KPMG in Ukraine has published its M&A Radar: Ukraine and the underlying message from this extensive research is that international investor confidence continues on its upward curve.
M&A volume grew by 29% to USD2.35 billion in 2019 and for the first time for three years, foreign investment exceeded domestic transaction value. Investment was highly concentrated, with the ten largest transactions in 2019 making up almost three quarters of total disclosed deal value. and just over half of total investment focused on the communications and media, and real estate and construction sectors. Although deal activity was spread more broadly, the real estate and construction, and agriculture sectors accounted for almost 40 per cent of the 80 transactions accounted in 2019.
The largest deal of the year by far, was the USD734 million acquisition of Vodafone Ukraine by Azerbaijan's Bakcell. This was also the 25th largest deal across the Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) region.
Other significant inbound deals focused on Ukraine’s key industries:
Domestic M&A totalled USD945 million, down 17 per cent on the previous year mainly due to a 40 per cent decline in the average disclosed transaction value to USD29 million, rather than a lack of domestic activity.
The biggest domestic deals of 2019 were concentrated in sectors vital to the national economy:
Historically transparency in Ukrainian M&A has been low with transaction values not disclosed for a large number of deals. From under 50 per cent in 2015-2018, transparency nudged up to 59 per cent in 2019 but remains far below the levels of transparency seen in Western Europe.
Positive Market Dynamics
The key influences on international investors’ involvement in Ukrainian M&A reflect the positive dynamics of the country’s economy, which has seen the currency stabilise, reductions in inflation and interest rates, successful issues of corporate and government bonds and on-going structural reform.
Said Peter Latos, Head of Advisory at KPMG Ukraine: “Ukrainian M&A recorded its third consecutive year of double-digit growth in 2019 and this demonstrates the confidence that international investors have in the longer term outlook for the country. The improving economic situation, financial stability provided by the policies of the National Bank of Ukraine, and actions by government in terms of changing laws on concessions and privatisation have all helped investor confidence. And although there is still work to be done to reassure investors, we expect continued double digit growth in 2020, supported by investment in infrastructure to help to sustain the growth in agriculture and food exports from Ukraine and particularly, further investment into related infrastructure, including seaports. KPMG has a long history in Ukraine, and we are proud to have played our part in supporting SMEs and major private and listed corporations in their development, and, as the government embarks on its programme of ambitious changes, we stand ready to help investors tackle their future challenges.”
* Our outlook was prepared before the dramatic acceleration of coronavirus cases outside of China and confirmation of a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. Given the fast-moving nature of the situation, we have not sought to update our outlook based on current events. If you have questions regarding the practicalities of undertaking M&A in Ukraine during the pandemic, please contact us.
KPMG’s research into the Ukrainian deal environment is fast becoming recognised as an essential must-have for investors considering both domestic and cross-border M&A with Ukrainian companies is available at: M&A Radar: Ukrainе.
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