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Brits behind on buy-outs; INDUSTRY: Europe surges ahead on corporate disposals.

Byline: By Chris Morley INDUSTRIAL CORRESPONDENT

BUSINESS buy-outs in the UK are lagging way behind European counterparts with the French and Germans surging ahead, a Birmingham expert revealed.

New figures show that the UK buy-out market fell from pounds 12.8 billion in the first half of 2005 to pounds 10.1 billion for the same period in 2006.

Meanwhile, Continental Europe boasted a massive 70 per cent increase to pounds 37.1 billion in the same period, according to research by the Centre for Management Buy- Out Research.

Nick Johnson, Birmingham-based corporate finance partner for accountant Deloitte, said: "A significant proportion of Continental European buyout activity in the first half of 2006 has come from corporate disposals (29 per cent of the total) due to the high levels of corporate restructuring on the continent.

"The levels of public to privates (43 per cent of total) and secondary buyouts (20 per cent of total) are respectively very high and low compared to the UK in part reflecting the more immature nature of the continental market.

"We can expect to see these trends reverse to become more in line with the UK in due course."

The study showed that France was the most active market in volume with 85 buy-outs, just ahead of Germany with 76. Italy remained steady with 22 deals in the first half of 2006 compared to 23 in 2005.

Phil Griesbach, the Birmingham-based director of Barclays Private Equity, said: "The growth in the continental European buy-out market is largely due to an increase in public to private buy-outs (P2Ps) with a combined value of 23.5 billion euros compared to 8.2 billion euros for the same period in 2005. This contrasts sharply with the UK where P2Ps have dried up."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 6, 2006
Words:294
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