Investing in CEE: Inbound M&A report 2020/2021

17 March 2021

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Mergermarket and Mazars are pleased to present Investing in CEE: Inbound M&A report 2020/2021. This report offers an overview of investor activity into the CEE region in 2020, looking ahead to the challenges and opportunities for the coming months.
Total deal value in CEE rose by 11% in 2020, to a total of €49.2bn, even as the number of deals dropped by 16% compared to the previous year, to 648 transactions. This impressive performance, in spite of the global pandemic, highlights the enduring appeal of the region for investors interested in big-ticket deals.
Key highlights include:
  • CEE continues to attract a strong and steady flow of inbound investment. International buyers continue to be attracted to the region, accounting for 49% of total deal value – investing €23.9bn – in line with previous years. Meanwhile, cross-border transactions within the region grew to account for 13% of overall value, up from 6% in 2019 – the highest level in the past five years.
  • Private equity (PE) activity flourished amidst the pandemic. PE remained extremely active in 2020, with total disclosed buyout value in the region seeing a 40% year-on-year rise to €3.9bn. PE exits also fared well, with total disclosed value coming to €8.1bn, a 11% rise on 2019.
  • Four countries continue to dominate the market. The top four countries in deal value terms remained the same as in 2019 – Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria. The region’s biggest market, Russia, accounted for four of the year’s ten largest transactions. Meanwhile, the biggest deal of the year took place in Austria, the most affluent of the CEE markets. This deal saw Austrian oil company OMV increase its stake in petrochemicals company Borealis from 36% to 75% for €5.712bn.
  • Looking forward, CEE is well-placed to be one of the global centres for M&A. Having weathered 2020 so well, investors are likely to continue looking towards CEE as the global dealmaking environment stabilises.