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Manufacturing leads the way in the North West

Manufacturing is the leading sector for North West private equity deals over the past three years, accounting for 25 per cent of transactions, according to research by Equistone Partners in the North.

Since January 2010, the region has completed 62 deals in manufacturing with a total value of GBP952m, out of a total of 246 private equity deals worth GBP5bn.

Technology, media and telecoms (TMT), a growing sector in the North West economy, accounted for 18 per cent of all private equity transactions in the region, with 45 deals worth a combined GBP424m. By contrast, only five per cent of deals in neighbouring Yorkshire were in TMT (six deals, worth GBP43m).

The North West’s buoyant business and financial services sector fuelled many deals in the region, making up 19 per cent of all private equity deals (46 buyouts worth GBP1.1bn). Equistone completed a significant deal in the oil and gas support services sector, acquiring a stake in Fircroft Engineering Services earlier this year in a deal worth GBP140m.

Other significant sectors in the past three years included R&D (nine per cent of North West deals, of 22 transactions worth GBP67m) and wholesale, retail and repair (10 per cent, or 25 deals worth GBP1.3bn).

The research by Equistone is based on data from Experian Corpfin.

Steve O’Hare, head of Equistone Partners in the North, says: “The North West private equity market has held out extremely well over the past three years, with manufacturing accounting for a considerable slice of all deals.

“It is interesting to see how TMT has been the subject of a significant number of transactions, and we would not be surprised to see that share of total investments increase over the next few years. The North West is strong in this developing sector and the businesses, often relatively young with high growth prospects, could be ideal for private equity investment to take them on to the next stage in their development.

“Public markets remain volatile and debt finance is difficult to come by. Against this background, private equity is well-placed to continue supporting management teams with their growth plans.”

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