Welcome to the newest edition of the Wolf Theiss Corporate Monitor's M&A Spotlight on CEE/SEE
This year’s survey, and the content derived from it, is a major departure from previous years, 2020 representing a turning point not only for the region but the world. In collaboration with Mergermarket, we have carried out an in-depth survey of investors in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe ("CEE/SEE") to determine how the ongoing pandemic will impact M&A, how the region is likely to emerge and the factors that will shape M&A in the region for years to come.
Being higher growth than Western Europe, less hampered by public debt and with a number of governments having taken swift and decisive action in 2020, the CEE/SEE economy has withstood the effects of the pandemic more robustly than the rest of the continent.
M&A volume fell by 22%, matching other territories, but value has defied expectations by climbing during one of the most challenging years in living memory. The compelling characteristics that draw international investors to CEE/SEE have not only been brought to the fore by recent events, they have been amplified. Strong and consistent growth, attractive labour costs, a highly technically skilled workforce and the EU membership of many CEE/SEE countries is coupled with the fact that technology and software, a regional strength, has flourished in the past 12 months, with companies now reviewing supply chain arrangements and seeking alternatives to China and other Asian countries.
Through a quantitative survey and interviews with private equity and corporate dealmakers from a range of sectors, we have not only sought to determine current sentiment but also to explore the outlook for M&A across the region in 2021, including appetite for transactions within seven primary sectors.
Respondents are largely optimistic about the forthcoming months. A recovery in the global economy should kickstart CEE/SEE export markets, which were already buoyed by China and the wider Asia region's swift and determined handling of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the gap between a steadfast CEE/SEE and a Western Europe further fettered by its debt and weak growth is clearer than ever.
We hope you find value in the latest edition of the Wolf Theiss Corporate Monitor and are able to draw meaningful insights into one of the most compelling regional M&A markets available to investors.
Dora Gazi Kovacevic
Methodology: In Q4 2020, Mergermarket surveyed 150 senior-level executives about their experiences and outlook on M&A in the Central Eastern European region. Half of the respondents were based in the CEE region, while the other half were drawn from outside of the region. One third of respondents were from private equity firms, with the remainder comprised of corporate respondents.
All participants in the survey had made at least one acquisition in the CEE region over the past 12 months. The survey included a combination of qualitative and quantitative questions and all interviews were conducted over the telephone by appointment. Results were analysed and collated by Mergermarket and all responses are anonymised and presented in aggregate.
Explore key findings from this year's survey
M&A overview: Overcoming COVID-19 and hope for the future
Despite the pandemic, an economic downturn and restrictions on both the general public and dealmakers, deal value in 2020 in CEE/SEE increased year-on-year. And our exclusive survey reveals growing levels of optimism for the year ahead
Our survey reveals that dealmakers are cautiously optimistic about post-pandemic prospects for M&A in the region with new opportunities emerging. But challenges still lie aheadRead more
As and when the pandemic subsides, private equity and corporates will be in competition for the most prized assets in the region. But our survey reveals that their outlooks, attitudes and strategies are, at times, very differentRead more