North West outbound investment hits £2bn

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Businesses in the North West provided a first quarter boost to M&A values by ploughing nearly £2bn into overseas assets, according to research from Deloitte.

The advisory firm’s North West Cross Border Deals Radar highlights how deal values for the region’s businesses acquiring foreign assets reached almost £2bn across nine transactions in the first three months of 2014.

The figure includes AMEC’s £1.9bn takeover of US-listed rival Foster Wheeler, which enabled the Knutsford business to expand its international footprint into North America and Europe.

Other outbound transactions in Q1 2014 came from Manchester-based industrial service company Brammer, with its £27m acquisition of Scandinavian firm Lonne Holding; and the £5.6m takeover of Swedish Defence Consulting Group by Barrow-in-Furness-based James Fisher & Sons.

Meanwhile, inbound activity, where foreign businesses acquire UK assets, remained active in Q1 2014 with 14 deals worth £325m. This value is slightly lower than the 12 deals made in 2013, which totaled £538m, including the £385m takeover of Leyland-based Enterprise by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial.

Inbound transactions from Q1 included Thomas Cook’s sale of Gold Medal to Dubai-based dnata for £45m and Toshiba’s £102m investment in NuGeneration, in collaboration with US-based Westinghouse Electric Company.