Manufacturers in the south east of England see M&A boom thanks to interest from overseas buyers

Hayley Kirton
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There were 981 M&A deals involving UK manufacturers in 2015 (Source: Getty)

Manufacturers in the south east of England are attracting the attention of overseas investors, sparking a surge in M&A activity.

According to figures shown exclusively to City A.M. today by law firm Irwin Mitchell, which were based on analysis of data from Experian, M&A deals in the manufacturing sector grew by five per cent in 2015 to 981, up from 933 in 2014.

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of those deals involved a manufacturer based in the south east.

Of those target companies based in London or the south east, just under half (42 per cent) were being bid on by an overseas firm, up from a third (33 per cent) in 2014.

Read more: UK M&A at highest levels since 2007

"This is another indication of a buoyant M&A market in the south east, with activity at its highest level since 2007," said Edward Persse, corporate partner at Irwin Mitchell. "The level of interest from overseas capital in the region’s manufacturing sector replicates our experience of the market and is something that we expect will continue.

"The number of south east-based manufacturing companies targeting organisations for acquisition outside of the UK is also encouraging and demonstrates that many businesses in London and the wider region are reviewing their strategic options and are also prepared to look at cross border opportunities."

2015 was a strong year for M&A in general, with high-profile deals including the pharma industry's Pfizer and Allergan merger and drinks sector giant AB InBev's takeover of SABMiller.

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