Middle East’s buyout activity hits $8.6bn in first quarter

06 April 2010

Value of mergers and acquisitions more than doubles in quarter-on-quarter growth

The Middle East completed $8.6bn worth of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the first quarter of 2010, more than double the $3.6bn recorded in the last quarter of 2009.

Meanwhile, volume increased by almost a third quarter-on-quarter from 55 deals to 73, according to a report published on 4 April by Zephyr, the M&A database published by Belgium’s Bureau van Dijk (BvD).

Deals involving sales of minority stakes were the most important by both volume and value in the January to March period. A total of 42 deals worth $6.5bn involved minority stakes, accounting for a respective 58 and 75 per cent of the quarter’s total volume and value.

The quarter’s largest deal by value involved Kuwait Finance and Investment Company increasing its share in property developer Kuwait Real Estate Company to 5 per cent by acquiring just over 1 per cent.

This was the only transaction valued above $1bn during the period.

The second largest deal by value was worth $913m and involved EFG-Hermes Holdings selling a little over a fifth of Lebanon-based Bank Audi SAL - Audi Saradar Group.

There were just five private equity deals in the region in the three months to March 2010.

The only one with a known value was the $15m Cleantech deal targeting the UAE-based solar project developer Enviromena Power Systems.

Overall, the value of private equity deals plummeted by 98 per cent quarter-on-quarter from $603m to $15m, despite volume falling only 17 per cent in the same timeframe.

The sharp fall was because the level of activity in the fourth quarter of 2009 was particularly high – making the result in the first quarter of 2010 appear weaker.  

Geographically speaking, the UAE led the way in terms of volume with a total of 15 deals signed off for the three months, while Kuwait was the outright leader in value with its eight deals worth a total of $4.5bn, almost three times the value of second-placed Qatar.

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