Deal activity on the up

Against a backdrop of local and national political upheaval and the hard/soft Brexit debate rumbling on, one could be forgiven for thinking that all of this uncertainty would have had a depressive effect on corporate finance activity. However, our experience over the past six months suggests that, far from battening down the hatches, most business owners are pressing ahead with their growth or realisation plans.

So far this year, we have successfully advised on nine completed transactions, with an aggregate value of nearly £70m. It is particularly encouraging to have been involved in a wide range of transaction types across a number of sectors and several cross-border deals. Notable examples include the sale of Nicholson Bass to Bradley Group; advising Flowtech Fluidpower plc on the acquisition of Cork-headquartered Hi-Power; and the acquisition of the trade and assets of Woodland Products, a long-established manufacturer of wooden furniture, by Gola Wood Works Ltd.

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Although the political and economic discourse will undoubtedly continue to focus on the potential impact of Brexit and the seemingly perpetual state of chaos at Stormont, we believe there remains cause for optimism. Private equity funds continue to look for good quality investments in which to deploy their funds, a competitive capital gains tax environment makes a partial or complete sale an attractive option for many business owners and trade acquirers from outside Northern Ireland continue to view companies here as attractive acquisition targets.