PwC: 15-year record in acquisitions and mergers in 2023

In 2023 it was closed with most recorded at a depth of 15 years in the Greek market, according to the study results of Greece. The Greek companies attracted a total of EUR 8,4 billion in 2023 of which EUR 5,9 billion resulted from acquisitions and mergers (R&D), EUR 601 million related to corporate bond issues, EUR 345 million share capital increases covered by strategic investors and EUR 1.6 billion proceeds from privatisations (including divestments of the TIF), according to PwC. In 2023, 116 acquisitions and mergers were carried out. Of these, the five largest transactions touched on 2.2 billion euros. The higher value transaction was the acquisition of Enel SpA’s subsidiaries in Romania by PPC of EUR 1,240 million. The main sectoral feature was the concentration of the TMT industry (Telecommunications, SMEs and Technology) and the increase in trade in Energy and RES. Another feature of the year is the ongoing investment activity by Private Capital Companies (Private Equity). Specifically, 25% of the total value of transactions was made by Private Capital Companies (EUR 1.5 billion with 24 transactions involving investments in Greek companies). Over the last 10 years, there has been a strong interest in foreign investors on the Greek R&D market for the acquisition of Greek companies. From 2019 onwards there is an apparent trend of extroversion with increased value and number of outgoing R&Ds, a trend expected to continue over the next few years. Greek companies gave the Greek Stock Exchange a vote of confidence, making 5 IPOs worth 251.4m euros and issuing 2 corporate bonds totaling 601m euros (Mytilene SA and Ideal Holdings SA). According to PwC’s investigation, 2024 saw an unrestrained activity of R&D transactions compared to the previous year, while privatisations that can reach EUR 6 billion in transaction value are expected. George Makripidis, Partner and Head Corporate Finance of PwC Greece noted: “In 2023, most of the acquisitions and mergers of the last 15 years took place. This is a sign of stability and transformation in a number of branches of the Greek economy. The largest investment interest was directed to the telecommunications, media and technology sector with 30 transactions. Correspondingly, the Energy and RES industry has presented a strong interest, with 21 total acquisitions and mergers, clearly higher in value, confirming both domestic and international interest.” In 2023, Optima Bank, Trade Estates and Orilina Properties were introduced on the main market of the AAA, while DotSoft and MED companies on the alternative AAA market. The total value of the transactions concerned amounted to EUR 251,4 million compared to EUR 114,2 million in 2022 when two IPOs were made. Accordingly, more and smaller Share Capital Increases were carried out in 2023, with greater than Instacar (EUR 55 million). As regards the non-performing loan arm, within 2023 domestic financial institutions reduced the relevant indicator to 8.6% of all their loans, with the largest sale, under Sky code, having a book value of EUR 2.3 billion. Accordingly, for 2024 it is estimated that non-performing loans on the primary and secondary markets will exceed EUR 4 billion of book value. Regarding privatisation, in 2023 their value amounted to EUR 1.6 billion and this includes the transfer to UniCredit of the percentage held by the Financial Stability Fund to Alpha Bank, at a price of EUR 293,5 million, the EFSF agreement with Eurobank of EUR 93.7 million, as well as the sale of the share held by the EFSF to the National Bank of more than EUR 1 billion. At the same time, the transfer of Greek Shipyards to subsidiaries of G.Prokopios for a total price of 62.5m euros was completed, as well as the transfer of 67% of the Igoumenitsa Port Authority for a price of 84.2m euros. Within 2024, according to the estimates of the study of PwC Greece the value of Acquisitions and Mergers and privatisations is likely to touch – even exceed – the levels of 2023. Thanasis Panopoulos, Partner and head of the Department of Deals of PwC Greece, stressed that “the dynamics of Acquisitions and Mergers continue unabated as the first figures of 2024 show that the current year can be another year-record. At the same time, the fact that for the first time in a decade Greek investors concluded agreements of more than 3 billion euros with foreign companies confirms the extroversion and dynamics of the domestic economy. A spearhead is the energy sector and in particular RES, and a series of denationalisations of over EUR 6 billion is expected to be completed in 2024.” SOURCE: RES-BE