North Sea M&A activity fuelling Scottish rise

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A SURGE in oil and gas deals helped mid-market corporate activity in Scotland jump 80 per cent in value last year, according to LDC.

The private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group published its UK mid-market barometer report yesterday showing 12 deals totalling £225 million north of the Border in 2012. That compares to the previous year’s ten buyouts worth £124m.

It noted that oil and gas was once again the dominant sector.

The barometer shows that the wider UK market experienced a contrasting year, with a positive first six months followed by a slower second half.

A re-invigorated London market compensated for flat activity in other parts of the UK and helped take the total number of deals in the year to 203, up from 190 in 2011. Deal values also increased, up from £5.8bn to £8.8bn across the UK.

Nigel Moss, managing director LDC Scotland, said the recent resurgence in London should have a knock on effect elsewhere in 2013.

He said: “That is now three years of some stability in Scotland and the fact that London bounced back last year bodes well for the rest of the country.

“M&A in Scotland has been subdued for the past three years, but there is opportunity for some hard work to make up for those lean times. We certainly feel that now is the time to be more active and seek out investments from the latent demand which is out there.”

With few signs of an economic recovery of real strength this year, the Scottish market for mergers and acquisitions is likely to continue to be dominated by the oil industry.