Belfast Telegraph

Major deals topped £2bn after record year for Northern Ireland businesses

Optimistic: John George Willis
Optimistic: John George Willis

By Christine Carrigan

MAJOR business deals in Northern Ireland hit a record £2.2bn in 2018, a new report has shown.

Merger and acquisition data from Experian, which tracks corporate deals over £500,000 and real estate deals over £15m, showed significant transactions here last year.

The report showed 220 Northern Ireland deals completed last year with a disclosed value of £2.2bn, up by 28% on the transactions carried out in 2017 - representing the most valuable year for mergers and acquisitions in the country on Experian MarketIQ record.

Manufacturing was Northern Ireland's busiest sector for mergers and acquisitions in 2018, accounting for 26% of all transactions, with financial services accounting for 23% and wholesale 20% of activity.

The construction market showed huge growth, with deal numbers up by 33% on 2017.

Belfast law firm Tughans has topped the Northern Irish league table for the fourth consecutive year. The firm was credited with 59 deals last year, representing 27% of all Northern Ireland deals identified in the report.

John George Willis, head of corporate at Tughans, said: "It has been another busy year for the firm, especially the corporate team, which is clear from the Experian results.

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"The feature of this year has been lots of mid-market activity rather than the big one-off deals, which is a positive sign for the Northern Ireland economy. Alongside the merger and acquisition activity we also continue to see a lot of investment into local companies from various funds from across the UK and Republic of Ireland attracted to our local talent."

Belfast Telegraph