Clearwater International has rounded off an exceptionally strong year after completing 51 transactions, worth €1.5 billion, in 2014.
2014 was a transformational year for the business which saw its creation from the merger of Clearwater Corporate Finance in the UK with organisations in Spain, Portugal and Denmark, as well as entering into a strategic alliance with Chinese investment bank InterChina.
Clearwater International operates across nine sectors and the firm’s Industrials & Chemicals team was the most active, completing 14 deals. This included the sales of Amber Chemical, Door Stop International and Pentagon Chemicals – all showing that interest from US trade buyers is high. These deals also showed that buyers are increasingly looking for targets with specialist engineering or manufacturing expertise, as well as the potential to boost exports in global markets. The keynote deal of the year was the sale of Profit Track listed Burnt Tree, another cross-border sale to a US buyer.
28 of Clearwater International’s deals featured private equity involvement including Nurse Plus, Handicap-Befordring, Character World, Gatenby Sanderson, Stroma and Gymbox.
The business has also seen strong levels of activity from its debt advisory practice, with 16 of the company’s deals being structured with debt. With loan pricing reducing considerably in the last 18 months, competition in the European mid-market between banks and debt funds has increased.
Michael Reeves, CEO of Clearwater International, said: “This has been a year of considerable change and growth for Clearwater International. Merging with our partners in Spain, Portugal and Denmark has been an exceptional achievement and one that has enabled us to extend our sector expertise across Europe. Our strategic alliance in China has also provided some excellent results for our clients.
The merger has given us a depth within our sector teams which creates intimate knowledge of buyers and funders. When we deliver this in an integrated way, it has produced some truly excellent client outcomes.
Our deals pipeline means our business should grow further in 2015, which looks set to be a lucrative year in the M&A market for our clients.”