A sweet alternative option

AS INTEREST rates rise, the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) is becoming an increasingly attractive option for raising money - which means the country's dealmakers are set to end the year with a flurry of activity as firms investigate a listing.

Players keen on North Sea game

ALTHOUGH the price of oil has been up and down recently, the general feeling across the sector is that higher oil prices are inevitable.

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Big money injections a boost for life science

THE pipeline has been painfully slow, but the wait promises to be worth it. The life sciences industry is now officially in rude health as levels of revenue and investment soar. When big four accountancy firm Ernst & Young took the sector's temperature in its 2006 Global Biotechnology Report, it found revenues of publicly-traded biotech companies had topped $60 billion (£32bn) for the first time in the sector's 30-year history.

Search is on for entrepreneurial success story

ANDY Moorehouse, director of emerging business at Bank of Scotland Corporate argues that BoS is unique in having the only banking team in Scotland dedicated to new and high-growth emerging businesses. "For us, because we have a team dedicated to this area, who understand the requirements and the business of high-growth emerging businesses, early stage entrepreneurial companies are not perceived as high-risk businesses," he says.

Advisers: pensions no longer the deal breakers

WITH pension deficits now appearing on the balance sheet and treated as an unsecured creditor, final salary pension schemes are considered a core part of a business. Transaction advisers now appear to be viewing pensions as a pricing issue rather than a deal breaker.

Helping two parties to a joint celebration

ANYONE regularly involved in M&A activity will have often deliberated over the valuation of privately owned businesses. After all, valuations are used to facilitate change whether for succession, an exit route, merger or acquisition.

Avert merger disaster by ensuring all the pieces fit

SHAKING hands is the easy bit. The real challenge is getting the integration right and this is where many deals, big and small, go pear-shaped.

Player flushed with success

IF YOU'RE doing a deal in Scotland, then you should be shouting: "Get me David Leslie!" For the second year running Leslie has been voted Dealmaker of the Year by his peers in the industry.

Banks envisage good prospects as oil price eases

THE RBS Oil & Gas Index for September 2006 argues that the sharp decline in crude oil prices can be attributed to expectations of slower demand growth and rising interest rates. In addition, some of the geopolitical crises, such as Iran's nuclear enrichment programme and the armed conflict in Lebanon, have vanished from the headlines, at least for now.

Individual investors are spreading their wings

SCOTLAND'S angel investors are flying high. Growing numbers of high net-worth individuals are investing risk capital directly into early-stage businesses, encouraged by generous tax breaks and the promise of attractive returns.

Integrated finance is the real deal for growing businesses

M&A activity in the UK is on track for a bumper year in 2006. In the first nine months of the year, 1,847 UK companies worth $172.8 billion (£93.15bn) were the target of takeover approaches, according to Thomson Financial.

Plenty of money flying around as buy-outs come back into fashion

GOOD year so far for management buy-outs or bad year? Difficult to call, but the balance seems to be that it has been a good year, that MBOs are back in fashion because there is so much money looking for deals and so many advisers knocking at doors trying to engineer deals. There are, however, signs of reticence in Scotland.

Firms bound to be confused by new reporting

THERE is unanimous agreement among users of financial accounts, from pension fund managers to city analysts and corporate finance dealmakers, that when it comes to information about companies, more information is better than less.

A native cunning built on solid foundations

WITH his top management skills and eye for developing innovative funding and risk-sharing approaches, Keith Miller is your typical tycoon. So much so that the chief executive of construction giant Miller Group recently won the Ernst & Young Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2006.

Oil and gas industry provides platform for growth in Scottish transactions

IN MAY of this year a new company, Production Services Network, was formed in Aberdeen by seven directors who completed a $280 million (£150.9m) management buy out of the oil and gas support business of KBR Halliburton.

More Scottish outfits get cash out on the acquisition trail

LINCOLN-BASED Danwood Group, one of the UK's largest privately owned independent suppliers of office systems, earlier this month sold the subsidiary of Aberdeen-based GBP Telecom, which it bought in 2005.

More women keen to make their own way in business

THE numbers speak for themselves. About 20,500 new UK businesses were started by women in the first three months of 2006, up more than 30 per cent from 15,700 in the same quarter last year.

Bright display for private equity

IT HAS been a buoyant year for private equity deals in Scotland. There have been a number of high-profile transactions, demonstrating the ability of Scottish businesses and management teams to attract funds from home-grown, UK and international players. And two new funds raised by Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and Dunedin Capital Partners confirmed the high regard in which Scottish financial firms are held.

Hammering out an exit strategy

HAVING a strategy for selling a business is equally important to corporate giants as it is to family-run businesses. Dealmakers say many Scottish entrepreneurs spend lots of time and money building up their business to a highly successful level. Yet when it comes to selling the operation, many don't have an exit strategy.

Scots confidence up for a new year of opportunities

DEALMAKERS in Scotland have enjoyed a busy year, but as 2006 draws to a close the question being posed is: will this buoyancy continue in 2007?

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