Thanks to its strong fundamentals, the CEE region continued to attract international investments, doing quite well in comparison with other emerging markets. This publication offers an overview of the inbound M&A activity in the CEE region throughout 2020 and looks ahead to the opportunities and challenges in the coming months.
- The M&A market performance in the CEE region in 2020 was solid. Even as volume dropped by 16% – to a total of 648 transactions, down from 768 in 2019 – total disclosed deal value rose by 11% to €49.2bn.
- The four CEE countries with the highest deal values remained the same as in 2019 – Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria. M&A deals done by strategic or financial investors also took place in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and the Adria region.
- Private equity remained exceptionally active in 2020 – total disclosed buyout volume jumped up by 40% year-on-year to €3.9bn with 68 transactions, compared to 71 in 2019. Private equity exits fared even better, with total disclosed value coming to €8.1bn, a 11% rise on 2019 – although volumes dropped 10% to 55 deals.
- The region continued to attract a strong and steady flow of inbound investment from around the world, particularly Western Europe and North America; €23.9bn flowed in from outside of the region across 2020.
- The combination of competitive advantages makes the region attractive for investors: a higher degree of political, economic and judicial security than many emerging markets, access to the huge EU market, satisfactory returns on investments, a skilled, multilingual workforce and growing middle class.
- The technology sector had the highest number of inbound deals to the CEE region in 2020, hitting a total of 57 – up from 51 the year before. In terms of total deal value inbound to CEE, energy and utilities continued to be the top sector, having seen a total deal value of €9.1bn – a 20% rise year-on-year.
Outlook for the coming months
The perspectives for upcoming months are relatively positive. The outlook is for a rebound in 2021, supported by roll-out of vaccines and continued government support for economies. CEE is well-positioned to benefit from the post Covid-19 period, with industrial nearshoring, succession planning, PE funds activity and market consolidation in selected sectors being the main drivers of that trend.
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