13/01/2021 - News

Clearwater International’s 2020 showcases continued growth through unprecedented times

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13th place on the Mergermarket European Financial Advisors league table

Global mid-market advisory firm Clearwater International completed 119 deals in 2020, representing a continued 5% increase in deal volume despite a challenging period.

Clearwater International ended 2020 in 13th place on the Mergermarket European Financial Advisors league table, a position the firm has sustained throughout the year and an improved position on 2019’s 15th position. Clearwater’s rise through the M&A league tables is reflective of the resilience the business and the investment in both geographic and sector diversification.

57% of its deals having private equity involvement in 2020

Most notably, Clearwater’s work with the private equity community has continued to evolve, with 57% of its deals having private equity involvement in 2020. A total of 68 deals were completed at a value of €3.9bn involving 55 different funds across Europe, an increase of €1bn in deal value in comparison to the previous year. This elevated level of private equity activity is representative of the high levels of dry powder which have been reported throughout the final quarters of 2020.

Clearwater completed transactions across the spectrum of sectors with standout increases within business services, consumer and TMT, whilst healthcare and industrials and chemicals continued their strong run of deal completions.

Business services completions increased by 69% in 2020 when compared to 2019, an increase of €1bn in deal value across both M&A and debt advisory transactions. Key transactions included advising LDC on backing the recent merger of Lomond Capital and Linley & Simpson in a €109.3m (£100m) transaction, as well as advising the UK’s leading provider of outsourced resource management and environmental services, Reconomy Group, on the acquisition of Munich-based Reverse Logistics GmbH.

TMT was a sector where deal completions flowed with the team completing over 40% more deals

As projected TMT was a sector where deal completions flowed with the team completing over 40% more deals in the sector throughout 2020 across both M&A and debt advisory service lines. Standout deals for the team included advising Advanced on its acquisition of Mitrefinch, a global provider of workforce management solutions, as well as advising SaaS digital customer experience provider, SessionCam on its sale to Glassbox Digital, a provider of digital experience analytics for web and mobile applications. The team also advised GTI Software y Networking SA, a specialist in software and cloud solutions, on its sale to Esprinet S.p.a., a leading distributor of IT and consumer electronics in Southern Europe.

With the world’s attention focussed on the developments in pharmaceuticals, the healthcare sector was an active area for Clearwater with the business completing deals worth €1.1bn. Key deals included advising Parquest Capital and the shareholders of 5 Santé, a major French player in post‐acute care private clinics on the group’s disposal to Korian as well as advising DomusVi on the acquisition of Groupe Les Matines, a leading player in the elderly care sector in Normandy, France. The Debt Advisory team also advised Day Lewis Plc, a community pharmacy and distribution business, on a refinancing deal which provides a €138m revolving credit facility.

Industrials and chemicals experienced another bumper year, completing transactions worth €2.5bn, 70% of which completed after lockdowns were announced showcasing the value of strong industrials businesses within the marketplace. Key deals included advising Spanish private equity firm, Portobello Capital, on the acquisition of Poligof, a leading manufacturer of backsheets for hygiene and sanitary products in Europe, from 21 Invest as well advising WJ is the UK’s leading supplier of award-winning road markings and specialist highway products and services on its strategic partnership with THI Investments, and advising R&D Group A/S on its sale of four Danish and two international subsidiaries to Nasdaq listed MTS Systems Corporation. The Debt Advisory team also advised Wieland-Werke AG on the €1.4bn refinancing of its bridge acquisition facility and existing syndicated loan.

Clearwater’s global footprint now includes 18 offices in 10 countries across Europe, Asia and North America

Clearwater completed double the number of consumer deals in 2020 in comparison to 2019 totalling €953m in deal value. Most recently Clearwater advised leading Scandinavian wall art business Poster Store on its sale to Desenio, a deal completed by the Swedish team who joined Clearwater in 2020.

Clearwater continued to strengthen its global coverage with the announcement of a strategic alliance with KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., the corporate and investment banking arm of Cleveland-based KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) in June 2020 and the integration of Sweden-based Valentum in September 2020. Clearwater’s global footprint now includes 18 offices in 10 countries across Europe, Asia and North America.

Michael Reeves BG1

Michael Reeves, CEO of Clearwater International commented:

“2020 was an unprecedented year full of potential challenges but in true entrepreneurial spirit, the teams across the globe remained agile and committed to client objectives. This has resulted in another year of growth for Clearwater International. We have continued to grow our international footprint with a strategic partnership with KeyBanc Capital Markets and the integration of Valentum in Sweden, which have already shown their value to the business. As we head into 2021 with dealmaking steadily making its way back to normal, I am confident of another successful year for the business.”

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