Undeterred by COVID-19, dealmaking in the CEE region remained steady

The disruption caused by COVID-19 to CEE’s M&A market was short-lived as dealmaking returned to the fore in the second half of the year, according to Mazars.

Deal value in the CEE region rose by 11% to €49.2bn, compared to 2019, even as volume dropped by 16% to a total of 648 transactions.

When not including Russia, the region’s largest economy, recorded deal value figures in 2020 saw a 28% year-on-year increase.

International buyers continue to be attracted to the region, accounting for 49% of total deal value – investing €23.9bn – in line with previous years.

Fabrice Demarigny, global head of financial advisory at Mazars, highlights how ”on a global level, the CEE picture is one of stability. The region continues to attract a strong and steady flow of inbound investment from around the world.”

Private equity remained extremely active in 2020, with total disclosed buyouts in the region seeing a 40% year-on-year rise to €3.9bn.

Private equity exits also fared well, with total disclosed value coming to €8.1bn, an 11% rise in 2019.

Four countries continue to dominate the market

The top four countries in deal value terms remained the same as in 2019 – Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria.

The region’s biggest market, Russia, accounted for four of the year’s ten largest transactions.

Meanwhile, the biggest deal of the year took place in Austria, the most affluent of the CEE markets.

This deal saw Austrian oil company OMV increase its stake in petrochemicals company Borealis from 36% to 75% for €5.712bn.

The tech sector flourishes amidst the pandemic

The highest number of inbound deals to the CEE region were technology-based, hitting a total of 57 deals worth €2.5bn – a year-on-year rise of 12% by volume, and 34% by value.

In terms of inbound deal value, energy and utilities remained in the top spot, accounting for €9.1bn – a 20% rise year on year.

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