Real estate sector with the largest number of mergers and acquisitions

Bartłomiej Zagrodnik – Walter Herz.
Bartłomiej Zagrodnik - Walter Herz.

In 2018, the largest number of mergers and acquisitions in Poland took place in the real estate, industrial, telecom and IT, commercial, retail, financial and insurance sectors

The continuous economic growth in our country fosters the development of the mergers and acquisitions market. According to Emerging Europe M&A 2018/2019 report, 323 transactions of this type with a total value of 6.5 billion euro were completed last year in Poland.

One of the most interesting one was the acquisition of 37 per cent of shares of the Czech company Unipetrol by Orlen Group for approximately PLN 4.2 billion, thanks to which Orlen became its sole owner. What is more, this year the Group is preparing a crucial transaction. After obtaining the approval of the European Commission, PKN Orlen plans to implement the procedure related to the acquisition of Lotos, which will allow our strategic company to become a major player on the European stage.

In addition, as part of the repolonization, which has already gone beyond the banking sector, PFR State Fund bought shares of domestic companies last year, taking over, among others, Pesa, PKL and the minority package in Solaris.

Bank consolidation

In the already mentioned banking sector, the consolidation process is visibly progressing. Last year, BNP Paribas finalized the takeover of Raiffeisen Bank Polska, Santander bank absorbed part of Deutsche Bank Polska, and Bank Millennium took over Euro Bank.

In 2018, we also witnessed many transactions on the food market. One example is the acquisition of entities operating within the Konspol group, specializing in the production and processing of poultry by the American company Cargill.

On the domestic M&A market, there are also more and more transactions concluded between entities dealing in on-line trade. In November last year, Polish distributor of electronic equipment merged with Pigu, its Lithuanian counterpart, creating Grupa Morele. In addition, Allegro invested in eBilet, a distributor of tickets for entertainment and cultural events. At the beginning of January 2019, a Nordic company Nets from the online payment industry also finalized the purchase of Dotpay /eCard payment service provider from the MCI fund for PLN 315 million.

Acquisitions of the smaller food chains

The largest transactions concluded in 2018 include the call initiated by the Swiss IT distributor Also Holding and MCI fund for the sale of 46.5 million shares by ABC Data. Takeover of the Polish Fibar Group, providing solutions in the area of smart home and the Internet of Things by the Italian Nice group. Also, the acquisition of Aludesign, a producer of aluminum components for the furniture industry by a fund belonging to Tar Heel Capital.

In addition, local retail chains were taken over last year by larger companies, for example Maxim Grupe took over Emperia Holding, Spar Polska acquired Kefirek network, whereas Specjał Group took over Aligator and Rabat Detal networks.

– Ownership changes visible on our market generate additional demand in the office real estate sector, which saw record popularity among both investors and tenants in 2018. Acquisitions and mergers implemented in recent months brought new transactions related to office relocations. New company owners usually decide to change the location and increase the standard of space occupied, to improve the quality of the team’s work and attract the most talented people – says Bartłomiej Zagrodnik, Managing Partner at Walter Herz.

Bartłomiej Zagrodnik – Walter Herz.
Bartłomiej Zagrodnik – Walter Herz.

– The consolidating companies that have offices in several locations, report the need to optimize the occupied space, and thus the costs associated with renting. Appropriately carried out and refined change processes can in a short time bring significant savings to entities, even up to a dozen or so per cent, which translates directly into company’s results. Significant benefits are provided by incentive packages used by owners of the office buildings. It should be noted that the participation in the office space lease on the commercial market is also increased by institutions and entities of state administration – adds Bartłomiej Zagrodnik.

Poland is the second M&A market in the CEE region

Year 2018 brought almost 40 per cent decrease in the value of transactions in the M&A sector compared to the previous year on the Polish market. In 2016-2017, we saw large acquisitions in Poland, which allowed us to achieve annual values of over EUR 10 billion. Despite last year’s correction, we maintained a fixed position in the region, ranking second after Russia. Last year, M&A market in Central and Eastern Europe saw over 12 per cent increase in the value of transactions, obtaining one of the best results in the last five years – EUR 80.5 billion.

Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary saw an increase in the value of transactions, while for Russia 2018 was the weakest period in the last six years.

Activity of investors from the Middle East

Telecommunications and IT sector took the first place in the CEE region, in terms of the value of transactions in the mergers and acquisitions market, with the result of EUR 18.18 billion. It was a result of the growing market demand in the field of mobile telephony, broadband and cable services. In terms of the number of transactions, the real estate and construction sector turned out to be once again the most active, which accounted for over 20 per cent of all transactions.

Last year, the largest amount of capital in Central and Eastern Europe was invested by companies and funds from Great Britain, the USA, Qatar and Germany. In comparison with the previous years, the value of transactions with investors from China decreased. The growing popularity of our region was visible among the investors from the Middle East, mainly from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In Poland, we could also observe the activity of investors from this region, especially from Saudi Arabia.

Author: Walter Herz