Demand surging for Nordic healthcare M&A specialists

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M&A specialists with a background in or knowledge of the Nordic healthcare and pharmaceuticals market have been in strong demand in the past six months, and are likely to stay sought-after as we go into the autumn.

Figures from research body Mergermarket have suggested Nordic M&A activity bounced back in the first six months of 2010, with the number of M&As increasing by 40% - a turnaround from the 60% decline in value reported last year.

"Banks have been more willing to lend this year, that has probably been the main driver. But there has also been greater confidence in the market, with more companies willing to engage in M&A valuations. There are also more things to pitch for," explains Mergemarket Nordic correspondent Hanna Gezelius.

"A lot of M&A activity previously has been focused around restructuring, particularly debt restructuring. But now there are more deals and it is getting busier, so it makes sense that there is more demand.

"There has been a lot of focus on non-cyclical industries, so industries that have not been as affected by the downturn. Healthcare has been a particularly strong area, particular private equity-led deals. That has been a major sector for M&A activity and will probably continue to be so," she adds.

Among deals announced just in May, for example, were the sale of healthcare firm Frösunda by Swedish PE firm Polaris to British group HgCapital, the acquisition of Canadian firm Resonant Medical by Swedish rival Elekta and the purchase of pharma firm Caliper Life Sciences by Swedish medical technology tools firm Biotage.

Energy, mining and utilities have also experienced heightened demand, as have the defence and chemicals industries, according to the Mergermarket figures.

"The Euro crisis has dampened confidence a little and the IPO market has not been as strong as some predicted at the start of the year that it would be. But activity is generally continuing and there is still scope for deals to come through," predicts Gezelius.

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