Middle East M&A activity slumps in January

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(ITP Images)

(ITP Images)

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity targeting companies in the Middle East dropped in January, with volume and value both plummeting, according to a new report by Zephyr.

In total, just $406m was injected across 11 deals, an 89 percent decline in value from December, and down 85 percent on the year-earlier period.

Volume also weakened, coming in 69 percent lower than December's figure of 35 transactions and down 61 percent on the same time last year when 28 deals were recorded.

The Zephyr report showed there were no deals valued at $1bn or over in January, which undoubtedly played a part in the month's less than stellar results.

The month's top transaction was a rights issue by Qatar-based consumer goods wholesaler Al Meera, in which it will sell a 50 percent shareholding for almost $261m.

The second highest-value deal was valued at less than half the Qatari transaction. Khalid Al-Barrak's purchase of a 13 percent stake in Saudi Arabia-based cement producer Najran was valued at $104m.

Together, these deals represented 90 percent of the total transaction value in the month under review.

Companies in Qatar brought in the most investment in January, with a total value of $261m compared to no deals in the Gulf state in the previous month.

While the UAE and Saudi Arabia were both placed first by volume, with three deals apiece, the latter was ranked second by value with $104m and the former fourth with $10m.

Kuwait took third place by value, attracting $31m of investment. The country was placed joint second with Jordan by volume, both firms having targets in two deals in December.

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