance: Albia’s 2014 output

Gráfico alcistaTowards the end of 2014 there was much talk in the media regarding the eagerly anticipated economic upturn, a notion supported by the forecast 2% growth in GDP and a marked increase in consumer spending and domestic demand, all of which point to a significant improvement in 2015. Worryingly, however, our neighbouring countries, and specifically Europe’s growth engines, remain in the doldrums, a factor which, together with the political uncertainties in peripheral countries and the risk of deflation, may hinder the process of economic recovery. As a result, the return of growth in industrial goods and investment, on which our SMEs largely depend, is delayed.

Against this backdrop, M&A activity has picked up and as a result, supported by greater liquidity in the financing markets, some transactions that had fallen by the wayside in recent years such as Buy Outs have re-emerged, while there has also been an increase in industrial deals. These are less opportunistic than in previous years and based more on strategic and market considerations, though the growth is not yet pronounced (an 8% increase compared with 2013). As with the economy generally, this growth was concentrated in major corporations (transacted volume increased by 54% compared with 2013), though it should also encompass SMEs in 2015.

In addition to overall trends and the return of industrial deals, the various managers operating in our country have also raised significant funds (over €3 billion) while the major international managers have also arrived on the scene. This doubtless guarantees a significant flow of funds into businesses and will therefore boost M&A activity in 2015.

Meanwhile, ICO Funds have boosted fund-raising for investment in SMEs, which in turn should fuel investment in industrial SMEs, a sector that financial investors have not found especially appealing in recent years.

In this context, Albia Capital Partners, as communicated throughout the year, continued to operate at a similar pace to 2013 (6 transactions) but with two notable changes: first, the recovery of industrial investment and of the Buy Out, and second, the marked increase in the number of completed transactions, which stands at over 100%.

Of the completed transactions, especially noteworthy are the MBO of Burgy Sped, acquired from the Austrian multinational Rail Cargo Wagon, three purely industrial deals – the purchases of Iberica de Sales by Minersa and of Talleres Guibe by Grupo Goizper and the takeover of TTT ejes by Bascotecnia -, Grupo Metal’s incorporation of a financial partner and finally, the acquisition of assets in a bankruptcy liquidation.

In 2014 we also noted a sharp rise in demand for strategic advisory, corporate valuation and investment project services, which always points to M&A activity, and growing, albeit still incipient, business dynamism.

Accordingly, we expect to see robust M&A activity in 2015, with the buoyancy of markets fostering and facilitating strategic and industrial transactions and the large volume of funds raised providing financing for investment projects, geographic expansion and acquisition-led growth.

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