Business Leaders' Forum

Market uncertainty will hinder M&A in 2016

By Noli Dinkovski contact

- Last updated on GMT

Wild: 'Rationalisation is necessary, but who's got the will to do it?'
Wild: 'Rationalisation is necessary, but who's got the will to do it?'

Related tags: Uk food manufacturing, Want

Market conditions may not be favourable for food and drink mergers and acquisitions (M&A) this year, despite the need for further consolidation in the sector, a leading analyst has claimed.

“It has been a tough period for the food industry, so I think you have to have particular reasons for wanting to invest in UK food manufacturing,”​ Julian Wild, head of the food team at Rollits solicitors, told delegates at last month’s Business Leaders’ Forum, sponsored by legal firm DWF, plus ALcontrol Laboratories and RSA.

“There are sectors that need to be rationalised, but I don’t know who’s quite got the will to do it, because there’s a real dearth of UK trade buyers out there,”​ Wild added.

High appetite

In contrast, Mark Lynch, a partner at financial advisor Oghma Partners, said that while the appetite from investors was very high, the main obstacle was in finding companies that could “deliver cash flow and a decent dividend for the investors to want to put their money into”.

Meanwhile, Geoff Eaton, chairman of New England Seafood International, identified some “tremendous growth opportunities”,​ but he doubted there would be many new M&A deals in the year ahead because of uncertainty about the UK’s continued membership of the EU following the referendum.

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