2017 was a positive year for deals in the East of England despite Brexit uncertainty, a trend which appears likely to continue throughout 2018, according to Ian Waine, senior partner at Prettys solicitors, following a financial year in which the Firm’s corporate team saw increasing volumes of transactional work.
Although the total number of reported deal completions across the region was lower than for the previous year, last year’s total remained well above the average yearly deal count since 2009, with SMEs leading the field in terms of the number of acquisitions completed.
Ian Waine commented: “Whilst we have been involved in a number of transactions between UK based entities, the corporate team at Prettys has seen a noticeable rise in SME acquisitions by foreign buyers who want to get a toe-hold in the UK market and are taking advantage of the drop in Sterling to invest in quality businesses which offer localised services.”
The sectors in which transactions were completed include leisure services, high-end and specialist construction services as well as haulage and freight forwarding.
Commenting on the outlook for 2018/19, Ian Waine continued: “It is likely that the East of England will continue to attract international investment. The Netherlands, US and Ireland have been particularly active in the work which we have done.
“There are some challenges ahead. There remains some caution about possible adverse effects of Brexit and its effect on London as a financial centre while the challenges currently being experienced in the automotive sector and continued uncertainty on the high street demonstrate consumer caution.”
“Nevertheless, the overall outlook for the next year looks positive for businesses in the East of England and we have entered our new financial year with a substantial number of transactions in progress. As 2018 brings more clarity on Brexit, businesses will be able to understand and prepare for the opportunities after the UK leaves the EU.” concluded Ian Waine.
Prettys offers legal advice and support on a range of corporate issues including investment, acquisitions and business structuring, employment law and property.