524 M&A deals worth $55.2b recorded in Mena

Rising inflationary pressures, dampening economic demand and global market disruptions resulted in moderate growth in deal activity of six per cent year-on-year basis

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Domestic deals were the main driver of activity in the region, contributing 51 per cent and 33 per cent of the total M&A deal volume and value, respectively, over the nine-month period, according to the EY Mena M&A Insights report.
Domestic deals were the main driver of activity in the region, contributing 51 per cent and 33 per cent of the total M&A deal volume and value, respectively, over the nine-month period, according to the EY Mena M&A Insights report.

Published: Mon 14 Nov 2022, 4:26 PM

The Mena region witnessed 524 deals worth $55.2 billion during the first nine months of the year, according to the latest EY Mena M&A Insights report.

Rising inflationary pressures, dampening economic demand and global market disruptions resulted in moderate growth in deal activity of six per cent year-on-year basis while deal value slipped by 23 per cent over the same period last year.


According to the report, domestic deals were the main driver of activity in the region, contributing 51 per cent and 33 per cent of the total M&A deal volume and value, respectively, over the nine-month period.

M&A activity involving private equity (PE) or sovereign wealth funds (SWF) accounted for 35 per cent and 38 per cent of the total deal volume and value respectively across the nine months.


The report also disclosed that cross-border deals made up 49 per cent and 67 per cent of total volume and value respectively over the period. While government-related entity (GRE)-involved deals totaled $21 billion in 9M 2022, accounting for 38 per cent of the total disclosed deal value.

Brad Watson, EY Mena Strategy and Transactions Leader, said: “Although we are living in uncertain economic times, the Mena region continues to record higher M&A activity, fueled by expected economic growth through higher oil prices and an acceleration in business-friendly reforms. Technology is driving a large number of deals, reflecting the rising digital transformation across industries in the region.”

Top five Mena target countries

The UAE remained at the forefront of the Mena region, with 155 deals signed worth $17.2 billion in the first nine months of 2022. This was followed by Egypt with 99 deals worth $3.9 billion, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with 58 deals worth $3.4 billion, Morocco with 22 deals worth $1.9 billion and Oman, where 10 deals have been inked with a total value of $0.7 billion.

Overall top five sub-sectors in the Menaregion, by deal value, include transportation, real estate, consumer products, technology, and banking and capital markets.

Anil Menon, head of Mena M&A and ECM Leader, EY, said: “What is interesting from these latest results is the increasing M&A activity, not just emanating from traditional markets such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, but also from other countries across the Mena region, namely Egypt, Morocco, Qatar and Oman. Higher crude oil prices, combined with favourable regional government initiatives in attracting investments to the region and Mena investors looking for futuristic investment opportunities in foreign markets will be the major drivers of M&A activity in the region going forward.”

Domestic deals in the Mena region

Domestic M&A activity saw a slight dip of three per cent in first nine months of 2022 with 268 deals signed compared to 275 deals for the corresponding period last year. The value of deals also dropped by 48 per cent amounting to $18 billion compared to $34.6 billion in the opening nine months of 2021. Excluding the deal involving the acquisition of utilities and power assets of Aramco by Air Products and Chemicals Inc ($12 billion) in first nine months of 2021, deal value went down by 20 per cent in first nine months of 2022.

Egypt witnessed a surge of 37 per cent in domestic deal activity in terms of deal volume in first nine months of 2022. The Egyptian government’s decision to sell several state-owned industries to help its struggling economy has attracted Gulf investors into the region.

Over the nine-month period, Ghitha Holding agreed to acquire Tamween Management for $2.4 billion; Dubai Creek Harbour was acquired by Emaar Properties in a deal worth $2.042 billion; Q Holding acquired Reem Investments PJSC for $1.6 billion; Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund acquired a 16.8 per cent stake in Kingdom Holding Company for $1.5 billion; and International Holdings Company; Alpha Dhabi Holding acquired a 17 per cent stake in Aldar Properties for $1.452 billion.

Inbound deals to the Mena region

Acceleration in business-friendly reforms, rising oil prices and the easing of government travel restrictions resulted in higher inbound deal volume in the Mena region, with 119 deals in first nine months of 2022 compared with 105 deals in the corresponding period the previous year.

The UAE continued to be the favoured investment destination in first nine months of 2022 (62 deals worth $7.4 billion), supported by the reforms to strengthen its business environment, attract foreign investment, and incentivize companies to set up or expand their operations. The technology sector witnessed the highest deal activity in terms of deal volume and out of 37 technology deals, 23 deals were flowing into the UAE, reflecting the regional government’s appetite for digital transformation

USA-based entities are most active

Entities based in the United States of America (USA) led the deal activity in the region, in terms of volume, taking part in around 30 per cent of inbound activity with a particular focus on technology-related investments. Canada, however, took the top spot in value (four deals worth $5.7 billion), largely driven by the $5 billion deal signed in June by Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec to acquire a 22 per cent stake in Jebel Ali Free Zone, a 22 per ent stake in National Industries Park, and a 22 per cent stake in Jebel Ali Port.

The top five sub-sectors by deal value were: other transportation ($5 billion), power and utilities ($1.7 billion), technology ($1.5 billion), chemicals ($0.6 billion), and consumer products ($0.4 billion).

Outbound deals from the Mena region

In the opening nine months of 2022, the region saw 137 outbound deals, which amounted to $27.2 billion in comparison with 113 deals totalling $11.9 billion in first nine months of 2021. The UAE continues to witness the highest number of outbound deals, led by technology, professional firms and services, and real estate, which contributed to 43 per cent of the total outbound deal volume.

The UAE saw the largest outbound deal, signed in May, as Emirates Telecommunications Group Company acquired a 9.8 per cent stake in the UK’s Vodafone Group Plc in a deal worth $4.398 billion.

The top five outbound target subsectors by deal value were: telecommunications ($4.4 billion), power and utilities ($4.4 billion), media and entertainment ($3.5 billion), chemicals ($3.2 billion), and airlines ($2.2 billion).

The report by EY summarises and tracks announced M&A activity in the Mena market (with Mena being defined and limited to Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the UAE and Yemen). Transactions less than $5 million and a five per cent stake are not considered in the analysis.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

• Top five Mena target countries by deal value were UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Oman

• Domestic deals driving M&A activity in region, making up more than half of deal volume in first nine months of the year

• Deal activity fuelled by business-friendly reforms, rising oil prices and the easing of government travel restrictions

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com



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