Brexit fails to dampen Yorkshire firms’ hunger for international acquisitions

Paul Trickett, partner at Deloitte in Yorkshire
Paul Trickett, partner at Deloitte in Yorkshire
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Brexit and the fall in the value of sterling have failed to dampen the enthusiasm for international acquisitions by Yorkshire-based companies, new research for Deloitte reveals.

The Deloitte Cross-Border Deals Radar for Yorkshire, produced with Experian Corpfin, shows that, in the three months to the end of September, six significant overseas deals were completed by companies in the region.

For the same period in 2016, just two outbound deals were completed. The six deals included the £102m reverse takeover of US software developer Perfect Commerce by Wetherby-based Proactis Holdings – one of three deals involving companies based in the US – and the acquisition of Swedish biotechnology specialists Enza Biotech by Croda International.

While the number of outbound acquisitions tripled, the number of inbound acquisitions of Yorkshire-based businesses fell by a similar amount, from 13 in the third quarter of 2016 to five in the same period this year. The five included the sale of Castleford-based Regain Polymers to French minerals processing company Imersys SA.

Of the five companies acquiring Yorkshire firms, three are based in Europe and two in the Far East. Paul Trickett, partner at Deloitte, said: “The research supports our own experience in 2017 – that Brexit and falls in the value of sterling have yet to have a material impact on Yorkshire companies’ desires to exploit international growth opportunities.

“That is supported by research Deloitte conducted recently among 500 scale-up businesses, which showed that a third of them had already expanded overseas and 51 per cent are targeting international growth within the next three years.”