Corporate deals soar to highest level in six years
Building and property firms do most business
A new survey shows that the number of corporate deals in Ireland rose to the highest level in six years in the first quarter of 2011, with companies in the building, construction and property sectors doing most transactions.
Research by NCB Corporate Finance found that 57 deals were recorded during the first three months of this year, up from 36 in the same period last year, a 58pc rise.
As well as a higher volume of deals, the survey found that the price of those transactions had also risen. It puts the total value of mergers and acquisition transactions during those three months at €921.6m, compared to €505m in the same period in 2010.
NCB Corporate Finance director Jonathan Simmons said the performance demonstrated a resilient improvement in quarterly deal volumes since the lows seen in mid-2009.
The building, construction and property sector accounted for 32pc of the total deals, with 18 transactions recorded.
The bulk of these deals were by cement group CRH, which undertook 13 acquisitions and investments at a total cost of €135m.
These included six acquisitions by its US materials business and a number of other acquisitions throughout Europe. The group also sold three businesses, raising €155m.
There were nine deals in the food sector that included Glanbia's acquisition of the US Bio-engineered Supplements and Nutrition group for €107m and Origin Enterprises' acquisition of United Agri Products for €43m.
In the industrial sector, DCC acquired Advent Data for €17m while Providence Resources sold its US oil and gas portfolio in the Gulf of Mexico to Dynamic Offshore resources for €15.5m.
Irish companies were mostly purchasing foreign businesses so far this year.
Other companies that completed acquisitions included Kerry Group, which took a 50pc stake in Ebi Cremica Food Coating for €5m and Headland Foods for an undisclosed amount.
Mr Simmons said the continued uncertainly regarding the outlook for the Irish economy in general has continued to impact on the mergers and acquisitions market.
"Despite the dip in total value in quarter one we remain upbeat that 2011 mergers and acquisition activity levels will broadly match, or exceed 2010 levels," he said, adding that financial services, food, information technology and the telecoms sectors will be the most active.