In part one of an exclusive two part video interview – filmed at this year’s Food Manufacture Business Leaders’ Forum, sponsored by law firm DWF LLP – Black highlighted the continued investment in food and drink, in spite of less favourable predictions.
“There has been a reasonable level of continuity in the British food industry M&A activity levels in 2018 versus 2017, which might surprise some people, given there was a prophet of doom in 2016 that the world would come to an end,” said Black. “As we found in a whole number of spheres, continuity has been the order of the day.
‘Life will go on’
“If we look into the future, there are some short-term factors. There is a hiatus around Brexit, which is fast closing in over the next eight weeks, which has implications for businesses’ risk appetite – both at home and abroad. But whatever happens, life will go on and we expect deal activity to continue.”
While the appetite for M&As is still visible, there remains an issue in financing deals. This stemmed from a lack of sterling to leverage acquisitions. However, the UK would remain a very attractive market for investment, claimed Black.
‘Large food market’
“First of all, the UK is a very large food market,” he added. “Sixty five million people live here and they’re relatively affluent, therefore it’s a sizable source of food demand. It’s also a relatively advanced food market. We have world-leading food retailers in terms of systems and processes.
“There is a lot of innovation in terms of where the food industry is going, which makes it an interesting market to look at. There have been – and there will continue to be – trophy assets in that arena.”
Meanwhile, look out for the second part of this exclusive interview, as well as more coverage from this year’s Business Leaders’ Forum in next month’s issue of Food Manufacture magazine and online.
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